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Shell uses algae to make fuel

13 December 2007

  • Tests begin in Hawaii
  • Algae yield 15 times greater than land crops
  • Fuel could be on mass sale within two years

Algae has a much higher yield than other crops used to make biofuels

Shell is planning to make biofuel out of algae.

The oil company has started farming algae in seawater ponds in Hawaii, and believes that the crops can be profitably converted into vegetable oil for diesel engines.

Initial research suggests that saltwater algae can produce up to 15 times more oil yield per hectare than land-based crops such as rape or palm soya.

Although previous projects to use algae have failed, Shell believes that future legislation from governments to provide incentives for biofuel production will strengthen its hand.

Shell hopes to be able to produce biofuel from algae on a commercial scale within two years.

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