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Algae Biofuel in 2009 Science Fair Project

April 2nd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in Algae-Fuel-Research

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The Memorial High School sophomore’s 2009 science fair project delved into the science of creating biofuel from algae.

Becky Takacs, who was tied for the first in the high school microbiology division of the 2009 VISD (Victoria Independent School District)Science and Engineering Fair, said, ” It could have helped the environment if it proved right “. The idea for the project, that tried to use algae to produce a biofuel, came to her last summer when rising gas prices caused her to wonder what it would be like if an alternative fuel made from plants could replace some of the dependence on petroleum-based fuels.

The US department of energy began studying how to produce biodiesel from algae in 1982 but stopped it due to budget cutbacks in 1995. But private companies have continued experimenting.

The environmentally friendly Valcent Industries, Inc., reported being able to produce about 33,000 gallons of algae oil per acre per year. The oil extracted from algae is used to produce biofuels.

To replace all petroleum fuel in the U.S., the Energy Department estimated it would take 15,000 square miles of algae pools, which is a few thousand square miles larger than Maryland.

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