Chapter XIV - Algae Grown in Desert

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One of the important advantages that algae have over other crops is that farmland need not be compromised for algae growth and forests need be cleared for the same. This is because algae can grow in waste water systems, sewages and also in deserts.

Algae can be grown especially well in desert regions that have plenty of sunshine and access to water unusable for drinking, for instance saline water. The desert's abundant wastelands or marginally arable lands can be fields to grow algae. This means that unproductive lands can be put into production. Growing biofuel feedstock in the desert sounds like a perfect answer to the debate about food prices and agricultural land use.

Growing algae in the deserts however poses its unique set of challenges. One will need to select the right strain of algae, and growth methods need to ensure that evaporation does not affect the algae growth, to name some of the challenges.

This chapter will provide inputs on the various aspects of growing algae in the desert for fuel. It will also provide examples and case studies of companies pursuing the desert-based algal cultivation method.

List of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Algae Strains that Grow Well in Desert Conditions
  • Algae Cultivated in Deserts – Companies & Updates
  • Desert Based Algae Cultivation – Q&A
  • Desert Cultivation of Algae – Factoids
  • Research

List of Tables

  1. Characteristics of Photobioreactor Materials and the Energy Content of Tubular Photo Bioreactors

List of Figures

  1. The Closed Loop Bioreactor System

Key Takeaways from the chapter

  1. Algae can be grown especially well in desert regions that have plenty of sunshine and access to water unusable for drinking.
  2. Desert lands provide the opportunity of cultivating algae on large tracts of land without any negative effects on the ecosystem.
  3. Cultivating algae in deserts might necessitate the use of photobioreactors as there could be high rates of evaporation in open-ponds.
  4. NREL's ASP program research focused on the development of algae farms in desert regions, using shallow saltwater pools for growing the algae.
  5. Some prominent companies worldwide are already cultivating algae in desert for either fuel or non-fuel purposes

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No of Pages : 9

Last Updated : Dec 2011

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Related Chapters from the Section III – Processes & Challenges