Investing in Algae Biofuel DevelopmentDec 1st, 2010 | By Michael Benenati | Category: Green Living
Government and Corporations Investing in Algae Biofuel Development
Organizations are investing in algae biofuel programs including NASA, which is experimenting with jet fuel from algae, and Solazyme which has raised $52 million for biofuel from algae development, according to the Biofuel from Algae Market Potential report.
Algae is becoming one of the most promising sources of biodiesel as it is biodegradable and can be produced using ocean and waste water without depleting fresh water resources. Driven by the rising cost of petroleum-based energy, dependence on imported oil and rising global climate change, Congress passed the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in 2005 and reinforced it in 2007 with the Energy Security and Independence Act. The law requires the increase of biofuel production from 9 billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion gallons in 2022.
While its potential is vast, producing biofuel from algae cost-effectively on a large scale is tremendously expensive. There are other technological challenges, including understanding how to identify oil-rich algae and develop processes for extracting algae oil economically.
Al Darzins, a contributor to the DOE research effort National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap and group manager with the National Bioenergy Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, stressed that algae is far less developed, technologically, than biodiesel fuel or corn ethanol. “We need to understand the biology much better before we have, in the future, systems that work consistently,” Darzins said. “Effort suggests that many years of both basic and applied science and engineering will likely be needed to achieve affordable, scalable, and sustainable algal-based fuels,” DOE wrote
The Biofuel from Algae Market Potential report details the various aspects of producing, using and sustaining biofuel from algae. It offers insight into the market’s economical and technological challenges, the newest research findings and an overview of the major players in the sector.
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