The Oil from Algae OS is an attempt at an open source model for finding the best methods to produce Biodiesel from algae.
How does algOS work?
World over, a few passionate people are trying to figure
out ways to derive oil from various species of algae in order to make
biodiesel. While there are other crops as well whose oils can be used to
produce biodiesel ( see www.bdpedia.com
for more inputs), algae present a very interesting proposition because they
have few of the drawbacks other feedstock have. (a) Algae for instance have
oil yields that are over a hundred times higher than that for soy, implying
that for the same amount of oil, they require only a fraction of the area
required to grow soy! (b) Owing to their ability to grow practically
anywhere, algae as feedstock also do not contribute to large-scale
deforestation. (c) Since they are not part of the human food chain at
present, algae oil also present no conflicts with our existing food supplies.
For more info on why oil from algae could be the fuel of the future, see the
various sections @ Oilgae for more
inputs in this regard.
The principle behind “open source oil” is to aggregate
research inputs from a variety of experts all over the world in order to
arrive at a full-cycle design for biodiesel production from algae. All assets
that will be created will be governed by laws similar to those of GNU GPL, or possibly the same
rules. Simply put, a framework such as GNU GPL provides the freedom to a
multitude of researches to use and modify designs/ideas made by other
researchers. Such a framework facilitates research and collaboration.
Consider the field of energy, especially energy from oil.
From the time oil was discovered until today, a few companies in the world
have been able to control the production and distribution of this resource.
Why did this happen? For a range of reasons, some of which were perhaps not
in any individual’s control.
Now consider the emerging alternative sources of energy.
Some of these sources (especially biofuels) can put the control back in the
farmers’ and individuals’ hands simply because the feedstock is being
produced by them. However, production of oilseeds is only a part of the story
– there still remain oil extraction, refining, conversion to Biodiesel /
Ethanol and transportation. All these require optimal technology and
processes to be devised.
The Big Oil companies have started setting their eyes on biofuels as well and have begun work on all aspects of biofuels – from planning captive farms to building Biofuel refineries. But should they be allowed to control our key energy assets in future too?
We feel that rather than having proprietary companies
develop sub-optimal designs of their own and then have a monopoly on oil /
biofuel production, an open source design platform will ensure (a) that the
design is more robust because many more experts are involved in it, and (b)
its open nature will imply that many, many people small and large all over
the world can use this technology to provide benefits to one of the most
pressing problems we are facing today – energy.
algOS, which stands for algae Open Source
is all about that – an open source movement for oil production from algae.
While the open source energy / biofuel concept can be extended
to any biofuel, we are starting this movement with algae as the feedstock as we feel algae have one of the best chances of
being our biofuel energy crop of the future.
We feel that deriving oil & Biodiesel from algae is an
apt domain in which an open source collaborative research model could help,
for the following reasons:
- As algae grow in most countries of the world, professionals and enthusiasts from most parts of the world can participate.
- Research on oil & fuel from algae is at a nascent stage, which means it is fertile for collaborative, open-source research.
- Having an open-source, non-proprietary technology for
algal oil production could in future help farmers and individuals all
across the world to play a more active role in farming and production
for algal fuel – in other words, an open source oil production framework
can facilitate micro-energy production. This can have tremendous
implications for both the economics of the oil, as well as for poverty
alleviation and associated social benefits, especially in the developing
and under-developed countries.
If you are interested in knowing further about how you can
contribute as well towards algOS, you can send a note to Narsi Santhanam (
narsi at esource dot in). We will soon be coming up with an online submission
form, for the time being please bear with us and send your requests through
So far we have received a good number of enquiries about
algOS from enthusiasts around the world, and using their combined feedback
and suggestions, we plan to evolve algOS from a concept stage right now to
something more concrete in the next few months. Watch this page for regular
updates on the same.
We look forward to hearing from you too about your views
The algOS Team @ Oilgae
! Are you an inventor or equipment producer for fuel from algae, or part of a company that is involved in the algal fuel efforts? Please see this section in order that you can help us list your company or efforts @ OilgaeEnergy & Alternative Energy
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About Oilgae - Oilgae - Oil & Biodiesel from Algae has a focus on biodiesel production from algae while also discussing alternative energy in general. Algae present an exciting possibility as a feedstock for biodiesel, and when you realise that oil was originally formed from algae - among others - you think "Hey! Why not oil again from algae!"