New Delhi (PTI): A new process that converts algae and other biomass into liquid fuels with the help of a catalyst can brighten the prospect of substitute fuel production in the country.

“The technology is a process for converting algae and other biomass into liquid fuels similar to petroleum diesel which is better than the bio-diesels in quality and characteristics. The technology is a pyro-catalysis process”, said T Raghavendra Rao, director of Sustainable Technologies and Environmental Projects (STEPS).

“Originally the hydrocarbon oils have been formed over a few million years from algae under the layers of the earth. Now, we are attempting to replicate the natural process using a catalytic process in a much quicker way”, Mr. Rao told PTI.

The innovation was recently conferred the gold medal at the Innovators’ Award established by aerospace giant Lockheed Martin Corporation under its India innovation growth programme.

The new process, according to Mr. Rao, is not cumbersome as the conventional one besides it yields more fuel that before.

In this method the algae is vapourized in a particular temperature, which is then passed through a catalyst conversion chamber, putting them into a molecular structure that is similar to hydrocarbon fuels.