Ethanol has lost a lot of support in the past few years for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest knocks against corn-derived ethanol is the reduced horsepower and fuel economy, causing some to be wary of an alternative fuel promises. But a new study shows that algae-based biodiesel has nearly the same horsepower and torque output as petrol and soybean diesel.
The study compared standard petrol-derived diesel with yeast, bacteria, and microalgae biodiesels, as well as a soybean-derived biodiesel. Compared with the standard diesel, all of the biodiesels delivered output of between 93% and 96.5%, resulting in little loss of horsepower, though torque was barely affected.
Fuel consumption was higher, but emissions were lower, especially for the microalgae biodiesel. Researchers estimate that the lower NoX emissions, especially in the microalgae biodiesel, came from the lack of polyunsaturated fatty acids. With algae biodiesel now available for purchase at select gas stations in California, algae may become a hot commodity now that ethanol seems to be falling out of favor. Even the military seems to think algae might be a viable replacement for petrol, and is even testing it on jets.
With tests like these showing that power is mostly unaffected, and that emissions might actually go down, adds to the fact that algae biodiesel blends have achieved price-parity with standard diesel fuels. Is algae fuel the future?
Source: Green Car Congress