REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- Propel Fuels and Solazyme Inc. are bringing algae-derived fuel to retail pumps in a month-long pilot program. The program offers Solazyme's algae-based Soladiesel to drivers through Propel's Bay Area network of retail renewable fuel locations, the companies reported.
The algae-derived fuel will be sold at the same price as conventional diesel and will be available exclusively at Propel's Clean Fuel Points in Redwood City, San Jose, Berkeley, and Oakland, Calif.
"Propel is committed to providing our customers with access to the highest quality, most sustainable, domestically produced fuels, so we're proud to introduce the next generation of fuels to the retail market," Matt Horton, CEO of Propel Fuels, said in a released statement.
Solazyme's algae-based Soladiesel meets or exceeds ASTM quality specifications and has shown performance enhancements, including cold temperature operating performance. It is also compatible with existing diesel engines with a performance guarantee by Propel, according to the company.
Solazyme's technology platform converts plant sugars into oils by feeding the sugars to microalgae in standard industrial fermentation equipment. The algae consume the sugars and convert them into oils rapidly and efficiently, with the process occurring within a few days.
Additionally, testing undertaken by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) shows that in a 20-percent blend, Soladiesel significantly outperforms ultra-low sulfur diesel in total hydrocarbons (THC), carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter tailpipe emissions. This includes an approximate 30-percent reduction in particulates, a 20-percent reduction in CO and an approximate 10-percent reduction in THC.
"Solazyme's revolutionary algae-based technology platform has supplied our development partners and customers with advanced biofuels that meet or exceed some of the world's most stringent fuels specifications and requirements," said Bob Ames, vice president of fuels with Solazyme. "We've successfully demonstrated our land-based fuels in fleet vehicles and corporate buses, and are excited about this pilot program with Propel because it enables us to make these fuels available to the public."