Monday, April 13, 2009

'Green Crude' (algae biofuel) companies increase five-fold

The number of companies working to invent a profitable system for extracting "green crude" from algae is up to 60 this year, up from 10 in 2004. (CNN) The leader in the filed is Sapphire Energy, which engineered algae in 2007 "whose oil is molecularly similar to light, sweet crude."

Oil from algae? Obviously, it provides a national security benefit, but how is it good for the environment? As the algae grow, it pulls carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

No, that's not a perfect solution. But says Sapphire Energy CEO Jason Pyle, "I can't wait 20 years to build a new infrastructure for liquid fuel… We want to use the pipelines, refineries and gas stations we have now and get our fuel into cars, trucks and airplanes."

Makes sense to Pound360. We need a stepping stone. The United States (and world in general) lacks the political will and vision for something more dramatic.

But don't expect to pump green crude from your local gas station anytime soon. Obstacles are plenty. For example, separating the oil from water in algae tanks. "Right now it takes a lot of energy to do that, which defeats the purpose."

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.