Biodiesel from algae oil July 2007

Currently most research into efficient algal oil production is being done in the private sector, but if predictions from small scale production experiments bear out then using algae to produce biodiesel may be the only viable method by which to produce enough automotive fuel to replace current world gasoline usage, according to U.S. Department of Energy. [4] In the short term, a handful of early-stage companies working on algae want to produce Algae oils for biodiesel production, replacing a significant proportion of the diesel fuel that currently serves about one-third of transport needs in the United States.
Research into algae for the mass-production of oil is mainly focused on micro-algae. The preference towards micro-algae is due largely to its less complex structure, fast growth rate, and high oil content. Some species of algae are ideally suited to biodiesel production due to their high oil content – sometimes topping out near 50%. Some commercial interests into large scale algal-cultivation systems are looking to tie in to existing infrastructures, such as coal-fired power plants or sewage treatment facilities. This approach not only provides the raw materials for the system, such as CO2 and nutrients; but it changes those wastes into resources.
This document provides a brief overview of the main challenges related to the algal biofuel sector and provides a list of enterprises directly involved in the research and development of related technologies.

By: L. Wagner