Chevron Looks to Algae for Tomorrow's Fuel

Chevron Looks to Algae for Tomorrow's Fuel

Chevron Corp. will partner with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to research ways of turning algae into transportation fuel.

It is the second research project between the two organizations; the first, announced last year, focuses on transforming bio-oils from decomposing biological feedstocks into hydrogen and biofuels.

In the collaboration announced Wednesday, Chevron and NLER will explore various algae strains that can successfully be processed into transportation fuels such as jet fuel. Algae is promising because certain strains possess high volumes of oil. Plus, algae is abundant and grows quickly.

"NREL operated the Aquatic Species Program for the Department of Energy for nearly 20 years, giving us unique insights into the research required to produce cost-effective fuels from algal oils or lipids," said NREL Director Dan Arvizu in a statement. "Our scientists have the advanced tools and the experience to rapidly increase the yield and productivity of key species of algae."

Chevron views biofuels as an important future player in the energy sector as worldwide demand grows, said Don Paul, Chevron's vice president and chief technology officer.

"Chevron believes that nonfood feedstock sources such as algae and cellulose hold the greatest promise to grow the biofuels industry to large scale," Paul said.