Fill ‘er up with algae, please
November 13, 2012
• Renewable algae-based diesel being sold in Bay Area
• “Giving our customers a chance to make history”
If you drive a diesel, you can now fill up with fuel made from algae at Propel Fuels stations in the Bay Area.
Solazyme Inc. (NASDAQ: SZYM), a renewable oil and bioproducts company, has developed the algae-derived fuel and Propel has started marketing it. The companies say it’s the first time such a fuel has been made available to the public.
The month-long pilot program provides the industry's first opportunity to test consumer response to the renewable fuel.
Solazyme says the biodiesel meets or exceeds American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) quality specifications and has shown performance enhancements including cold temperature operating performance. The fuel is compatible with existing diesel engines and the fuel's performance is guaranteed by Propel.
The fuel will be sold at the same price as conventional diesel fuels and will be available exclusively at Propel's Clean Fuel Points in Redwood City, San Jose (N. First St.), Berkeley, and Oakland.
"Propel's growing station network provides the critical link between these future fuels and today's consumer fuel tanks, giving our customers a chance to make history," says Matt Horton, CEO of Propel Fuels.
Solazyme says its technology platform converts plant sugars into oils by feeding the sugars to microalgae in standard industrial fermentation equipment. The algae consume the sugars and convert them into oils rapidly and efficiently. While it takes millennia to make petroleum, Solazyme says its process takes a few days.
"We've successfully demonstrated our land-based fuels in fleet vehicles and corporate busses, and are excited about this pilot program with Propel because it enables us to make these fuels available to the public," says Bob Ames, vice president, fuels, of Fuels, Solazyme.