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Microalgae or Macroalgae?

August 11th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted in Algae-Ethanol, Seaweed

Adapted from the Algae Fuels Community @ CleanTick – http://www.cleantick.com/users/algaesmiles/pages/potential-of-macroalgae-as-a-biofuel-feedstock

Macroalgae or seaweeds represent a diverse group of eukaryotic, photosynthetic marine organisms. Unlike microalgae, which are unicellular, the macroalgal species are multicellular and possess plant-like characteristics.

These photosynthetic organisms abundant in oceans and coastal waters. They are a potent biofuel feedstock, they have high amounts of carbohydrates (that can be converted into liquid and gas fuels) and low amounts of lipids.

At the present moment, commercial market exists for macroalgae as a food or as feedstock for polysaccharide and hydrocolloid extraction, which is relatively small when compared with the scale of cultivation needed for macroalgae to be considered a significant contributor to the biomass .

The resource potential for using macroalgae for biofuels is quite high. Research studies reveal that the ability of the world’s oceans to produce marine biomass as a biofuel feedstock supply is largely untapped .

For instance, Seaweed Energy Solutions AS (SES), a Norwegian based company, built on the development of large-scale offshore cultivation of seaweed and conversion of the same into Biogas and Bioethanol. Seaweed Energy Solutions has patented the first ever modern structure, ‘the Seaweed Carrier’, a breakthrough compared to previous cultivation methods. The Seaweed Carrier, a sheet-like structure basically copies a very large seaweed plant, moving freely back and forth through the sea from a single mooring on the ocean floor.

Similar efforts are being pursued by various research institutes and a few companies, this page at the Algae Fuels community @ CleanTick provides the details of the efforts that are being carried out to use macroalgae for fuel.

For those of the scientific bent http://www.cleantick.com/users/algaesmiles/pages/potential-of-macroalgae-as-a-biofuel-feedstock

See also:

Small algae with great potential

 

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