Saturday, 26 April 2014

How Algae is Used as Fuel

Alga (or its plural, algae) were first explored as an alternative fuel in 1978 under President Jimmy Carter. Gas prices had skyrocketed, lines at the pump were endless, and the government was looking to help ease the crisis. The Aquatic Species Program run by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, researched high oil-output algae for bio-fuel. After testing more than 3,000 types of algae, the program concluded that the high-yielding plant, if produced in large enough amounts, could replace fossil fuels for home heating and transportation purposes.
The race is on for a new form of fuel. With fuel prices soaring the sky, dependence on imported oil and depleting resources worldwide, finding alternatives to petroleum-based fuel and fuel-related products is urgent. Fortunately, scientists have been studying the production of alternative products to make a cleaner, greener fuel for years.

Algae is one such specie which grows naturally all over the world. Under optimal conditions, it can be grown in massive, almost limitless, amounts. Scientists have been studying this oil for decades to convert it into algae biodiesel a fuel that burns cleaner and more efficiently than petroleum.

Replacing fossil fuels with algae, a renewable resource, to make biodiesel is an exciting possibility. There are more than 100,000 different species of plantlike organisms which belong the algae family. They come in various forms and colors, from tiny protozoa floating in ponds to huge bunches of seaweed inhabiting the ocean. Leafy kelp, grassy moss and fungus growing on rocks are all forms of algae. You may even see algae in different colors such as red, green and brown. Algae are easy to grow and can be manipulated to produce huge amounts without disturbing any natural habitats or food sources. Algae are easy to please as all they need are water, sunlight and carbon dioxide.

Himansh Verma

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