The first algae-fueled vehicle called the Algaeus has begun its drive across America. The car, a converted plug-in Prius outfitted with a nickel-metal hydride battery and filled with a blend of 5 percent algae and 95 percent gasoline from Sapphire Energy, set out from San Francisco yesterday and will take 10 days to make it to Washington, DC.
The group responsible for the Algaeus, the Veggie Van Organization, expects the car will only require 25 gallons of fuel to make the entire trip.
Yes, a 5 percent blend of algae doesn't exactly signal the start of an algae revolution, but it does mean that progress is being made on fuel with great potential and this road trip lets people see the progress in action. The main point of the Algaeus is to show the ability of algae to be used in a standard engine.
The road trip isn't being made just to show off the algae car, but to also promote the film FUEL that discusses solutions for our dependence on foreign oil and opens on September 18th, the day the algae car will reach its destination.
Sapphire Energy plans to produce two million gallons of algae fuel per year for the next two years with hopes of it becoming cost-competitive in the next few years at $60 to $80 a barrel. The company intends to create a 10 percent algae blend for its future commercial products. Sapphire is also producing one million gallons of algae-based jet fuel this year.