Renewable oil manufacturer Solazyme and renewable fuel station chain Propel have partnered up to offer the world’s first algae-derived biofuel/biodiesel mixture to consumers.
The special “Soladiesel” is composed of a 20% algae oil biofuel mixture and will be sold alongside Propel’s usual mixture for the same price during a month long special promotion. The goal is to determine the consumer demand for the algae blend.
Normally “Soladiesel” would cost more than the regular biodiesel blend, but gauging consumer demand and determining supply chain issues up front are both critical first steps before bringing the new fuel officially to market.
Algae-derived biofuels have long been a focus of manufacturers hoping to move away from corn-based ethanol. We recently profiled Green Crude Farms, a manufacturer of the world’s first entirely algae-based crude oil. They and others are looking for ways to make algae the next big thing in biofuel production.
Corn-based ethanol has been the ‘go-to’ biofuel for some time now with the government mandated E-10 and E-15 ethanol blends based on corn-ethanol. The problem there is the food-fuel competition. With corn needed for livestock feed and as a food source, there are significant problems that arise when corn stocks are diverted for use as fuel.
In order to make our food and fuel systems more energy efficient, advanced second generation biofuels that do not use food-based feedstocks will be crucial. Algae feedstocks can be grown in salt water or wastewater and thus represent a promising source for biofuels to replace corn-ethanol.
Propel fueling stations are currently located in California and Wasthington states.