This is a theme that would have occured to most of us – why not grow algae under artificial lighting?
Well, this might not make things any simpler, or less costly…
Here’s an interesting reply from a member (Donald H Locker) at the popular oil_from_algae yahoogroup:
More significant, I think, is the fact that the use of artificial light
will require more (much more) CO2 production than is removed by the
algae. No way to avoid it.
The energy to produce electricity comes from burning the carbon to CO2.
Less electricity is produced than fuel combusted; only about 40% of
the fuel comes out as electricity. Less light is produced than
electricity consumed. I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but 20% (for
fluorescent lamps) is what sticks in my mind. And less of the light is
used by the algae to remove CO2 from the stack gases. I’m hearing 3% to
10%. So for each ton of carbon fuel burned, we get 0.4 carbon-ton
equivalent of electricity, 0.08 carbon-ton equivalent of light and
0.0024 to 0.008 carbon-ton equivalent of algae growth.
Meaning it takes 1.008 tons of carbon fuel to remove 0.008 carbon-tons
equivalent of CO2. Major losses here. Artificial lighting, if the
light comes from carbon-based fuels is a non-starter.
The ONLY use of artificial light might be to keep the algae culture
alive. And I don’t think that is necessary for any of the species I
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