The Benefits of Algae Biofuels

The Benefits of Algae Biofuels

Scribol Staff

Who would ever have thought that a group of complex celled photosynthetic organisms could be of utmost importance to mankind? Yes, here we are talking about ‘algae’, numerous species of which are found across the planet in vibrant colors such as red, brown and green.

algae growthPhoto: Algae with Solar reflection from Paul_Gallian

As a matter of fact, groups of algae evolved independently on earth and now, as a result of several experiments and research initiatives, we are aware that algae oil can be helpful in creating biofuels through the process of photosynthesis. Isn’t that amazing? Such an unlikely source is, in fact, a reservoir of sustainable energy. The growth of algae is dependent on sunlight, carbon dioxide and water and many innovators have successfully ascertained that biodiesel can be derived from the oil produced by algae, as well as ethanol which can be derived from fermented algae carbohydrate. Though it appears to be a simple process, growing algae in order to derive biofuels from it is quite a complicated and expensive business.

algaePhoto: Algae from captain_wick

One of the companies to take on the challenge of tapping this reservoir of energy is Solix Biofuels, who use photobioreactors to contain algae and subsequently derive biofuels from it. The fact is that the oil component within an alga is around 50%, which is very high considering that, in appropriate conditions, this energy source has the ability to grow tremendously fast.

algaPhoto: Simon Andrews

Nobody ever realized the potential benefits of algae oil until the efforts of several researchers and innovators came into the picture. Soon after the importance of algae oil was known, several other companies began researching into how to cultivate this unique energy source, in order to yield biofuels such as biodiesel and ethanol. It’s rather odd that algae, which we generally ignore while we take a walk on the beach, is actually full of energy and could provide mankind with an important source of biofuel. So now, every time you see algae, just imagine how useful it could be.

algae growing on the shorePhoto: Tapete de algas na praia de S…. from Hélder Cotrim