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The Lowdown on Algae as a BioFuel

Earth2Tech recently wrote a piece on the benefits and problems of Algae as a potential bio-fuel.  The article was fascinating in that it went over most of the major issues relating to the new technology.

Algae Bio-Fuel

As a primer, let me explain how algae works as a bio-fuel. Algae grows to the absorption of carbon dioxide (CO2).  In effect, it traps the carbon in the atmosphere or water and uses it as a food source.  You can imagine that if algae was used properly it could potentially make net zero factories from trapping all the carbon.  Now, this sounds great but for algae to be a fuel it must be combusted in an engine.  This combustion phase release the carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  Therefore, it doesn't actually take the carbon out of the atmosphere but creates a holding area for the carbon.

The article explains the current situation of algae as a fuel and makes a few points I would like to point out.

1. Lack of cost effective structure to grow, collect algae and extract the carbon included.

2. Lack of hard data about algae as a fuel, specifically the amount of energy created from algae compared to the amount needed to grow the algae.

3. The low emission of carbon from algae as a bio-fuel, approximately one third of corn based ethanol.

A great few points about this emerging sector that this informative article provides.