I have to respond to a recent letter writer regarding his statement, "What's the president's next bright idea? Algae."
While not the president's idea, converting algae and other renewable oil feedstocks (not corn) to fuel is nearing full commercialization. Valero is building an Ecofining unit, licensed from Honeywell subsidiary UOP, to produce upwards of 10,000 barrels a day of green diesel fuel. This unit is due to start up in late 2012. Fox Business reported the news Nov. 14.
UOP's green fuel hydroprocessing technology (research seed money came from a government grant) has supplied the U.S. Navy and Air Force with hundreds of thousands of gallons of green jet fuel for testing. Feedstock partners supplied oils from algae, animal fat and camellina, which was mixed 50-50 with petroleum-based jet fuel. The green fuel was fully certified on the Air Force C-17 Globemaster and F-16 and successfully demonstrated in the A-10 Thunderbolt, the F-15 Eagle and the F-22 Raptor platforms, as well as in various Navy aircraft, with no changes to aircraft technology, according to a UOP press release in 2011. The fuel is expected to receive fleet-wide certification by 2013. The Navy has also successfully tested this green diesel fuel in various ship classes.
A United Airlines jet, with full passenger load, flying recently from Houston to Chicago, used a 50-50 mix as well.
So nonfood-based renewable fuel sources are the future to wean us from foreign oil.
Facts, not opinions.
Hilton Head Island