The title might sound impossible, but Sapphire Energy, a California-based company, has been working away to create actual gasoline from a renewable, carbon neutral source: algae. While we've heard of many different processes for making fuels from algae, this one certainly tops the list. They've managed to produce 91-octane, ASTM certified gasoline, ready to be pumped into your car. They stress that it is not ethanol, and not biodiesel.
Move over Brent Crude, it's Green Crude's turn.
The company, they say, started with 3 friends discussing a very interesting question: "Why is the biofuel industry spending so much time and energy to manufacture ethanol — a fundamentally inferior fuel?" A very good question indeed, and one they sought to answer on their own terms. The friends - a bioengineer, a chemist, and a biologist - set out to recruit the best minds they could find to collaborate with them on the project, and the results are staggering. "The company has built a revolutionary platform using sunlight, CO2 and microorganisms such as algae" to produce the fuel, without the use of arable land, and while we haven't yet seen any data, they claim it to be very water efficient.
They also announced that they raised $50 million from Arch Rock Ventures, Venrock, and the Wellcome Trust. It is evident that Sapphire will become a major player in the coming years for alternative fuel production, and one cannot help but be inspired with confidence when Arch Rock says: "We realized at that point we could change the world, so we sat them down and told them, 'the checkbook is completely open; tell us what you need'." Not a statement you hear everyday from a venture capital firm.
We will have more on this story as it develops; we are eager for more info and will pass it on as soon as we get it.