California Drivers First to Test Algae Fuel

It's 80% petroleum and 20% algae
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 14, 2012 2:42 PM CST
This is the real stuff, but drivers in the San Francisco Bay area are experimenting with algae biofuel.   (AP Photo/Grant Hindsley)

(Newser) – Drivers in the San Francisco Bay Area have become the first motorists in the nation to fill up their gas tanks with an algae-based biofuel. The fuel, known as Biodiesel B20, went on sale yesterday at gas stations in Berkeley, Oakland, Redwood City, and San Jose as part of a month-long pilot program. Biodiesel B20 is made from 20% algae and 80% petroleum, and can be used by any vehicle that runs on diesel. Advocates say it is the first in a wave of clean fuel to hit the marketplace.

"We are putting a stake in the ground," said Matt Horton, chief executive officer of Propel Fuels, as he prepared to fill the first tank at a Valero station in Redwood City. "We hope to build hundreds of stations like this in California." The fuel's algae was grown by San Francisco-based Solazyme Inc. and already has been used in trials by the military and industrial companies. It sold for about $4.25 a gallon at the Redwood City station, about the same as the average price for diesel fuel in California. The San Francisco Chronicle has more. (Read more San Francisco stories.)

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