Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Sapphire Energy turns algae into ‘green crude’ for fuel

with 3 comments

LA Times Business Section

I suspect we are going to be seeing more and more of stories like this one. A newly formed company says that is can produce “green crude” using algae, CO2 and sunshine, and that it is three years away from commercial production at costs comparable to “artificial crude” from the tar sands.

I have no idea of the veracity of any of this but I notice that the people interviewed are cautious as opposed to optimistic: they want to know what the greenhouse gas effects of the entire process are, probably due to being bitten by that issue by other biofuels. Then there is the question of tailpipe emissions. If it is just like the fuels we use now in that respect, then perhaps local air quality will suffer. So it’s not a magic bullet. And of course there are other promising technologies too. One of the great things about  $135 per barrel oil is that a lot of people now have some real financial incentives to get creative.

Written by Stephen Rees

May 29, 2008 at 10:38 am

Posted in alternative transportation fuel

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3 Responses

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  1. The idea of algae based fuel has been around for awhile now. Lots of promises have been made about what you can do with this stuff….and it looks good on paper, but we have yet to see results. Nobody is making the stuff in large enough quantities yet that it would be considered a viable option to replace oil on any significant scale at all. Its certainly something to keep an eye on and devote continued research to, but I wouldn’t count on it as our energy saviour until there is a viable large scale production plant going that can actually produce the amounts advertised.


    May 29, 2008 at 11:46 am

  2. I came across the web site of James Kunstler who offers this advice

    Expand your view beyond the question of how we will run all the cars by means other than gasoline.

    We have to move things and people differently.

    Stephen Rees

    May 29, 2008 at 6:16 pm

  3. Amen brother. In other news after 3.5 weeks commuting from Marpole to Chilliwack I have decided to move out there for the remainder of the summer (and devote my life to reducing the influence of the car on everyday life).

    God I hate driving.


    May 29, 2008 at 6:42 pm

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