Monday, June 2, 2008

Green Fuels: An Ongoing Debate

A Press Release screaming “Pioneering effort alters 'food vs. fuel' debate, supports American energy independence with revolutionary platform that harnesses microorganisms, sunlight, CO2” caught my undivided attention. Here are my candid views on it.

Sapphire Energy have proclaimed that they have produced renewable 91 octane gasoline that conforms to ASTM certification, made from a breakthrough process that produces crude oil directly from sunlight, CO2 and photosynthetic microorganisms, beginning with algae. CEO and co-founder Jason Pyle says: "Our goal is to produce a renewable fuel without the downsides of current biofuel approaches. Sapphire Energy was founded on the belief that the only way to cure our dependence on foreign oil and end our flirtation with ethanol and biodiesel is through radical new thinking and a commitment to new technologies."

The company highlights the potential of algae as a source of renewable gasoline and more importantly it avoids the food vs. fuel debate by touting CO2, sun, water and non – arable land as its requirement. The resulting yield of oil per acre is higher than any other food / fuel crop. The company also highlights that its process is highly scalable.

The company’s website describes the revolutionary process where photosynthetic microorganisms are used to produce a renewable, high-value replacement for fossil fuel petroleum. The requirements are sunlight, CO2 and non-potable water – and can be produced at massive scale on non-arable land. Final products will have the same chemical composition as gasoline and will be completely compatible with the existing refining, distribution and fleet infrastructure.

Source: Sapphire Energy

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