'Green crude' breakthrough on algae biofuel

Last updated 13:09 15/09/2008

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A company working on technology to convert wild algae in Blenheim's sewerage ponds into fuel has produced its first samples of green crude oil at a commercially competitive price. Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation is refining the processes it has developed to create a next-generation fuel it calls "green crude".

Green crude is basically a manufactured form of crude oil. In contrast to earlier generations of biodiesel, additional food crops or agricultural land are not needed and the end product is not just a fuel but can be used in products in the same way as crude oil can, company director Barrie Leay explained.

"This is an exciting development because we can separate fuels such as diesel and aviation fuels, as well as a range of high-value chemicals, from green-crude," Mr Leay said. The coporation had been refining the energy efficiency of the production method and says it has pinned this back to a commercially viable level.

Fellow director Nick Gerritsen said the production of green-crude was a "massive" advance, and Aquaflow was now developing the advancements further.

Aquaflow sources its wild algae from Marlborough's oxidation ponds and carries out much of its science in Nelson, but its work is attracting interest from around the world.

Mr Gerritsen said green-crude production also delivered clean water for irrigation or industrial re-use, and this was generating huge interest in the United States.

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- The Marlborough Express

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