Green Crude  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

The LA Times has an article on yet another company trying to produce fuel from algae - this one a San Diego company called Sapphire Energy - Sapphire Energy turns algae into 'green crude' for fuel. No details about how the process works, where the production facilities or be or how much it costs - sounds like it could just be a marketing concept at this point to me...

A San Diego company said Wednesday that it could turn algae into oil, producing a green-colored crude yielding ultra-clean versions of gasoline and diesel without the downsides of biofuel production.

The year-old company, called Sapphire Energy, uses algae, sunlight, carbon dioxide and non-potable water to make "green crude" that it contends is chemically equivalent to the light, sweet crude oil that has been fetching more than $130 a barrel in New York futures trading.

Chief Executive Jason Pyle said that the company's green crude could be processed in existing oil refineries and that the resulting fuels could power existing cars and trucks just as today's more polluting versions of gasoline and diesel do.

"What we're talking about is something that is radically different," Pyle said. "We really look at this as a paradigm change."

Sapphire's announcement is the latest development from companies and researchers focused on finding ways to cut harmful emissions from the nation's giant fleet of cars, trucks, trains and planes.

Sapphire's process would help curb the nation's reliance on imported crude and alleviate concerns about the world's dwindling supply of oil, Pyle said. And by using carbon dioxide spewed out by such things as coal plants, the production process would help remove harmful emissions from the atmosphere.

The green crude also would produce fewer pollutants in the refining process and fewer harmful emissions from vehicle tailpipes, Pyle said.

The company wouldn't give details about the production process or where its pilot project would be located. It expects to introduce its first fuels in three years and reach full commercial scale in five years.

Pyle wouldn't cite the price tag for producing a barrel of green crude, but he described the expected cost as competitive with extracting oil from deep-water deposits and oil sands. The company already has produced green versions of jet fuel, diesel and clear, premium-grade gasoline, he said.


Anonymous   says 5:05 AM

One drawback I can't find mention of is the issue of containment. What keeps the algae in bounds? I can envision it becoming lose in the wild and polluting bodies of water everywhere.

Well - algae already is loose in the wild and appears anywhere where conditions are good.

And these schemes usually grow the stuff in ponds or enclosed tubes.

We'll probably be safe unless they genetically engineer some very tough and fast spreading variety...

Anonymous   says 5:54 AM

The algae is contained in plastic bags to keep out contaminates and to allow nutrients and CO2 to be pumped in spurring growth. These bags can be hung vertically and save space. The algae doesn't need to be near bodies of water so contamination is not an issue.

The plan is to grow it near power plants to grab the CO2 off them and to use non-potable water.

A space the size of Maryland could supply the US with the full amount of fuel we need. Period. Land not used for agriculture and water unfit to drink would suffice.

Electric vehicles need coal to generate power. Ethanol is inefficient and uses food as fuel. Algae scrubs the air, gives the same bang as petroleum and we won't need a costly infrastructure change to achieve a change over.

I can't wait to go to green crude.

Electric vehicles need coal to generate power.

You don't need coal to generate electricity.

Anonymous   says 5:35 AM

Is over half still generated from coal:

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