ARIEL SCHWARTZ, CleanTechnica.com, September 3, 2008
Algae fuel is getting another boost with the announcement of a $3 million grant to create kerosene-based aviation fuel derived from the substance.
Arizona State University researchers have already moved past the laboratory stage on the project and are working on a pilot scale production system. The research team says that cost reduction benefits are greater than with kerosene produced from petroleum.
The researchers came up with the new fuel by identifying algae strains that can convert pieces of their cellular mass into oil containing high concentrations of medium chain fatty acids. The hydrocarbon chains that occur when the oil is deoxygenated are similar to those found in traditional kerosene.
According to the ASU researchers, their kerosene provides a competitive advantage because it eliminates an expensive thermal cracking process which is necessary for traditional kerosene production.
The new algae kerosene fuel is compatible with jet planes when mixed with a small amount of fuel additives.
And with the increasing speed of new developments in algae fuel, we may all be driving around in algae-powered cars and flying algae-powered planes within the next few decades.