Our 'Great Green Hope' Might Just Be ... Pond Scum

Sapphire Energy is a San Diego company that turns algae into fuel. To date, it claims to have created such a fuel that meets quality standards, is compatible with current gasoline-manufacturing infrastructure, and achieves a 91-octane rating. According to a December 7 report from McClatchy Newspapers syndicate, Sapphire CEO Jason Pyle cited opposition from proponents of other alternative fuel types (including corn/ethanol and soy/biodiesel) as a major obstacle to the funding his company-and the industry he represents-would need to bring algae fuel to mass production. "We are up against formidable opposition from competing interests," said Pyle. Referring to the need to aggressively gain audience with the incoming Obama administration, Pyle said, "We are approaching the final opportunity to grab a seat on the energy train." According to the news story, algae-based fuel, which could also be blended with traditional fuels such as diesel or jet-A, was exhibited at last summer's Farnborough Air Show in the UK, where it attracted the attention of airlines and manufacturers, alike.