Darpa (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) helped create the internet and satellite navigation systems, which has made my neverending quest to hunt emos at least 23% easier. Now they’re finding a cheap way to source fuel from algae as part of the Pentagon’s plan to replace half of the military’s fuel with renewable sources by 2016.
“Darpa has achieved the base goal to date,” [Barbara McQuiston] said. “Oil from algae is projected at $2 per gallon, headed towards $1 per gallon.” McQuiston said a larger-scale refining operation, producing 50 million gallons a year, would come on line in 2011 and she was hopeful the costs would drop still further – ensuring that the algae-based fuel would be competitive with fossil fuels. She said the projects, run by private firms SAIC and General Atomics, expected to yield 1,000 gallons of oil per acre from the algal farm. [Guardian]
Algae is the fastest-growing plant, and is estimated to produce 30 times more energy per acre than any other biofuel source. It can also be grown in waste water, like the moat I dug around my house.
The video below is from 2008, and talks about algal fuel like it’s some far-off, theoretical thing. Ha ha, people in 2008, with their hoop skirts and their top hats and their bicycles with the big front wheel. Losers.
[Banner pic taken at Valcent]