It Costs $424 Per Gallon, It Ruins Your Engine, But It Is Green!

US navy completes successful test on boat powered by algae

The experimental boat, intended for use in rivers and marshes and eventually destined for oil installations in the Middle East, operated on a 50/50 mix of algae-based fuel and diesel.

The navy plans to roll out its first green strike force, a group of about 10 ships, submarines and planes running on a mix of biofuels and nuclear power, in 2012, with deployment in the field scheduled for 2016.

The current cost of a gallon of algae-diesel mix is $424 a gallon.

The early versions of algae-based fuels had a short shelf life, with the fuel separating in the tank, sprouting, or even corroding engines. “They had some not very good characteristics at the end of the day,” he admitted.

But the navy appears committed. Last month it placed an order for 150,000 gallons of algae-based fuel from a San Francisco firm.

OK. So they purchased $64 million dollars worth of corrosive green algae which sprouts in the engine and needs to be supplemented with diesel and nuclear.

About Tony Heller

Just having fun
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15 Responses to It Costs $424 Per Gallon, It Ruins Your Engine, But It Is Green!

  1. AndyW says:

    That’s almost as much as we pay per gallon in the UK 🙂 It is currently 120p per litre or $6.50 roughly per US gallon.


  2. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    Speaking of cars, Gore very concerned over co2 emitting from his awaiting car:

    Gore leaves car idling for one hour during speech; Opts for Swedish government jet over public transportation

    ‘Local legislation prohibits any car engine running for more than 60 seconds’ — But Gore Not Fined

  3. Neil says:

    Yes, it’s laughable.

    But to be strictly fair, isn’t it good that the US Navy (at least) is seeking energy independance from the Middle East?

  4. Sundance says:

    Maybe the Navy should just go back to sail power and oars while towing some platform based wind turbines. That’ll show those darn Arabs.

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  6. Joel Upchurch says:

    You are obviously ignoring the huge cost of prototyping anything. A production system will be much cheaper. I don’t expect bio-diesel to become cost competitive with regular diesel anytime until the wells are nearly dry, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense for the military to look into it. The important fact you are overlooking is that is costs the military $400 a gallon to get fuel to Afghanistan.
    And that was before the Taliban started blowing up our convoys.
    If they can produce bio-diesel in country for less than $100 a gallon it would be a huge reduction in our fuel costs. The are also looking at small nuclear reactors to produce electricity, so they don’t have to haul in diesel for the generators.

    • Lots of Algae in Afghanistan no doubt.

    • Mike says:

      Joel it’s not prototyoing costs, this has been under development for at least 10 years, the cost is driven in large part by the sun light surface area/depth of penetration/food costs etc. I just retired from 35 years in the energy industry as a chief process engineer, the last 15 of which were spent looking for new alternative energy technologies. Algae is a very expensive alternative and genetic modifications will not drive down the cost. I wish it would, I have 22 acres to play with.


    • Jim says:

      Joel, if algae-based fuel is economical or even could be it wouldn’t need subsidies. How about we get the government out of the energy business? (And the car business, the mortgage business, the housing business, passenger train business, …)

    • Steven Mosher says:

      ya, when we started to use carbon material for airplanes the cost was an order of magnitude or more higher than titanium. But we could at least project that the cost would come down to dollars per pound in 20 years when the product would actually go into production. And at the outset there were all sorts of problems. All solvable. Of course liberal pukes seized on the cost at the present time. Same tactic they used on star wars.

  7. kuhnkat says:

    Don’t know if it will be cost competitive, but, genetically modified bacteria is already less than half the cost of the algae based with a better quality output.

    These guys claim close to parity with gas!

    I believe one of our military branches adopted this technology and financed a pilot plant when Coal gasification was nixed by the Administration.

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