Oct 22, 2008 | 1
That's the subject of the second annual Algae Biomass Summit starting today in Seattle. The conference will explore the great question of whether microscopic plants could cut out the geologic middleman of time and pressure and just deliver fuel directly. The number of companies pursuing this idea is exceeded in magnitude only by the number of different strains of algae and the ways to genetically manipulate it.
Solazyme in San Francisco grows its puny plants in the dark and Fort Collins, Colo.–based Solix partners with breweries to keep costs down. GreenFuel Technologies in Cambridge, Mass., meantime, plans to build the first "commercial scale" algae farm near Jerez in southern Spain—in an effort to turn carbon dioxide spewed by a cement plant into renewable fuel.
Sep 9, 2008 | 10
No, not flight, not yet. But Solazyme—the mavericks who make their algal oil in the dark—have produced a jet fuel that passes the ASTM's standards for "aviation turbine fuel," otherwise known as jet fuel. This makes it the first such bio-kerosene from algae, being earnestly sought by the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) and Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (better known as DARPA) as well as the U.S. Air Force.
In addition to not freezing at high altitude as biofuels are prone to do, the testing by the Southwest Research Institute shows that it has the same flashpoint, viscosity and stability as regular Jet A. Most importantly, it has the same density—a key characteristic that other alternative fuels, such as those derived from natural gas or coal, lack.
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