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Emissions-to-biofuels through Algae
A simple introduction to algae-based biofuels – from Dr SS Verma, Dept of Physics, SLIET, Longowal, India @ Central Chronicle
1. Though fossil fuel reserves are depleting and combustion is associated with the generation of many environmentally unfriendly end products (viz, CO2, NOx, SOx, soot and fly ash) but still the combustion of fossil fuels for the time being seems to be an inevitable source of energy.
2. Power plants and transport are responsible for emitting huge quantities of greenhouse gas emissions as both still rely heavily on fossil fuels…The easiest way to eliminate gases particularly given off by coal-burning power plants is through photosynthesis. But industrial quantities of CO2 need industrial amounts of photosynthesis. Researchers are now hoping to marry the two together – at the heart of the technology are algae, which can suck gaseous emissions from a power plant’s exhaust and convert it into biofuel.
3. Algae are the fastest growing plants on earth…Because photosynthesis efficiency is driven by complex cellular mechanisms that depend on having just the right exposure to light past algal systems grew to be complex and ultimately too expensive for most industrial sites to contemplate. They either took the form of huge, shallow ponds with extensive pumping and distribution mechanisms, or precisely engineered closed bioreactors with high manufacturing and maintenance costs.
4. The algae use the available carbon dioxide and water to grow new algae, giving off pure oxygen and water vapour in the process. The process, called photomodulation, rotates the algae in and out of the sunlight, rather than bringing the sunlight to the algae….The algae use the CO2, along with sunlight and water, to produce sugars by photosynthesis, which are then metabolised into fatty oils and protein.
5. Algae reduce NOx day and night, regardless of weather or lighting conditions. The process is essentially an effect of the surface configuration of the algae cell walls. Even dead algae can provide significant NOx reduction, up to 70 percent.
6. For centuries Algae has been used as manure. Algae can be used to make biodiesel and by some estimates can produce vastly superior amounts of oil, compared to terrestrial crops grown for the same purpose…Algae can also be used to produce hydrogen. Algae are used in wastewater treatment facilities, reducing the need for more dangerous chemicals…Algae can be used to capture fertilizers in runoff from farms. If this algae is then harvested, it itself can be used as fertilizer.
Dr SS Verma, Dept of Physics, SLIET, Longowal
Full article here
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 other related plants – you think “Hey! Why not oil again from algae!”
To facilitate exploration of oil production from algae as well as exploration of other alternative energy avenues, Oilgae provides web links, directory, and related resources for algae-based biofuels / biodiesel along with inputs on new inventions, discoveries & breakthroughs in other alternative energy domains such as solar, wind, nuclear, hydro, geothermal, hydrogen & fuel cells, gravitational, geothemal, human-powered, ocean & wave / tidal energy. We hope Oilgae proves to be useful as a research information & inputs resources, and as a source of news & info for business & trade of algal oil, algal fuels & new alternative energy products – specially with regard to new feedstock / feedstocks, production processes and uses, and market info such as price / prices, data & statistics
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