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San Diego firm turns green slime into black gold

May 28, 2008 |  3:33 pm

Green_2Combine algae, sunlight, carbon dioxide and non-potable water and what do you get? Well, a San Diego company says the result is chemically equivalent to the top grade of crude oil that can be refined into fuels for cars, trucks and other uses. Jason Pyle, founder of Sapphire Energy, calls it "green crude" and plans to introduce the first fuels in about three years, he told the Times' Elizabeth Douglass.

On the front end, the process would help curb the nation’s reliance on imported crude, and alleviate concerns about the world’s dwindling supply of oil, he said. The green crude also would produce fewer pollutants in the refining process and fewer harmful emissions from vehicle tailpipes, Pyle said.

One scientist said the results are encouraging but the environmental benefits of green crude need more study.

-- Jesus Sanchez

Photo: Sapphire Energy