Written by R.E. Lord   

Algae, one of the oldest life forms on earth, are poised to play a major role in the global search for the ideal biofuel feedstock, as researchers around the world seek new, more efficient ways to squeeze oil from "seaweed" to produce a clean and renewable biofuel. Some scientists even project that algal fuels could one day replace petroleum outright.

There are certainly good reasons for this kind of audacious hope. Some forms of algae are as much as 50 percent oil, and they can be grown in salty water or even waste water, absorbing C02 in the process. Researchers say algae can produce from 30 to 400 times more oil per acre than other popular biofuel feedstocks like palm trees and soy beans. And since algae can be grown in huge open ponds or in sealed bioreactors, and because algae can convert sunlight into chemical energy (photosynthesis) much more efficiently than other feedstocks, its wide use could take biofuel production out of the food cycle for good.

Read more: Algae Biodiesel: Making Biofuel from Algae
Written by R.E. Lord   

It doesn't seem possible to create a viable, alternative fuel source from algae, but it turns out that not only is it possible but it just might be the best option we have in the future.

Algae fuel, or Oilgae, uses different components of algae to create one of several types of fuels such biodiesel, ethanol or butanol.  The biomass of algae consists of 60% oil which can then be converted to a biodiesel, while the carbohydrate component of algae can be fermented to produce bioethanol.

At this point, algae production for use as an alternative fuel is still in development and there are several companies working away on the green slime to be the first to make just the right breakthrough to make this a profitable endeavor.  That is to say, we can make biofuels from algae right now, but it still costs quite a bit of money to do so.  Figures vary, but it seems the price per gallon of a viable fuel is still many times that of traditional fuels.


Written by Prognog Staff    Currently, researchers are hoping to alleviate the US’s addiction to oil by transforming sawdust and wood chips into bio-oil. This thick black liquid could very well become an environmentally friendly substitute for the majority of our current petroleum products. Read more: Growing Oil
Written by Prognog Staff   

In the eternal search for cheaper fuels, and a way to eliminate the use of fossil fuel from our environment, some clever researchers have come up with a way of making your own biodiesel fuel. But while it is often promoted as something you can "make at home", there are a number of things to consider, first.

Read more: How to Make Biodiesel
Written by Prognog Staff    Biodiesel is generally considered to be cleaner than traditional or "dino" diesel. It can be used in any diesel engine without the need to modify the engine or fuel delivery. Many diesel engines actually run better and tend to last longer when used with biodiesel. Read more: Biodiesel
Written by R.E. Lord   

A platinum monolayer shell on a palladium nanoparticle core.Scientists have built a new electrocatalyst for fuel-cell vehicles that uses palladium instead of carbon to protect the expensive layer of platinum needed to drive a cell’s reactions, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory.

In current fuel-cell technology, normal stop-and-go driving wears down the platinum catalyst, causing its reactivity to plummet over time. Researchers see this as one of the major hurdles to large-scale production and use of fuel-cell technology.

But according to Brookhaven chemist Radosalve Adzic, a palladium or palladium-gold alloy nanoparticle core has proved to be a worthy protector of the precious metal in lab tests.

Read more: New Electrocatalyst for Fuel-Cell Vehicles Protects Expensive Platinum Layer

Written by Prognog Staff   

Hydrogen fuel is used to power vehicles by running compressed hydrogen that is stored onboard with oxygen from the air to create electricity to power an electric motor.  Hydrogen produces nearly three times the energy per pound than gasoline; however, it has only about 1/10 the density in a liquid form. Therefore, a hydrogen fuel talk has to be much larger than a traditional gasoline tank.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell

In order to use hydrogen in a car, it has to be produced as it does not occur naturally in a quantity worth using. There are several methods for producing hydrogen including pulling the hydrogen out of water. Unfortunately, this process required a good deal of energy. A recent study completed at MIT found that "Even with aggressive research, the hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle will not be better than the diesel hybrid ( a vehicle powered by a conventional engine supplemented by an electric motor) in terms of total energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 2020."


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