Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Sep 13

150mpg Algae-Powered Toyota Prius

Posted in Biofuels | Hybrid Cars | Transportation

Algaeus First algae fuel-powered vehicle in the world was officially launched in San Francisco. The car, called Algaeus is a modified Toyota Prius, which derives power from green crude, from Sapphire Energy. The car runs on an astonishing 150 miles per gallon of green fuel. But they are aspiring to cross the US on approximately 25 gallons of fuel.

According to FUEL producer Rebecca Harrell, “Powering our cars with algae-based fuel could be the next Apollo mission.” Rebecca Harrell is the co-founder of the Veggie Van Organization and producer of the upcoming film FUEL. In the coming 10 days she’ll be accompanying the Fuel director and Veggie Van Organization cofounder Josh Tickell. Together they will take the Algaeus on a countrywide road trip. The duo’s other travel companions will be other green energy vehicles (including the Veggie Van and the biodiesel-powered big green energy bus), “It hit us that we needed to drive the car across the country,” Harrell said. “People think of algae fuel as this long-term, far off thing. But seeing is believing.”

This countrywide tour will serve a dual purpose. People will be aware of the new clean and green fuel and they will give publicity to their forthcoming film FUEL. This film depicts America’s dependency on foreign oil. They claim that their film is different from other environmentally-themed movies. Till now these movies raise a question mark and present us with bleak future. Those movies were usually silent about the answers to environmental hazards. FUEL tries to fill the gap here. They talk about the various methods to make the transition from oil to alternative sources of energy. What’s important for everyday people is information. People don’t say ‘Can you give me something else to be scared about?’ They say, ‘How can I get my car to run on algae fuel?’ Tickell explained. FUEL will be released in New York City, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Washington DC on September 18th.

But you can not fill your tank with algae fuel at your local gas station in the foreseeable future. But the company aims to increase production of algae-based jet fuel this year and plans production of over 2 million liters of algae based diesel fuel per year over the next two years. The car is powered by a mixture of 5% algae fuel and the manufacturers claim that the demonstration car will leave its mark as the environmentally friendly-fuel-driven automobile.

Though, it is early to conclude that we can use algae as transport fuel. We all know that five percent blend of algae doesn’t precisely indicate the initiation of an algae revolution. But as the saying goes, glass if half full too. It states that advancement is being made on the fuel with great potential. This road trip will allow people to witness the progress in action. The main point of the Algaeus is to show the capability of algae to be used in an ordinary engine.

  • Jos Conil

    This is a great leap forward for an alternate fuel. As stated in the article, algae fuel may not be the one stop solution for all transport fuel needs, but it is a viable alternative fuel using the same IC engines that we have now.

  • cherie byrd

    I’m doing a research paper, and have always been curious about how much water used and wasted with new technology. I.e., bamboo fabric is great, but not for the environment and use of water, same with algae fuel, solar power, and I’d like to be enlightened all the other new stuff that requires not only lots of water to make the end product, but subsequent environmental issues. Coffee (field to market) was an issue years ago – still is in some places.

    Water is such a valuable commodity. Are we cutting off our nose to spite our face, if we’re wasting it to fix other problems.

    I would REALLY appreciate some input and maybe resources here. Thank you, Cherie

  • Shirley Ann Watts

    I have a 2007 Prius, can it be converted to use algae? And tell me more about the battery I would need. Also, I live in Alabama, where is anything about green energy around here? I would love to do something to improve the energy situation. I’m 62 and need to do more before the end of my time.

    Thank you,

  • Manroop

    Any of you folks interested in Algie production should check out what Biocentric energy holding, stock is doing! Especially you Cherie, water usage by Biocentric will be of great interest to you!!

  • Mark

    Hi Cherie Byrd,

    There are many ways in which to produce biofuel algae, ponds are one way which takes up a substantial amount of land and use lots of water. It is also not very effective. However, you can also grow algae in bioreactors, these are closed systems where the water does not vaporise but is constantly circulated around. There are some issues with the water heating up due to the missing cooling effect of the vaporisation, but I am sure that we will work these problems out by using some combo systems.

    Algae fuels are very much the fuel of tomorrow and they can be fed with the CO2 that fossil fuel plants emit, making a conventional coal plant almost CO2 neutral (in theory because the biofuels will eventually emit the captured CO2)

  • Manroop

    Biocentric has come out with a closed loop algae growing system. Water use is very conservative.

  • Vance Rossberg

    I really like this idea. How do you convert to that fuel?

  • Roy

    These are all cool ideas for sure but only offer temporary solutions because the human population of this planet has far exceeded the natural carrying capacity. Few people wish to even acknowledge this much less to actually do anything about it . Our evolutionary programing is so very strong that we will deny any data that may threaten our personal reproduction. After all, “you and I” have superior genes while it is the “other people” who should cease to reproduce. In this sense, pollutants that restrict our breeding may be somewhat beneficial except for the fact that these pollutants affect other organisms as well. “Make love not war” was a catch phrase of my generation but we got it wrong. Making love (with reproduction as the result) fewer resources for humanity at large thus it leads to more wars .

    I gain solace in the knowledge that at my age, I at least will be dead before world population becomes totally unbearable. At least we are not as yet “bleeding in each others wounds”.

  • Leilah Franklin

    Algae Diesel is a renewable source, because the production of Algae takes away CO2 from the air. Making the production of Algae diesel virtually a neutral source, where as veggie biodiesel has air pollution and with electric cars people are plugging into grids that use non sustainable energy sources. Algae is also wonderful because it is easily cultivated and does not promote deforestation like Ethanol. The idealistic future of algae is one that is fed by fish waste in a “eco-friendly fishery”. Algae is an everlasting source that should be used and cultivated for the future of this worlds energy crisis

  • cherie byrd

    I love all these comments, and thank you especially to Mark for his enlightenment.

    Also, for Roy…I’m probably a little younger than you, but not too much. With the rate different societies are reproducing (Japan is in really bad shape) there aren’t enough babies being made to assume tax burden and support of aging populations. We should be careful what we wish for. When you get beyond western(ized) societies the problem is in the reverse.

    Who knows about tax credit for electric “golf carts” that are apparently quite the vogue in Sarasota (specifically St. Armand’s Key) Florida?

    Lastly, I pick up propane tanks, why not algae tanks?

  • Roy

    Yes, point well taken. Quite a quandary this world is in and I suspect the answer lies in some manner of catastrophe either way, sadly. Cheers (sic) – Roy

  • cherie byrd

    Hi ya’ll…

    I got my answer re: rebate on electric cars. Maybe I’m the only one who was in the dark…however, the current rebate is 10% of the purchase price or $2500, whichever is less. Apparently, it was as high as $6,000 which almost paid for a NEV, Bubble Car, Zenn, etc. The new cars and hybrids are pricey relative to their peers in the marketplace. Still exploring the point of return on investment, if it is even realistic.

    Kind of like driving across town to save a buck with a coupon. There is a point of vanishing return.

  • Lou Gage

    As I write this in August 2010 I wonder if the cross county trip was made on only 25 Gallons of fuel as projected in the news release. Does anyone have update on this trip? LouG

  • adele

    When can you come by my home & leave this behind? I’ll even trade it for my current Prius.

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