from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Growing fuel from algae is a goal that plenty of scientists have been working on for years. Creating an economically viable process for doing this would be a real game-changer, but so far, there are still some major challenges (and the price of oil is looking remarkably low nowadays, too). Still, progress for growing biofuels from algae is inching along, and here are just a few examples.
- One of the problems for using algae to produce biofuels is that these organisms normally produce lipid oils when they are starved for nutrients — but they don’t grow well under those conditions. However, engineering some diatoms to produce lipids without hindering their growth has been achieved. [url]
- An algae pilot plant in Alabama is making diesel and jet fuel — and treating waste water at the same time. Algae Systems puts waste water, algae and CO2 into large plastic bags and lets the algae grow for a few days offshore in the sun. This process currently produces 3,000 gallons of fuel per acre per year and treats 40,000 gallons of water per acre per year, so it still needs to scale up before everyone is driving/flying around using this biofuel. [url]
- An algae-powered building in Hamburg relies on heat from growing algae to make the building (somewhat) self sufficient. This BIQ building sucks carbon dioxide out of the air, creating biomass, and uses traditional solar panels to augment its power needs. The upfront building costs are significant, but if it can continue to operate with minimal ongoing energy costs, the investment will pan out in the future. [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.