If you passed by the Propel gas station — the Valero at 503 Whipple Ave.
in Redwood City — Tuesday and were wondering why a gaggle of news cameras were surrounding it, here's why.
The station became one of the first four in the world to start selling algae-based gasoline Tuesday, according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle — making its customers "the first private citizens in the world to use a domestically grown product that could revolutionize the fuel industry."
According to Matt Horton, CEO of Redwood City-based Propel Fuels — which Patch just reported earlier this week is one of the fastest-growing companies in the Bay Area — the fuel is 20 percent algae and 80 percent petroleum, and is available to any vehicle that runs on diesel.
Horton said the fuel will not only allow some vehicles to consume less gasoline, it is better for the environment as well, as "it spews much less smog and ozone-depleting greenhouse gases."
Horton said the product, made from algae grown by the South San Francisco company Solazyme, has been used in trials by the military and industrial companies.
The Redwood City station, along with three other stations in San Jose, Berkeley and Oakland, will offer the fuel, called Biodiesel B20, for a month, after which time a decision will be made on whether to offer it full-time.
The fuel will be sold for just under $4.25 a gallon in Redwood City, which is on par with the average price of diesel fuel across California.
Read more about how the algae-based fuel is made in the San Francisco Chronicle's article here.
PATCH WANTS TO KNOW - Would you try Biodiesel B20 on your diesel-running vehicle? What do you think of the fuel's chances in the Bay Area, or the world? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.