Aquatic Biofuels

Aquatic Biofuels production is a highly dynamic research sector of the global energy scene. The associated accelerated growth in the production, supply, conversion and use of biofuels in the past few years, especially in the liquid biofuels sector, presents a new reality that is attracting interest from key stakeholders in developed and developing countries alike. In particular, the potential of bioenergy as a source of sustainable energy with multiple benefits to developing countries is giving new impetus to the development of various forms of bioenergy in the developing world.

The key challenge is to encourage a transition to more efficient, environmentally sound and sustainable use of biomass resources and to this end aquatic biofuels could play a key role in the next years.

The future energy strategy in developing and developed countries should be premised on promoting sustainability, efficiency and cost effectiveness in the production and conversion of this modern bioenergy resource. To this end, aquatic biofuels offer significant improvements compared to first generation biofuels, overcoming concerns about competition for land, stress of water resources and concerns about the low energy output per unit of land achievable.

The cultivation of microalgae for biofuels in general and oil production in particular is not yet a commercial reality and, outside some niche, but significant, applications in wastewater treatment, still requires relatively long-term R&D. This is due in part to the high costs of even simple algae production systems, and in even larger part to the undeveloped nature of the required algal mass culture technology, from the selection and maintenance of algal strains in the cultivation systems, to achievement of high productivities of biomass with a high content of vegetable oils, or other biofuel precursors.

Aquatic Biofuels Working Group (ABWG)

The Aquatic Biofuels Working Group (ABWG), established in September 2008 as an exploratory initiative of the FAO Inter-Departmental Working Group (IDWG) on Bioenergy, is reviewing the state of knowledge in this field with a view toward its relevance and potential applications in developing countries.

The ABWG seeks to understand the current state of aquatic biofuels research and technologies and their relevance to being applied and managed in developing countries, taking into account investment and environmental issues. The ABWG disseminates knowledge about bioenergy production from algae and fish waste and its suitability in poor areas. 
• Go to the ABWG web site.

last updated:  Wednesday, January 16, 2013