Soladiesel RD (renewable diesel) is a new type of biofuel by Solazyme, which as its name suggests, is a replacement for petroleum based diesel fuel. To demonstrate its capabilities, Solazyme hosted a ride-and-drive event at the Los Angeles Auto Show with a fleet VW Passat TDI powered by this fuel.
This type of diesel has the same characteristics as the regular diesel, but it’s synthetic; 100% algal derived. It’s made by people in a factory rather than by the earth over a period of many million years. So basically, it’ll never run out.
What sets the Soladiesel apart from other biofuels is that it doesn’t need any modifications to the engine. The Passat TDI models at the event were completely stock, apart form a device fitted to them to record performance.
That is actually the crucial bit. As it turned out, the Soladiesel-powered Passat TDI has exactly the same performance as the ones powered by regular diesel, while producing less emissions and CO2. Soladiesel RD reduces lifecycle GHG emissions up to 77% when used for road transportation. It complies with the latest standards of American Society for Testing and Materials and European Union.
Solazyme is definitely onto something here. If anything, they give us another lifeline to keep our beloved internal combustion engines in our losing battle with electric cars and hybrids!