Although much information available on the web today says that growing algae is an easy task. These sites confounding many when they affirm that “Pond-Scum” is the new solution to all our energy problems. What they say is that to raise algae is just throwing a bunch of the green stuff on the pond, harvest and get thousand gallons of oil every day. These and many other similar misleading approaches do not help in any way advance the algae for green/bio/fuels solution.
Growing algae at commercial and profitable level is a serious and demanding task. It will require scientific-technical knowledge and practical approaches like any other economic activity. I am not saying that you need to be a rocket scientist to produce algae for green/bio-fuels. However, there is no easy and instantaneous ways to make algae to work for you. The learning curve is slow and will require ones knows what is doing and sound sciences to support a continuous sustainable business.
Saying that let’s show you the huge potential that algae represent for greenfuels/biofuels industry:
Potential of Algae as a Source of Biofuel Feedstock
• Algae grow year round (depending on temperature tolerance) and have relatively short generation times. Algae doubling time can vary from species to species, doubling from 0.3 times per day to 3 times per day, depending on temperature, hours of sun light, nutrients, water quality and salinity.
• Algae require raw materials that are abundant and inexpensive: sunlight, water, carbon dioxide and nutrients (P and N)
• Algae can be used as feedstock for both ethanol (sugar/starch) and biodiesel (lipids)
• Algae also produce a vast array of natural products: pigments, proteins, enzymes, amino acids, and vitamins
• Some algae have lipid content of up to 70% and up to 86% of starch
• Algae can grow (or be adapted) in adverse conditions like deserts and saline and/or brackish water.
• We have successfully raised algae using secondary effluents of sewage treatment plants. Algae responded extremelly well in these water conditions.
• The use of flue gas as a CO2 source can generate carbon credits.