Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Green Energy: Algae Fuel

The farmers around the world have missed their last chance to become the next Bill Gates as algae might replace ethnol as the Gen X fuel. But the best part is no country now has to invade counties to fulfill its fuel addiction.
Imagine a fuel which grows anywhere by sunlight and water which could produce enough oil to free the world from fuel crises. Though algae sound a strange contender for the veil of Worlds Next Great Fuel’ it has individuality in its favor. Algae, made up of simple aquatic organisms that capture light energy through photosynthesis, produces vegetable oil. Vegetable oil, in turn, can be transformed into biodiesel, which can be used to power just about any diesel engine.
Algae have some important advantages over other oil-producing crops, like canola and soybeans. It can be grown in almost any enclosed space, it multiplies like gangbusters, and it requires very few inputs to flourish-mainly just sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. Its high surface-area-to-volume ratio makes it able to absorb nutrients very quickly. Absolutely, its small size makes it persuasive. Infact, it doesn’t need fertile soil to flourish; it grows in ponds, bags and tanks which could be set up anywhere.
Solix Biofuels claims that these competencies will allow them to create algae-based biodiesel that costs about the same as gasoline, or even less. It’s a long way to go for Solix for such a fuel. They’ll have to discover which species of algae will produce the most oil and what’s the best way to grow it? The research and debate about it is intense and could take couple of years to instigate.
Algae Biomass Summit was was held on October 23 and 24, in Seattle. It was hosted by the Algal Biomass Association to help developing and commercializing algae biofuels. The two-day event has provided a broad overview of the industry: among the speakers were scientists, policymakers and investors.Algae has a great deal of promise for biofuels because of its rapid growth rate. Experiments in producing oil from algae have had impressively high outputs. An acre of algae could produce thousands of gallons of oil in a year, with estimates ranging as high as 20,000 gallons for some varieties. The next best plant matter for biodiesel is Chinese tallow, capable of producing perhaps 700 gallons in a year.