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California Drivers Get Access to Algae Biofuel


Four San Francisco gas stations got a surprise this week. The bay area company, Solazyme, made algae-based biofuels available to drivers. Their product, Biodiesel B20, is 80% petroleum and 20% algae. Amazingly, any diesel vehicle can use the emissions-lowering Biodiesel B20.

Algae-based biofuels have become a highly viable alternative to corn-based fuel. Algae can be produced in large ponds in abundance. Combined with sugars, they produce fuel additives from combustible oils.

The easy production of algae-based fuels in combination with California’s ever tightening emissions regulations, is encouraging the development of alternative fuel. In California, the cost of alternative fuel is nearly identical to the average cost of diesel fuel, both costing approximately $4.25 per gallon.

This price match is crucial to widespread adoption of biofuel. The consumer will no longer be dissuaded to adopt biofuel because of astronomical costs. In fact, the state is hoping that by 2050 80% of all fleet vehicles will use clean alternative fuels.

Solazyme creates their biofuel through a fermentation process that requires sugar reactions. The resulting product is then processed into jet and marine-grade fuels and automobile fuels.

The benefits are encouraging. Biodiesel B20 has 10% fewer hydrocarbons, 20% less carbon monoxide, and 30% less particulate matter.

[via Seeking Alpha]

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