Very recently scientists in the United States figured out how to turn algae into crude oil in less than an hour. Supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bio-products, This is an incredible discovery in the biofuel world. In nature, it takes millions of years for this process to occur naturally at intense pressures and heat. The scientists are from the US Government’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and have made a general consensus that this process is not only the fastest method discovered so far for creating oil from natural resources, but also much cheaper and sustainable as well.
This oil can be used for aviation fuel, gasoline or diesel. The best part?? It is sustainable and environmentally friendly as the bi-products are clean water, fuel gases nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that can be used alongside more algae.
How is it made? Well, to create something in under 1 hour, that took nature millions of years to create, the scientists had some real big energy costs and needed 350 degrees C and at a pressure of 3,000 pounds per square inch. As explained by Douglas Elliott, who led the research project, the process is basically like copying what the Earth does to convert algae into oil, but at a much fast rate.
The process is still not fast enough to compete with huge oil companies and the gallons of oil that are still in reservoirs. However, this discovery is just the first step and as scientists continue to refine the process, it may soon be the sustainable and environmentally friendly answer we’ve been waiting for in our oil dependent world.