Fuel Smarts

Biodiesel Blooms From Algae in Chile

July 13, 2017

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Image: National Biodiesel Board
Image: National Biodiesel Board

Scientists at the Catholic University in Santiago, Chile contend that if biodiesel made from microalgae is used to power trucks and buses, it could cut GHG emissions by as much as 80%, according to a Reuters report.

Such a reduction would be especially helpful to reduce air pollution in heavily contaminated cities. “What is new about our process is the intent to produce this fuel from microalgae, which are microorganisms," researcher Carlos Saez told Reuters.

He said the key will be to produce a sufficient volume of microalgae. Fortunately, the South American country is blessed with an array of both fresh and salt water algaes.

Reuters also reported that Saez said the scientists are working to improve algae-growing technology “to ramp up production at a low cost using limited energy.”

Most of the world's biodiesel, which is produced primarily to cut dependence on petroleum-based fuels, Reuters noted, is derived from soybean oil. Biodiesel can also be produced from animal fat as well as canola and palm oils.

Related: Truckstop Group Urges Congress to Extend Biodiesel Tax Credit

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