Algae As a Renewable Resource
by Debashree Sen
According to a CNN report, algae are among the fastest growing plants in the world, and about 50 percent of their weight is oil. This lipid oil can be utilized to make biofuel to fuel automobiles around the world.
Algae are simple microscopic organisms that live in water and grow without soil and land. Algae can thrive everywhere, be it salt water, freshwater or even contaminated water, at sea or in ponds, and on land not suitable for cultivation.
Alga is a renewable resource as it's possible to harvest and generate fuel from it. As of 2010, the NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratories) is partnering with Chevron to develop algae strains that can be used to generate transportation fuels.
Production of biofuel from algae does not interfere with the food supply as it is a nonfood feedstock source. One big advantage of algae is that it is carbon neutral: it absorbs carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.
Production of biofuel from algae is in its nascent stages in 2010. It is yet to be determined if it's possible to grow algae on a mass scale to substitute fossil fuel usage in the world.
Potential for the Future
Algae have great potential to produce biofuel. They may turn out to be a viable alternative fuel in the future.