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Algae. The Biofuel Wave of the Future.

Earth Protect


Algae. The Biofuel Wave of the Future.

Algae were first explored as a fuel alternative 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.
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The Aquatic Species Program, launched in 1978, was a research program funded by the United States Department of Energy (DoE) which was tasked with investigating the use of algae for the production of energy. The program initially focused efforts on the production of hydrogen, shifting primary research to studying oil production in 1982. From 1982 until its end in 1996, the majority of the program research was focused on the production of transportation fuels, notably biodiesel, from algae. In 1995, as part of overall efforts to lower budget demands, the DoE decided to end the program. 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.
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The OMEGA Project

Growing Algae from Wastewater Runoff in the Ocean (article)Algae
NASA scientist, JonathanTrent, Ph.D., the inventor, heart, and soul of the OMEGA system (Offshore Membrane Enclosures for Growing Algae) has been developing an idea for a way to grow algae using wastewater, but not on land! His OMEGA system is a floating algae growth environment composed of a system of connected pods that convert the nutrients in wastewater to algae in the ocean. Here are excerpts from an interview with Dr. Trent.

OMEGA Project (video)
Offshore Membrane Enclosure for Growing Algae. OMEGA is a system of systems – or an “ecology of technologies” – in which the concept of waste disappears: a waste product from one part of the system becomes a resource for another part. As far as possible the whole system, which includes the environment, is in balance.

More from Earth Protect

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Algae could become an important source of sustainable biofuel, as production doesn't compete with food crops for land. But we may need to change the way we grow algae from closed systems to open ponds if it is to be low-carbon and cost-effective.

The Pros and Cons of Algae Bio Fuel
Algae–based biofuel is a new energy source that has been getting a lot of attention lately. Certain types of algae contain natural oils that can be readily distilled into a vegetable oil or a number of petroleum-like products that could serve as drop-in replacements for gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.

Hawaiian Electric, Army move forward with biofuels plant
Hawaiian Electric Co. and the Army are moving ahead with the development of a 50-megawatt biofuels power plant at Schofield Barracks.

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