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Algae Are the Future of Biofuel PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Letters to the Editor
Wednesday, 27 December 2006 03:25

I spent yesterday researching biodiesel technology and companies to invest in, and then I picked up the Reader and saw your request for information on local stations that sell it.

These links are to maps and lists of stations that sell E85 and biodiesel across the country. Click here for E85 Stations. Click here for Biodiesel stations.

I just want to say that I think the corn-based biodiesel is just setting corn farmers up for a big bust. Corn will yield 18 gallons of biodiesel per acre, while algae will produce 10,000. (Yields of common crops: click here.) I'm putting my money on algae biodiesel.

Algae produce vegetable oil to help them float on the surface of water. There are breeding programs and even genetic engineering underway to develop strains of algae that are the most productive. They can be grown in the discharge from wastewater treatment plants and use for food the CO2 that industry would otherwise discharge into the atmosphere, converting the CO2 entirely to O2. They will most likely be grown in clear four-inch tubes that are 30 feet long and angled to get maximum sunlight. (Sunlight can only effectively penetrate the first few inches of algae water) CO2 then would be pumped into the bottom of the tubes, and by the time the bubbles reached the top, they would have been digested and changed to O2.

After the algae is pressed for its oil content, the remaining green stuff has one of the highest protein concentrations in foodstuff to be found. Health-food stores have been selling a high-protein food supplement for a long time called Spiralina. The byproduct would also make great fertilizer or animal feed, which is what the corn growers tout as the thing that makes corn biodiesel profitable.

The fact remains that biodiesel is the fuel of the future, but it is clear to me that we will be using oilgae and algoil in 20 years, and not cornoil.

These are some other sites that you may want to look at: (http://www.icis.com/Home/Default.aspx ), (http://www.infinitibiodiesel.com/about.htm ), (http://www.greenfuelonline.com ), (http://www.greenstarusa.com ), (http://www.mwk-biogas.com ), and (http://www.biodieselnow.com ).

These are some companies doing things in the biofuels industry: Algae BioFuels/PetroSun Drilling, Algoil, Oilgae, Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation (Marlborough, New Zeland), DeBeers Fuel, GreenFuel Technologies Corporation, and G.R.E.E.N. Ltd.

 

Chris Rice

Rock Island


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