Through a research partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the corporate giant that once urged motorists to "Put a tiger in your tank," may one day suggest they fuel up with some algae.
U of Cambridge via Science Daily: A new design of algae-powered fuel cells that is five times more efficient than existing plant and algal models, as well as being potentially more cost-effective to produce and practical to use, has been developed.
Christian Ridley for Newsweek: Algal biofuels are in trouble. This alternative fuel source could help reduce overall carbon emissions without taking land from food production, like many crop-based biofuels do. But several major companies including Shell and ExxonMobil are seemingly abandoning their investments in this environmentally friendly fuel. So why has this promising technology failed to deliver, and what could be done to save it?
Algae are photosynthetic organisms related to plants that grow in water and produce energy fromcarbon dioxide and sunlight. Single-celled microalgae can be used to produce large amounts of fat, which can be converted into biodiesel, the most common form of biofuel. There are many possible ingredients for making biofuels, from corn to used cooking oil. But algae are particularly interesting because they can be grown rapidly and produce large amounts of fuel relative to the resources used to grow them (high productivity). Cont'd...
"We see that algae manufacturers are increasingly replacing plastic for glass components in their photobioreactors to exploit their longer lifetimes and reduce their cost for large scale algae production", says Dr Niko Schultz, R&D project manager for SCHOTT.
Tina Casey for CleanTechnica: The algae biofuel market is still in play even though the global petroleum market shows no real signs of lifting itself out of the doldrums, as two examples from different ends of the Earth illustrate. Over in Australia, researchers have come up with a new, low cost way to raise algae for biofuel, and here in the US the Department of Energy is moving forward with a new grant program to fund commercially viable algae production. Cont'd...
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