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Green Crude?

"Sapphire Energy has built a revolutionary platform that uses photosynthetic microorganisms to produce a renewable, high-value replacement for fossil fuel petroleum. This domestic crude oil requires only sunlight, CO2 and non-potable water - and can be produced at massive scale on non-arable land."

They call it Green Crude, an algae produced product that could one day replace gasoline. It's not biofuel, or ethanol, and it doesn't require any plants or farmland. The only things consumed are waste water and CO2. They say it could also be made into jet fuel. It seems too good to be true! I can't find anything about the cost, efficiency or speculated time line, but they do have some big investors and are planning on increasing production soon.

The Company

What do you guys think?


Picture of Green Crude?
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Kiteman8 years ago
Er, it is biofuel (fuel from a live source), but this is a cool idea. The algae are pressed to remove the oil, and the remains can be used as animal feed.

I'd heard that several airliner manufacturers are planning to start work on adding algae-oil to kerosene as jet fuel, as soon as they'd gotten their alcohol-kerosene mix sorted (link).

KLM is working with AlgaeLink to produce algae-oil jet-fuel as well.
Ah well, they sound like they're stalling, if the fuel burns it can be used, as long as the temperature stays below the 90% maximum threshold, the way you set the jet or turboprop engine to run takes a few minutes, you fire it up and take a reading of the engine temp and calibrate the engine settings for a fuel that burns at this temperature... Sorry sometimes I think they're being a bit dossy about this stuff, a jet engine will take on home heating oil just fine, in fact up at the old parachute club my dad flew for some time ago they used to run the Porter on heating oil whenever they couldn't get over to an airport with fuel and their own bunker was empty... The interesting thing is that it burns most refined fuels clean, due to the extreme combustion temperatures... The fact that these things are so fuel hungry is a bigger problem... Ramjets maybe... Or Biomass fuel of any type, effectively nullifying the carbon problem, then you'd just have to figure out how much worse depositing carbon dioxide at several thousand feet is. On the other hand if people still liked road trips the emissions of planes could be lessened, I can't remember what it was but basically the same carbon produced by a thousand mile flight gave you an allowance of much more from even a thirsty car...
If you want cleaner ground transport, trains are the way to go. They can go further per ton transported than any other modern mode of transport. Anymore they don't go where people want to go, and the companies are all focused on freight rather than moving people. Even the US Govt.(i.e. Amtrak) has trouble getting the rail companies to give them priority without pushing a lot of buttons.
I think that rail transport isn't a half bad idea, if they were steam they'd be loved but that era is behind us I guess, trains lost their cool around that point, I got one for years while living in one town and going to school elsewhere, it was good I could take a kip then do my homework in the mornings, after a night out I hopped on the train with a chippie and sobered up... Also with the older trains it was good fun, I used to have some fun on them, one thing involved my old 'lawyer shoes' and wet days, hanging off the door skating down the platforms, another was jumping in a window when the trains were messed up, I threw my bag as commitment and chased the train down, the platform guards chasing me down after it then the driver telling me off... But he did say it looked pretty cool on the cameras... Trains are a good way of getting about after the initial difficulties involving track laying etc. I still think ocean liners are not too bad either, the decadence, the lower emmissions and the whole big engine stuff..
I always drive,never fly
I don't have the quote to hand, but I heard that a long-haul return flight produced roughly the same pollution as a family car in a year (and that's per passenger, not per aircraft).
Aye, making it a serious problem, I was happy to see honda's newest exec jet, with a different engine over wing design, both looked good and improved the fuel economy by massive amounts....
Weissensteinburg (author)  Kiteman8 years ago
I think it's a different idea...all the articles about it are pretty firm that it isn't bio fuel. "Biofuel can be broadly defined as solid, liquid, or gas fuel derived from recently dead biological material, most commonly plants." Are you absolutely positive that it kills the algae and uses it for the fuel? It does say that everything can be processed as carbon-based oil currently is.
I think that the definition of biofuel is being changed by the people putting money into it as a marketing thing - ethanol has always been fermented from sugars, but if they're intending the ethanol be used as a fuel, they've started calling it bio-ethanol. Same stuff, same production process, different market (and taxes).

When I was first taught about this novel idea, biofuel was synonymous with biomass - it was any fuel that was neither a fossil fuel nor incinerated trash.

I'm pretty sure the algae is killed - the cheapest way to get oil out of a plant is to crush it until the cells rupture. Only the oil is used for fuel, although the remains could be used as well, just as any plant could be burned or rotted for methane. It's probably just easier to feed the pressed algae as a cattle-feed, plus it creates income while they work on the oil (I assume).
Weissensteinburg (author)  Kiteman8 years ago
For the record, I got that quote from wikipedia.
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