Algae the best choice for biofuel?

Posted on Wednesday, May 16 2007 @ 08:56 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Several companies believe algae may be one of the best "green" alternatives for our current transportation fuel:
First off, algae grows rapidly and grows constantly, which means that algae ponds can produce more oil per hectare in a year than traditional plant crops, said GreenFuel CFO Guillermo Espiga.

A hectare pond filled with algae can produce 15,000 to 80,000 liters of vegetable oil a year. Only about 6,000 liters of palm oil can be squeezed out of a hectare a year. Corn is only good for 120 hectares of oil a year, Espiga said.

Algae can also be converted into a variety of materials, insulating producers from changes in commodity prices to some degree. It can be turned into alcohol for ethanol, biomass that can be burned in a furnace, or animal feed (which can also be sold under the Soylent Green brand name in grocery stores). A single hectare can generate 8,000 gallons of oil, 2,400 gallons of ethanol a year and 2.6 tons of glycerin, a material bought by the cosmetics industry, he said.

But there's more. GreenFuel plans to produce algae in ponds next to coal-fired power plants. The carbon dioxide from the plants is captured and provides the food for growing the algae. At a 100 megawatt coal-burning power plant, 100 acres of algae ponds, optimized with species that grow well in that particular environment, will consume 90 percent of the CO2 from the plant.
More details at CNET.


About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.



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