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.