Now wild algal jet fuel

Aquaflow Bionmic Corporation is now developing wild algal jet fuel. The idea to harvest algae directly from the settling ponds of standard Effluent Management Systems and other nutrient-rich water. ABC says the process helps to optimise the efficiency of the settlement ponds. The project was reported on Metaefficient in a post which is very similar to one on Stuff.co.nz.
Both are pretty wrapped up in the idea that this is “secret” testing with Air New Zealand which may be going to trial the fuel in one engine on an scheduled flight… sounds silly to me surely they’d test it on the ground or better still Boeing would do the testing and confirm that its OK in the safety of their research and development centre.
Aside from that it is interesting to see the use of wild algae not farmed algae. There was a great deal of work in the US on algae in program at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) that ran for nearly a decade. At the time, the results were not encouraging. The NREL program was terminated in 1996, largely because at the time crude-oil prices were far too low for algae to compete.
It will be interesting to see if there is enough of the right kind of accidental algae out there to make this a commercially viable idea. I’ve asked Air New Zealand for a comment.

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