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Algae used a biofuel is inching closer to reality

As companies look for alternative fuels to help ease the world's reliance on oil, researchers and companies have created several viable alternatives.   

The aerospace industry hopes algae can be refined and used to help fuel commercial airliners and jets.  In the short term, it's likely algae would be mixed with gasoline and diesel, though it's possible algae could be used to eliminate both resources at some point.

Select Boeing aircraft will use a mix of jet fuel and fuel made from algae and jatropha seeds, Boeing said.  Continental Airlines will be the first airline company to use algae as a fuel, with Air New Zealand and others expected to begin testing algae or jatropha-based technologies.

Continental's first demonstration flight is expected to take place in Houston on Jan. 7, though the flight will not carry passengers and use a blend of jet fuel with algae and jatropha.

Even with the backing of Boeing and other aerospace giants, algae supporters must now request the federal government give them loans, research and development backing, tax breaks, and other similar perks that corn and soybean researchers are actively receiving.

"We are up against formidable opposition from competing interests," said Jason Pyle, Sapphire Energy CEO.  Sapphire Energy has created a new "green crude" gasoline that is entirely made up of algae.

Algae for use as a biofuel has been more widely researched in the past few years, and it seems like it will continue to be a popular topic.  

The Colorado Field Institute (CFI) will host a biotech meeting with Colorado State University to discuss the use of algae as a biofuel later this week.  The focus of the meeting is the use of algae biofuel in rural Colorado.

Researchers will continue to look for alternatives to gas, but even with major research breakthroughs, it's unlikely the heavy U.S. reliance on foreign oil will end any time soon.  Ethanol, a popular technology that still receives major research, caused the cost of food to soar, and much work will have to be done in order to make ethanol a more viable solution or to develop a satisfactory alternative.

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This will never take hold in the US...
By Screwballl on 12/9/2008 1:00:49 PM , Rating: 2
... at least for the next decade or two. Not as long as that corrupt bastage Daschle is sitting high. He was mediocre as a Governor for South Dakota, but as a federal employee he is just as corrupt as the rest.
He will see to it (along with Iowa and Nebraska Congressmen, with others) that corn not be taken off or removed from its high perch simply because their states benefit from the artificially high corn prices caused by the corn-to-ethanol program. Combine that with joined forces with big-oil who have resisted alternative fuels since day 1 and you have a massive uphill battle of bureaucracy on your hands.

As soon as I find a self-sufficient atomic or "self-charging battery powered truck (not scooter or tiny car, I am 6'5"), I am making the switch.

Maybe I will do some inventing and put magnets to work.

RE: This will never take hold in the US...
By FITCamaro on 12/9/2008 1:22:10 PM , Rating: 2
Actually in all likelihood oil companies would own the algae farms. Why buy oil from elsewhere and refine it when you can just own a greenhouse and get the end product? The oil companies only gain by embracing this.

By bodar on 12/9/2008 10:01:52 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Making money is making money, and if you know a tech is going to take off, it's probably a good idea to get in on the ground floor, esp. when it threatens your current business model.

I just hope they don't just take the music industry's route of "stand fast and buy off Congress". This is far more important than music, after all. I'm just waiting for the corn lobby to screw this all up, but I'm a "glass is half-full... of poison" kinda guy.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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