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“Previously we only studied six different kinds of microalgae, but now we have 13 types in three different colors — brown, red and green,” Mujizat said. “We can cultivate microalgae in ponds or even in industrial waste, which would help reduce expenditure for waste processing.”
Microalgae’s fatty acids and carbohydrates can be processed into biodiesel and bioethanol, respectively.Protein can also be used as animal feed, Mujizat said, adding that her team has already tested microalgae’s survivability in industrial waste in Batam, Riau Islands Province.
However, the technology to cultivate microalgae is still in its early stages and very costly, prompting investors to back off, Mujizat said.
With no projects across the globe ready for commercialization, “even the IPB doesn’t support us financially, because there haven’t been significant results yet,” Mujizat said.“But Indonesia could be the Middle East for microalgae-based biofuel. We have faith that microalgae will be successful in reducing fossil fuel imports. There are around 2 million hectares of coastline that could be used for cultivating algae.”
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