Could Cars Soon Run on Algae? - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Could Cars Soon Run on Algae?

Scientists convert the plant into crude oil in less than an hour. 

You soon could fill your car with petrol created using algae.   Engineers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have created a chemical process that produces useful crude oil minutes after they pour in harvested algae.  (Harvest algae is a green paste with the consistency of pea soup.)

Now a bio fuels company based in Utah has licensed the technology.  Genifuel Corp., is working to build a pilot plant for mass production. 

The company says in the process, the soupy wet algae is pumped into the front end of a chemical reactor. 

Once the system is up and running, crude oil comes out in less than an hour. 

With some additional refining, the crude algae oil is then converted into aviation fuel, gasoline and diesel fuel. 

There is one drawback though... the cost.

Right now, the process requires the algae to be dried.  This process takes a lot of energy and a lot of money. Developers are working on a new process that could take out this step. 

Many say this is a huge step in the right direction. 


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