In the latest “green energy” news, another gov’t facility has issued a press release announcing their Big Step forward. In this case, they’re claiming a major breakthrough in rapid conversion of algae into fuel oil and other hydrocarbons.
To be fair to them, they’re reasonably cautious in their statements. Of course, they’re calling for more funding. Oh, and they’ve got a commercial partner who’s participating courtesy of gov’t (taxpayer) grants…
Algae to crude oil: Million-year natural process takes minutes in the lab
Richland, Washington – Engineers have created a continuous chemical process that produces useful crude oil minutes after they pour in harvested algae — a verdant green paste with the consistency of pea soup.
The research by engineers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory was reported recently in the journal Algal Research. A biofuels company, Utah-based Genifuel Corp., has licensed the technology and is working with an industrial partner to build a pilot plant using the technology.
In the PNNL process, a slurry of wet algae is pumped into the front end of a chemical reactor. Once the system is up and running, out comes crude oil in less than an hour, along with water and a byproduct stream of material containing phosphorus that can be recycled to grow more algae.