November 14, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle (SF’s leading newspaper)
Drivers in the San Francisco Bay Area have become the first motorists in the nation to fill up their gas tanks with an algae-based biofuel. Biodiesel B20 is made from 20 percent algae and 80 percent petroleum, and can be used by any vehicle that runs on diesel. Advocates say it is the first in a wave of clean fuel to hit the marketplace. “We are putting a stake in the ground,” said Matt Horton, chief executive officer of Propel Fuels, as he prepared to fill the first tank with the algae-based product at a Valero station in Redwood City. The fuel’s algae was grown by South San Francisco-based Solazyme Inc. and already has been used in trials by the military and industrial companies. It was sold for about $4.25 a gallon at the Redwood City station, about the same as the average price for diesel fuel in California. Horton said most diesel vehicles could run on 100 percent algae fuel, but doing so would result in higher costs for consumers. He added that many automakers oppose allowing a mix higher than 20 percent.
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