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Turning Algae Oil into Jet Fuel is Not Straightforward

December 12th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted in Algae-Aviation-Fuel, Algae-Fuel-Research

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“Turning algae oil into jet fuel is not as straightforward as making biodiesel, says Joseph Kocal, director of renewables research with UOP, a division of Honeywell Inc. To make a truly drop-in fuel replacement, the fatty acids in the oil must be chemically transformed into paraffins to make a fuel that matches the ASTM 1655 standard for aviation fuel. Kocal says the first step was to remove the oxygen from the fatty acids, leaving long-chain hydrocarbons. For nearly all feedstocks, the hydrocarbons need to be shortened to produce compounds that will vaporize in the proper temperature range. Finally, the hydrocarbons go through a cracking process to isomerize them into branched molecules that won’t gel at the low temperatures found at high altitudes. The fuel will still need additional aromatic hydrocarbons to meet the ASTM specification. Kocal says these compounds could be manufactured from biomass in the future using pyrolysis. Most of the technology needed to produce jet fuel from algae oil is commonly used in the petrochemical industry. “The cost of making this fuel should be well in line with petroleum production costs if we can keep feedstock costs low,” he says”…Interesting


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