Algae-derived jet fuel may not cost as much as you might think

Argentina-based microalgae producer Biocombustibles del Chubut (Bc) is claiming that it could eventually sell algae-derived jet fuel for €800 ($1,038) per tonne.

To put this into context, according to IATA’s jet fuel monitor, the cost of one metric tonne of kerosene as of 31 December was $837.

Here are some pictures illustrating what goes on at Bc’s plant in Puerto Madryn:

Bc’s test lab for BioJet A1 fuel uses an old engine which has been transformed into a “Bioflex” turbine:

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A routine test of biomass growth:

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An example of a “blind pond”, where algae can be cultivated without sunlight:

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But before you get too excited, Bc points out that “the industrialisation of algae farming for fuel production is still at the very beginning”, and it has “yet to be demonstrated that the industrial production is both ecologically and economically viable”.

Still, nice to see some figures emerging.


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