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Biofuels: The Next Generation – Algae

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The third generation of biofuels comes in the form of the water-based plants known as algae. The ability to transform algae into a biofuel is a burgeoning science, and could hold the future of the biofuel industry, although not without some hurdles to leap over first.

The algae oil specialists say that the hexane solvent method requires the use of chemicals, such as hexane, benzene and ether. The downsides to using these solvents include the hazard of an explosion, as well as the risk that benzene is classified as a carcinogen.Finally, the supercritical fluid extraction method can draw out up to nearly 100 percent of the oils. In this process, CO2 is pressurized and heated until it is both a gas and a liquid, at which point it is mixed with algae, removing the oil. The fact that this method requires additional complex machinery to create the pressure has detracted from its popularity.

The primary downside to using algal biofuels is that they are not economical to produce, at least not with current technology. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) says, “Based on conservative estimates, algal biofuels produced in large volumes with current technology would cost more than US$8 per gallon (in contrast to US$4 per gallon for soybean oil today).”

According to EERE, to lower the cost of production, research must focus on a number of sectors, including controlled mass cultivation, algae for wastewater treatment, and harvesting and oil extraction technologies. The group says, “Particular attention must be paid to the engineering of sustainable microalgal systems and to the regulatory and environmental landscape.”

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One Response to “Biofuels: The Next Generation – Algae”

  1. deepikabhatt22 Says:

    Excelllent technique to develop biofuels by water based plants…read the 3rd generation of biofuels…

    deepika bhatt
    Cash Online Get Easy cash at your door step

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