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Published on October 16th, 2008 | by Ariel Schwartz


Man Creates Homemade Biodiesel from Algae

October 16th, 2008 by  


Plenty of companies are working on creating biodiesel from algae, but this is the first I’ve heard of an individual making homemade algae-based biodiesel . Australian Charlie Trafford has been making biodiesel from cooking oil for many years, but he recently decided to switch over to a more sustainable source— algae.

So Charlie, a friend, and a biochemist set out to grow algae comprised of 10 to 40 percent oil. Eventually, the crew actually succeeded in building a unit that can produce a few liters oil a day. In the process, they supposedly created a technique to grow and harvest enough algae to make it commercially viable for biodiesel.

Now the retirees are looking for financial assistance to develop their technology. Of course, they’ll have plenty of competition from existing companies. But whatever the outcome of their commercial aspirations, Trafford and co. deserve kudos for their do-it-yourself success. 

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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.

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