New fuel from coal and algae

Oil reserves are not inexhaustible and sooner or later you will have to switch to another kind of fuel. The best candidates are electricity and hydrogen, but thanks to the efforts of South African scientists, we may not have to sacrifice traditional fuel.

The research team at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University has developed a new type of fuel called Coalgae, which was formed from the combination of algae and carbon dust, which are components that are largely considered waste. The new kind of fuel could therefore be beneficial for the environment, and at the same time it would not increase food prices as in the case of biofuels produced from rape and other plant species.

The main component of the fuel developed by the team under Professor Ben Zeelie is carbon dust, which is the waste produced during the coal mining process. As about 30 percent of coal is turned into dust during its extraction, this means that approximately 50-60 million tons Is irretrievably lost. Using it to produce fuel would in no way harm the environment, but on the contrary, because it would protect it from the release of harmful compounds that emanate from the ground-based waste for extended periods of time. In addition, the mines could make a profit on the sale of dust, which currently has no value.

Dust mixed with algae is formed into briquettes and then dried. Briquettes are then heated in an anaerobic atmosphere to about 450 degrees Celsius and burn without smoke leaving solid material and high quality crude oil. The oil can then be refined and converted into fuel, while the briquette could be used to produce heat and electricity.