Gallery: Pentagon Developing Cost-Competitive Algae For Jet Fuel


DARPA, the well known research arm of the Pentagon, has just announced that they will soon be able to transform algae into biofuel at costs that are competitive with fossil fuels. The agency is on track to achieve a cost of $3 dollars a gallon for jet fuel, and their plan is to then develop a large-scale refinery that can produce around 50 million gallons per year. Is this the beginning of the biofuel revolution?

Currently there are significant problems with biofuels — the clearing of land, the use of land for fuel instead of food production, and the difficult-to-assess greenhouse gas emissions. However, if we are going to produce them, creating them from waste or algae seems like the way to go.

DARPA’s new project is expected to deliver roughly 1,000 gallons per acre of farm. By next year, if all goes well, the US Air Force will be testing a 50-50 biofuel blend in their planes. Even better, part of their plan involves creating facilities that could create the fuel essentially anywhere on the planet.

Granted, all of this is currently going towards greening the military — an oxymoron if we’ve ever heard of one. But one must still remember that research projects developed in the military have often changed the world for the better.


Via Guardian UK


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  1. vbiz7 May 25, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    We believe algae is the answer. Algae can be used to supplement many of our existing energy needs today. We have even made an algae jet fuel out of the dry biomass. Check us out when you have time

  2. nasagolfer February 22, 2010 at 9:50 am

    While electric motor driven cars will become the predominant mode of personal transportation in the future, electric drive will not be acceptable for air travel or large trucks. With 3/4 of the world covered in water, algae derived biodiesel makes the most practical sense for converting energy from the sun into energy to power our aircraft and heavy trucks. Depending on how competitive the price can become, it may replace all fossil fuel sources of energy known today. Yes, it could even replace coal burning power plants if scaled up enough and reduced enough in price. And that would be world transforming. Keep us posted on the progress of this most promising technology.

  3. jeanX February 18, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    I don’t like military jets.
    Military jets kill.
    Some commercial jets are acceptable,
    b/c they bring families together.

  4. Wuddel February 18, 2010 at 8:29 am

    What’s up with the German jet?

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