Could Algae be the Answer for Biofuels?
12 Mar 2008
A demonstration facility in Hawaii is to grow marine algae for conversion into biofuel.
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A demonstration facility in Hawaii is to grow marine algae for conversion into biofuel. Algae grow very rapidly, are rich in vegetable oil and can be cultivated in ponds of seawater, minimising the use of fertile land and fresh water. What is more, in the long term, algae cultivation has the potential to absorb waste carbon dioxide directly from industrial facilities such as power plants.
The company Cellana, a joint venture between Shell and HR Biopetroleum, believe the idea has got great possibili-ties because algae can double their mass several times a day and produce at least 15 times more oil per hectare than rape, palm, soya or jatropha. With mounting concern about the use of agricultural land to grow food to fuel cars, some believe that algae could be a better proposition.
Cellana, who have leased a site from Hawaii’s Natural Energy Laboratory near existing commercial algae enterprises, says protection of the local environment and marine ecosystem has been central to the design. It promises that it will cultivate only non-modified species of marine microalgae indigenous to Hawaii or approved by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.
Mark Huntley of HR Biopetroleum and
Avery Kramer discuss plans for algae ponds.
Photo: © HR Biopetroleum
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