SAN FRANCISCO — The founder of the Veggie Van Organization and director of the upcoming film “FUEL” will unveil the Algaeus, the world’s first algae-powered car, in front of City Hall at 2:30 p.m. today. The car will drive across the country to New York City, where “FUEL” will premiere Sept. 18.
How can a car be powered by algae? It makes sense because most algae produce oil to buoy themselves up in water in order to get close to sunlight. Sapphire Energy, our algae partner on this project, is on the cutting edge of producing what they call green crude, which is like a Texas sweet crude, only produced from algae.
What kind of car is the Algaeus? It’s a 2008 Toyota Prius with a plug and an extended battery pack. The car is quite amazing in that it gets 150 miles per gallon. One important note: the gasoline engine has not been modified in any way.
Where does the algae come from? The strains of algae from which fuel is made are extremely specific and only grow in hot desert climates in water with certain nutrients in it.
How much algae is necessary to power a car across the U.S.? We expect to use less than 50 gallons of fuel for the entire trip. This will be a percentage of algae fuel and a percentage of regular fuel.
How fast can an algae-fueled vehicle travel? Highway speed is no problem. It’s zippy!