Algae: the Original Fuel

Apparently algae can be much more than a stubborn aquatic weed, it can be fuel! The crude oil that lies miles below the Earth’s surface was actually formed from layers of prehistoric algae blooms that has settled on sea beds around the world.

Massive algae blooms from over a million years formed in warm areas of shallow lakes and oceans, feeding from atmospheric carbon dioxide and sunlight. The natural lifecycle of the algae involves the blooming and then eventual death of the algae. Once the algae died it settled on the bottom of the seafloor combining with sediment.

Over time the algal biomasses were pushed deeper into the earth where they decomposed into kerogen. Geological heat and pressure eventually transformed the kerogen into liquid oil. This oil seeped upwards due to its low density to surrounding reservoirs. It is these reservoirs that oil companies now collect their oil from.

The coolest thing about this algae based oil is that scientist have figured out how to replicate the process in a matter of days. They are now able to convert algae into biodiesel, gasoline and even jet fuel. Better yet, these algae reservoirs are above ground and do not need to be drilled into, they also never run dry! 

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