Solazyme’s novel biofuel production method involves growing algae in the absence of light. In nature, algae use light to make sugar and then make oil from that sugar. Solazyme skips the light part and just feeds their algae sugar to get them to make oil.
Even with these advances it has two obvious issues: questionable amounts of carbon are sequestered in the growing process, and it requires a source of sugar. That source is currently sugarcane, but Solazyme says cellulosic feedstocks could also be used at some future date.
In recent months Solazyme has made some significant advancements including the certification of their proprietary Soladiesel(RD)™ fuel to the strict American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D-975 specifications — meaning it is essentially indistinguishable to normal diesel fuel.
Although Solazyme’s process sounds promising, it hasn’t been clear when Solazyme’s algal diesel will reach commercialization. Other companies have already begun commercial production of algae biodiesel, beating Solazyme to the punch.
With this influx of cash, I’ll be curious to see if Solazyme can finally deliver, and, if so, how their process compares to other algal biodiesel out there when looking at the environmental benefits.
Posts Related to Algal Biofuels:
- Different Algae for Different Strokes
- Solazyme Makes First Algae Diesel to Meet Strict US Standard
- OriginOil Develops Portable Modular Round-the-Clock Algae Biodiesel System
- How Green Are Biofuels? Comparison Chart [PIC]
- First Heavy-Duty Diesel Powered By Algae Biodiesel, Solazyme’s “Soladiesel”
- Algae Could Be Major Hydrogen Fuel Source
- First Algae Biodiesel Plant Goes Online: April 1, 2008