Algae as fuel: In bloom or dead in the water?

The Biologist, March 2014 //

Tom Ireland reports on whether fuel made from algae could ever replace oil

Could algae save the planet? That’s right, algae. The green stuff that clogs up your pond and rots in giant heaps on the beach. This extremely diverse group of simple, autotrophic organisms is the focus of efforts to develop a green energy source to replace oil.

Both microalgae (unicellular) and macroalgae, such as seaweed, are being used in a range of products known as ‘advanced biofuels’ thanks to their rich energy content and minimal land use. It is hoped they could eventually break our dependence on oil and reduce global carbon emissions.

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Could algae save the planet? That’s right, algae. The green stuff that clogs up your pond and rots in giant heaps on the beach. This extremely diverse group of simple, autotrophic organisms is the focus of efforts to develop a green energy source to replace oil.

Both microalgae (unicellular) and macroalgae, such as seaweed, are being used in a range of products known as ‘advanced biofuels’ thanks to their rich energy content and minimal land use. It is hoped they could eventually break our dependence on oil and reduce global carbon emissions.

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