A Gallon of Algae

The green protozoa belong to the oldest living organisms on earth. They grow rapidly and practice photosynthesis. These facts uses Glen Kertz from Texas to produce alternative biofuel. Like other plants, algae transform carbon dioxide into oxygen. Thereby pure plant oil is a side product which is stored in the plant tissue. It makes up 50% of their dry weight and is the raw material for biofuel.

Kertz found a new and more efficient way to extract and process the pure plant oil. After producing the oil in his bathtub he launched the company Valcent Products that was immediately supported by the us investment company Global Green Solutions with 2,5 million US Dollar and is still a continuously growing Green energy company.

The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced $9 million in funding for research into the use of algae that occur naturally in seawater to produce a sustainable twofer.
The funds will go to a Hawaii-based group called Cellana, LLC Consortium focusing on finding new strains of algae for more efficient production of biofuels.
Interesting is the fact that the consortium leader, Cellana, is a joint venture of renewable energy startup HR Bio Petroleum and oil industry giant Shell. The fact that the Shell is investing in alternative fuels is a bit suspicious but you never know.


The research also aims at algae as a feed source for cattle which has a desirable side effect: An algae diet reduces the methane emissions from cows which form a magnificent source of greenhouse gases.
Under perfect circumstances algae produce 30 times more oil than corn, soybean, sunflower or other Biofuel sources. Additional they reduce the CO2 emission as they are already responsible for every second oxygen molecule on our planet.
Furthermore algae grow in seawater which is a big advantage considering the future worlds struggle for drinking water. The cultivation does not need any pesticides or fertilizers. The use of big agricultural machinery would also be eradicated. All in all a positive development we should strive for. Although right now the costs for mass production still exceed the earnings, with raising oil prices and rising pollution the research on alternative fuels becomes inevitable.

References:

http://algaefuel.org/

http://www.algen.biz/Biosprit/Biodiesel.php

http://cleantechnica.com/2010/07/20/holy-sustainble-cow-ordinary-algae-can-double-as-biofuel-and-cattle-feed-too/#more-13116

http://www.br-online.de/wissen/umwelt/energie-alternativen-DID1188467066442/algen-biotreibstoff-biosprit-ID1209387131457.xml

http://www.focus.de/wissen/wissenschaft/klima/mobilitaet/biodiesel_aid_137668.html

http://www.valcent.net/s/Home.asp

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2 thoughts on “A Gallon of Algae”

  1. Algae is renewable, does not affect the food channel and consumes CO2. To learn about the fast-track commercialization of the algae industry you may want to check out the National Algae Association. The NAA Engineering Consortium just finished the designs for a 100 acre commercial-scale algae projection plant.

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