Alghe e Petrolio

Algae to Crude oil process

By Travis Gettys
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 9:11 EST

Engineers have sped up a naturally occurring process to make crude oil from algae from about a million years to just minutes.

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory pumped a slurry of wet algae into a chemical reactor, which then subjects the biological material to very hot water under high pressure to tear it apart and convert it into liquid and gas fuels.

The resulting crude oil can then be conventionally refined into aviation fuel, gasoline or diesel fuel, the researchers reported in the journal Algal Research.

The team’s experiments converted more than 50 percent of the algae’s carbon into crude oil, sometimes up to 70 percent, in about one hour and created nothing more hazardous than an odor of dirty socks, rotten eggs and wood smoke from the processed biological material.

In fact, the leftover water and nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium can be recycled to grow more algae.

Algae has long been considered a potential source of biofuel and has been produced by several companies on a research scale, but the fuel was projected to be prohibitively expensive.



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