alexa New method of converting algal oil to transportation fuels

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New method of converting algal oil to transportation fuels

A new method of converting squalene, which is produced by microalgae, to gasoline or jet fuel, has been developed. This new method uses a highly dispersed ruthenium catalyst supported on cerium oxide. Squalane -- which is easily obtained from squalene -- reacts with hydrogen over this catalyst, producing smaller hydrocarbons. The produced hydrocarbons are composed of only branched alkanes with simple distribution and do not contain toxic aromatics. These molecules have high stability and low freezing points. These features are very different from the hydrocarbons obtained by conventional petroleum refinery. Biofuels have attracted much attention because of the declining amount of fossil fuels around the world and the rise of global warming. Some algae produce more oil than terrestrial plants, so they are a promising source of oil. Squalene is a 'heavy oil' range of hydrocarbon. It is currently gathered from deep sea sharks and used as a component of cosmetics. However, wastewater-derived squalene is not suitable for such sensitive uses and has little demand. Most uses of oil, such as gasoline and jet fuels, require reforming.

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