Oil, the reason for a plethora of world issues. An alternative has been in the works to alleviate our reliance on oil, developers are calling it “green crude.” Green Crude is crude oil that is produced using algae. This alternative has been under research for years now, and finally, a company called Sapphire Energy in New Mexico has found a location to “launch a new green revolution in agriculture” (Environment 360, Marc Gunther). Sapphire’s plan is to turn a 300-acre piece of the desert into the largest algae farm the world has ever seen. Their goal is to produce 100 barrels of oil a day! There are many advantages seen using algae-produced oil. Some of these include a reduction of CO2 emissions, energy security by producing oil on our own land, and algae isn’t a food source for humans and animals like other ethanols being produced. There are numerous other companies world-wide currently developing crude oil from algae, including a company who developed jet fuel from algae.
Right now, there isn’t a world-wide consensus on the most effective way to produce oil from algae. Some companies focus on growing algae in ponds where others will grow algae in plastic containers. Algae presents itself as a very promising fuel alternative so it is essential to find the most efficient way to produce it. The main issue algae-oil produces encounter is the high costs. That is the main reason this technology hasn’t gone mainstream, it isn’t close to being cost competitive with current fossil fuels. Once that issue can get resolved, the hopes are that algae-produced oil will alleviate a lot of the problems we face!
Read more about the potentials of algae as well as the downfalls the industry could face in Environment 360’s article Green Crude: The Quest to Unlock Algae’s Energy Potential.