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Fuels obtained after biological carbon fixation are referred to as biofuels. It comes from sugar, corn, starch etc, and is a major cause of deforestation and a hike in food prices. Though these crops has been giving great help to generate fuels, but the ill effects it causes have been surpassing the benefits and now the scientists and researchers are discovering crops that might be more useful and require use of less resources.
A biofuel which was discovered in the early seventies but was not much popularized is algae. Algae is said to be in the group of second generation biofuels along with tallow and salicornia. Currently, algae as a probable fuel are gaining tremendous attention due to the hope that they will be ‘uber green fuel’ of the future.
EASY GROWING PROCESS—
The growing process of algae is simple and easy. Unlike other crops it doesn’t require huge acres of land to grow nor does it need abundance of water supply. An algae plant can be grown in an unprofitable, barren and waste land. It also saves the fresh water due to its capability of growing even in waste water, contaminated water or water of sea or pond. It’s argued that algae found in pond scum are best algae which can be used to extract commercial usage fuel. Its ability to adapt itself to whatever condition it’s grown in and still manage to survive and be used as biofuel, is its forte.
NOT CONNECTED TO HUMAN FOOD CHAIN –
Another reason which favors the use of algae as a fuel is, that it is not connected to the human food chain and therefore will not be a cause of taking food resources away from humans.
Though production of oil from algae might sound weird and astonishing but it’s a simple process by which lipid produced by algae is first extracted and then converted and refined into fuel.
Algae can produce ten times more fuel per acre as corn or soy and it can be cultivated anywhere possible including the desert.
Presence of different algae indicates different level of oil content in then and it’s also said that these plants can be genetically modified to produce more oil.
ECO- FRIENDLY –
Algae can also be considered as a consumer of unwanted things. Carbon dioxide one of the most dreadful greenhouse gases is essential for algae’s growth. Algae thrives in the presence of CO2 and the algae companies plan to join with the cement industries and power plants to capture CO2 which would otherwise be released in the open, thereby making the use of algae beneficial to the environment too.
LOOKING FORWARD TO THE FUEL OF THE FUTURE—
Many big industries today are making giant investments on the companies who are planning to develop renewable fuels from algae, thereby bringing the spotlight upon these autotrophic organisms.
Though it’s not yet time to use fuel derived from algae on a commercial scale due to few technical obstacles. But many companies are now claiming to be just a few steps away from achieving the ultimate goal of making algae the fuel of future on the commercial level as well.
Though algae is new in the field of alternative energy but the growth of investors to conduct proper research on producing oil out of algae shows the prospects of this futuristic fuel. The main aspect which caters in making this concept a reality is the great productivity at low cost. Though there are still few years left before this oil can be fully exploited, but it’s still hoped by all the leading companies to see automobiles run on this uber green fuel of the future. It’s only a matter of time then algae will be fit to compete and stand stronger against the oils generated from fossil fuels.
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