Scientists from the University of Tsukuba and University of Tohoku, Japan have developed a new method that uses algae to produce gasoline or jet fuel. The study attempts to make use of oil producing algae in wastewater treatment.
The gasoline was developed after researchers used a catalyst containing cerium oxide support and ruthenium metal particles to treat squalene with hydrogen. Squalene is produced by microalgae. The above chemical process resulted in the production of smaller hydrocarbons. The carbon-carbon bonds located between the methyl branches were then selectively dissociated and branched hydrocarbons were produced without the loss of branches.
Branched hydrocarbons are good for gasoline and jet fuel because of its high octane number, low freezing point and good stability. The fuel produced was reusable four times without the loss of performance.