It’s a simple concept born in 1897: use oils to power an engine, and give power, literally to the farmer. Quickly, petroleum companies figured out …
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It’s a simple concept born in 1897: use oils to power an engine,
and give power, literally to the farmer.
Quickly, petroleum companies figured out how to make a petrofuel
that would run in diesel engines.
Fast forward 111 years and a blend of biodiesel has begun to
More will fly if Highlands Ranch resident and engineer George
Bye is successful.
Bye founded Bye Energy to create biodiesel fuel for business
jets. He wants King Airs, Lears and Gulfstreams running on fuel
that will not put more carbon into the atmosphere.
Some commercial airlines, notably Virgin-Atlantic, have tried
low-percentage, up to about half, biodiesel with success.
GreenFlight, a company in Orlando, Fla., flew a craft 2,486
miles from Nevada to Florida, in November 2008.
Lockheed Martin was part of the support for the plane, which
flew 1,776 miles of the trip on 100 percent bio-diesel.
Biodiesel is a fuel created by esterifying plant oils with
alcohol and lye. In a process similar to soap making-fats and lye
make real soap and glycerin will float to the top-esterification
with plant oils creates a substance the burns under pressure in a
Bye is among a pioneering bunch of entrepreneurs looking to find
an oil that will not compete with food sources such as soy
Enter algae, that persistent single-celled organism that will
grow in the most miserable conditions, as long as they are wet.
“Crude oil is just plants from millions of years ago put under
pressure and heat over millions of years,” Bye said. “We are just
speeding up the process.”
By taking algae and treating it, the algae releases oils and
also leaves a plant residue that could be used for livestock
This biodiesel could create food, according to Dr. Bryan Wilson
of Solix, an algae company partnered with Colorado State
In fact, the food and other uses for the algae aside from oil
production are what could make the enterprise profitable.
It could also flatten the cost swing for pilots. Priced March
19, Jet fuel A was $3.51 at Centennial Airport and $5.29 per gallon
at Denver International Airport. That’s the same company, Signature
At Front Range Airport near Watkins, and 12 miles from DIA, Jet
Fuel A was $3.21 per gallon.
Bye partnered with American BioResources to work on an algae
production test. He believes that biodiesel from algae could
capture a small part of the market, business jets, but ultimately
could fuel commercial airliners.
Bye presented his business model at the Renewable Energy
Taskforce, a group under the South Metro Chamber of Commerce, March
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