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Popular Science News | Blue Petroleum

Popular Science News – Blue Petroleum is fuel made from algae. A small company in Alicante, Spain, Bio Fuel Systems (BFS), is making fuel using the carbon dioxide emitted by a nearby cement factory. BFS converts two tons of CO2 into a barrel of fuel. One of the things that is exciting about this process is that producing and burning this fuel emits 1100kg of CO2 so that overall 900kg of CO2 ends up being extracted from the atmosphere. This is the greenhouse gas responsible for global warming.

Scaled up this plant, currently producing 2.5 barrels of oil a day, could create all the oil currently needed globally using 1% of the land currently used for pasture. Except that, because it is using algae to produce the fuel, it could do what the Alicante plant is doing and be sited in a desert next to a CO2 emitting factory.

There’s always a downside. The structure used to produce the product is so expensive the fuel would cost $5 a litre. Ways to reduce these costs are being investigated, including using the ocean where mixing the algae soup would be done by natural wave action, saving electricity. The final problem which could prevent this process being scaled up is the need for fertiliser. To produce one tenth of the US fuel needs would use the entire US fertiliser supply.

 

involving high heat and pressure Ail the fossil
fuels needed for these processes release about
700 kUogrammes of CO2. Burning the oil
itself- In car engines, say - emits another
450 kg. The rest of the carbon - the equivalent
of about 900 kg of CO2 — stays in the leftovers,
an inorganic carbonate sludge that can be
buried or mixed into concrete. “That will never
go back in the atmosphere.” says Stroiazzo.
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