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Algae could Replace 17% of U.S. Oil Imports

April 14th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted in algae biodiesel USA, Algae-Fuel-Research

United States of America’s President Obama recently announced an ambitious yet achievable target of reducing oil imports by one third by 2025. Meeting this goal would obviously require consistent increase of locally sourced biofuels. Over the years, the term biofuel always meant fuel ethanol for the American continent. It is only recently that they realised that biodiesel too requires some serious attention for making the country energy independent. High oil prices (USA imports oil worth a billion $ everyday) and environmental and economic security concerns have triggered interest in using algae-derived oils as an alternative to fossil fuels

Though Algae has been at the centre stage of biofuel discussions, there has been lack of detailed look at how America could make algae biofuels. A recent research by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory provides the much needed groundwork and initial estimates for making algae biofuels.

The research work funded by Department of Energy (DoE) addresses the land and water requirements for algae cultivation. There is a need for about 350 gallons of water per gallon of oil which is almost a quarter of what the country currently uses for irrigated agriculture. However, carefully selecting locations for growing algae could drastically reduce water requirements for algal biofuel. They found that water use is much less if algae are grown in the U.S. regions such as the Gulf Coast, the Southeastern Seaboard and the Great Lakes.

Algae grown in a water-wise manner could help meet mandated renewable fuel targets by replacing 17 percent of the nation’s imported oil for transportation. The researchers found that 21 billion gallons of algal oil, equal to the 2022 advanced biofuels goal set out by the Energy Independence and Security Act, can be produced with American-grown algae.

Amidst many contributing factors, water is an important consideration when choosing a biofuel source and water is the main reason why some of the biofuel crops are not able to emerge as sustainable alternative. After addressing the location for efficient algae cultivation, the researchers are further exploring the possibilities of growing algae in non-freshwater sources like salt water and waste water and opportunities for using greenhouse ponds in colder climates.

More info about the research

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One Response to “Algae could Replace 17% of U.S. Oil Imports”

  1. magento themes Says:

    Its really a great news. Petroleum source is about to finish.I dont know exactly how much we can save for our next generation.The use of motor vehicles is increasing.So, either we have to stop the use of petroleum products or we need to look for alternative source.If we are getting it prom an algae we can definitely solve this problem.

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