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DOE Sees Long Road Ahead for Algae Fuels

June 30th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Algae-Fuel-Research

DOE’s “National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap” was released in final form yesterday after a year of public comment and revisions on a draft.

The report summarize the state of technology today and point to directions for future work, dives into great detail on the biology of various kinds of algae, means of cultivating and harvesting them, and how they can be processed into fuel.

The paper offers little guidance on what strategies hold the most promise to replace petroleum-derived fuels in the long term. But it paints a picture of the extensive research that will be needed to do so. “The Roadmap Workshop effort suggests that many years of both basic and applied science and engineering will likely be needed to achieve affordable, scalable, and sustainable algal-based fuels,” DOE wrote.

Al Darzins, a contributor to the report and group manager with the National Bioenergy Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, stressed in an interview that algae is far less developed, technologically, than biodiesel fuel or corn ethanol.

“We need to understand the biology much better before we have, in the future, systems that work consistently,” Darzins said.

Link to the document: Algae Biofuel Technology Roadmap

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