Biodiesel from Algae

The following s from Oilgae.com They have the latest informationa about Algae biodiesel online.

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning…

In the beginning, there were algae, but there was no oil

Then, from algae came oil.

Now, the algae are still there, but oil is fast depleting

In future, there will be no oil, but there will still be algae

So, doesn’t it make sense to explore if we can again get oil from algae?

This is what we try to do at Oilgae.com – explore the potential of getting oil from algae

A Very Good Place to Start

Energy! Who isn’t thinking of it these days? As a general rule, we human beings start thinking about important things only when they have gotten really difficult. And it is no different with energy.

Our dear earth has only so much fossil oil. Folks continue debating just how much oil we really have left – some say there is enough oil only for the next 50 years, while the more optimistic of the lot point to oil shale and tar sands and think we have another 100 years before fossil oil becomes as scarce as common sense. Of course, this is a rather simplistic way of presenting the entire energy picture, but the gist of it is pretty much true. And, whichever argument one subscribes to, there is enough fossil oil only for a few generations more.

Having consumed in over a hundred years almost half of all the (practically extractable) oil that took earth millions of years to form, we have just about started trying to figure out alternative sources of oil. God could have been more kind and presented us with some easy alternative, but He has decided to get tough with his errant creations. We are thus faced with a problem of where to start with regard to finding an alternative source of energy.

We are saying – Perhaps we can start with algae?

Oilgae – Oil & Biodiesel from Algae

While a number of bio-feedstock are currently being experimented for biodiesel (and ethanol ) production, algae have emerged as one of the most promising sources especially for biodiesel production, for two main reasons (1) The yields of oil from algae are orders of magnitude higher than those for traditional oilseeds, and (2) Algae can grow in places away from the farmlands & forests, thus minimising the damages caused to the eco- and food chain systems. There is a third interesting reason as well: Algae can be grown in sewages and next to power-plant smokestacks where they digest the pollutants and give us oil!

Though research into algae oil as a source for biodiesel is not new, the current oil crises and fast depleting fossil oil reserves have made it more imperative for organizations and countries to invest more time and efforts into research on suitable renewable feedstock such as algae.

Just by way of history, petroleum is widely believed to have had its origins in kerogen, which is easily converted to an oily substance under conditions of high pressure and temperature. Kerogen (Kerogen – from Wikipedia) is formed from algae, biodegraded organic compounds, plankton, bacteria, plant material, etc., by biochemical and/or chemical reactions such as diagenesis and catagenesis.

While algae are one of the more promising feedstock owing to their widespread availability and higher oil yields, it is felt that there are not enough web resources that provide comprehensive information on biodiesel production from algae. Oilgae.com ( www.oilgae.com ) intends to fill this gap, and aims to be a one-stop resource for information and web links for biodiesel production from algae.

So, is Oil from Algae the Future?

The answer to the question: We don’t know, not yet.

While algal oil certainly appears promising, it should be pointed out that lots more inputs need to be analysed and further experimentations done before one can be sure of algal oil being a worthy large-scale substitute for petro-diesel. In theory, algae have the potential to be a major fuel resource. In practice, however, there are many questions to be answered and multiple issues to be resolved before biodiesel can be produced sustainably & affordably on a large-scale from algae.

In order that these questions are answered and the issues resolved, we feel that a significant amount of research needs to be undertaken, possibly with a lot more attention from the major governments of the world. We might require a massive, focussed effort.

But there are no signs of such a massive amount of research being done in the field of oil from algae, though one would imagine that the need for a suitable alternative energy source is as critical a problem as we have ever faced. For sure, research is being conducted by some brilliant and devoted scientists, but we fear that these will not be enough.

Oilgae.com hopes to be a small catalyst that assists with such inputs and analyses for those pursuing efforts in this area. We would hence be most grateful if visitors could provide us their feedback on what additional inputs they would wish to have on algae-based biodiesel. We would be equally grateful to those who point out errors and suggest improvements to this web site. Using your collective inputs and suggestions, we hope to make this resource a useful resource for algal biodiesel. Comments may kindly be sent to Oilgae Suggestions

Oilgae currently has over a thousand links related to algae, algal oil and biodiesel from algal oil. The Oilgae blog has hundreds of articles, research abstracts and news updates related to energy from algae. We are also currently exploring an open source initiative for oil & biodiesel production from algae.

We will continue adding useful material to each of the above sections and add further sections based on your feedback and inputs. We are hoping that your visit to Oilgae proves to be useful. If you feel excited about algae as an alternative source of energy and would like to spread the message, perhaps you can send a note about Oilgae to your friends ?

Thank you very much for your time, and happy browsing!

Sections from Oilgae that might be of interest:

  • Oilgae Blog – A dynamic news & discussion forum for biodiesel production from algae; contribute and join the discussions! See Blog Directory for list of articles.
  • algOS – We are seriously exploring an Open Source movement for biodiesel from production algae; if you are a biodiesel enthusiast, perhaps you’d like to join algOS, the open source movement for oil from algae?

Note: We’d like to regularly add more useful content and web resources to Oilgae.com. Should you know of any good web resource for Biodiesel production from algae, do let us know by sending a note to narsi@esource.in . Many thanks for your patience.


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