The U.S. Government has signed a research contract with the Arizona State University to discover the best means to convert the oils from ordinary pond scum into JP-8 military jet fuel. As part of a team withÂ UOP (a Honeywell company), ASU’s lead researchers Qiang Hu and Milton SommerfeldÂ will spearhead the $6.7 million government assignment by first researching which of the 40,000 varied strands of algae produce the most oil.
We have covered the story on the conversion of Algae to fuel before back in a June Article: From Pond Goo to Alternative Fuel: Algae the Diesel of Tomorrow?TheÂ advantages of algae as a fuel source over otherÂ bio-sources are many, but here are just a few:Â Algae is not a food source for humans and animals therefore it would not deplete the food supply. Algae can grow in nearly any water environment, including water with a high salt content and brackish waters, so it will not compete for a clean water supply. It is yet another benefit that Algae can grow nearly anywhere so you do not have to worry about taking up good farm soil or keeping it out of industrial areas.
In fact algae’s second greatest attribute besides producing nearly 100 times more oil than soy beans is that it feeds on the carbon dioxideÂ that nearly all industries produce. Thus making algae the ultimate counter in order to become carbon neutral.
ASU will be conducting its research over the course of this year with the intention of producing a jet fuel substance that is ready for mass production by the end of 2008. With the substantial government contract backing them up they certainly have an advantage over the other universities and small businesses seeking to make the leap from algae to fuel.
The jet fuel created is intended for use by both U.S. and NATO air defense, as well as commercial jets. Like most bio-fuels it is a cleaner burning fuel that would be a welcomed replacement for petroleum based jet fuel. We will watching and waiting for more news to come from ASU in the coming year. The algae-to-fuel conversion Â could put a whole new spin on the old insult of calling someone “pond scum.”
“What an environmentally friendly thing to say.Â A little gassy, but kind.”
Â Source[Autopia , ASUnews]