The Green Living Guy

A study conducted by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found that replacing fossil fuels with growing algae in choice United States regions. It can allow for the production of 21 billion gallons of algae oil. That was only in 2011. Let’s see where things have gone since then though!

The study is an in-depth assessment of the United States’ algal biofuel potential. All with respect to water and land availability.

Algae has really been a hot topic of biofuel discussion recently. Yet before no one has taken such a detailed look at how much America could make. As well as how much water and land it would require until now. That came from Mark Wigmosta, the study’s lead author.

Findings show that where one cultivates algae is a huge factor. Only if the aim is to reduce water needed for algal biofuel.

Researchers suggested growing algae in sunny regions and those that have humid climates, such as the Gulf Coast, the Southeastern Seaboard and the Great Lakes.

Doing so gives the country potential to produce 17 percent of the nation’s imported oil used for transportation.

Bioenergy and microalgae

Then the NIH did a report and came up with this for algae research. The following:

Erie, Lake: algal bloom Harmful algal blooms on the Lake Erie shore of Pelee Island, southern Ontario, Canada.
Erie, Lake: algal bloom Harmful algal blooms on the Lake Erie shore of Pelee Island, southern Ontario, Canada. Source:

The rapid growing population of the world continuously increases the global demand for fuel energy. The intensive use of Petro fuel worldwide leads to its depletion and will bring them close to the point of exhaustion due to unsustainable and nonrenewable nature. Thus, biofuels are now a growing opportunity throughout the world as alternative to fossil fuels. Some developed countries are already producing biofuels at the commercial level.

Biofuels such as biodiesel and bioethanol are proving to be excellent alternative fuels and can be produced from several resources of biomass, such as food crops, crop wastes or fruits, woody parts of plants, garbage, and algae [8, 9]. The advantageous features of biofuels produced from biomass are renewability and a significantly smaller contribution to environmental pollution and global warming. The emission of greenhouse gases mainly CO2 from burning of fossil fuels are the main cause of global warming.

Fossil fuels are responsible for 29 gigatons/year release of CO2 with a total of 35.3 billion tons CO2 till now [10]. More importantly, biofuels including algal fuels have oxygen levels of 10–45% and very low levels of sulphur emissions. All the while petroleum-based fuels have no oxygen levels with high sulphur emission. Biofuels are non-polluting, locally available, accessible, sustainable and reliable fuel obtained from renewable sources. Microalgae algae-based fuels are ecofriendly, nontoxic and with strong potential of fixing global CO2. It has been reported that 1 kg of algal biomass is can fix 1.83 kg of CO2 furthermore some species use SOx and NOx as nutrient flow along with CO2 [11].

Microalgae are rapidly growing photosynthetic organisms having potential of transforming 9–10% of solar energy (average sunlight irradiance) into biomass with a theoretical yield of about 77 g/biomass/m2/day which is about 280 ton/ha/year [13, 14]. At lager scale cultivation this yield is lower both in outdoor and indoor culture system. In Photobioreactors the actual yield is lower due to loss of absorbed active radiation [1517], Proper shaking and mixing of the culture in the bioreactor is necessary for uniform distribution of light energy to avail the same strength to all the cells to convert maximum light energy to biomass.

Source: NIH

Algae oil could replace as much as 48 percent of current transportation oil imports. However, higher production levels would also require significantly more water and land.

Then in 2009 GreenTech Media Research Reports About a company called BARD Algae. They say it can squeeze thousands of times more oil out of an acre of algae than others. Competitors and scientists are skeptical.

ANALYSIS, NUMBERS AND COMMENTARY — The oil crisis is over folks, if BARD algae is right. You may return to your Hummer.

Biofuel Advance Research & Development (BARD) is claiming in Biofuels Digest that it can produce “8,571,428 gallon of algae oil per acre.” This is from Biofuels Digest‘s “50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy.”

BARD is in the process of constructing a commercial-scale algae system pilot plant in Pennsylvania that will produce algae biomass to be used to produce biodiesel, and other commercial products, reads the company’s website. The pilot facility will begin by producing “43,070 gallons of algae oil/biodiesel per annum using only 6 modules of photo-bioreactors covering approximately 100 square feet.” The oil is extracted via ultra sound and the algae are dewatered via centrifuge, said the company on its website. BARD doesn’t rely on sunlight, but advanced lighting instead.

Then even Science Daily Reports:

Algae are tiny biological factories that use photosynthesis to transform carbon dioxide and sunlight into energy. It’s so efficiently done that they can double their weight several times a day.

As part of the photosynthesis process algae produce oil. Most importantly it can generate 15 times more oil per acre than other plants used for biofuels. Even such as corn and switchgrass. Algae can grow in salt water, freshwater or even contaminated water. It can grow at sea or in ponds, and on land not suitable for food production.

On top of those advantages, algae — at least in theory. For it should grow even better when fed extra carbon dioxide (the main greenhouse gas). Also and organic material like sewage. If so, algae could produce biofuel. All the while cleaning up other problems. In conclusion, let’s do this AMERICA!

Original find was on EcoSeed!

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