Up To Speed On: Algae Biofuels
The 'Up to speed' series of educational e-books covers a spectrum of sustainability topics with a focus on the causes, consequences and cures.
Each ebook provides a non-technical & non-academic overview for a general audience.
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Liquid fuels are widely used in cars, trucks, ships and planes. They are mainly made from petroleum oil and this is causing planet-wide environmental, social and geopolitical problems. There are numerous types of biofuels, fuels made from biological sources, such as canola, palm oil and tallow. However, biofuels have their own problems including the relatively small volumes that are available, the environmental cost of producing them, and the fact that many biofuels are based on food crops. A potential solution to replace petroleum oil is algae biofuels: fuels made from oil from algae. Algae are tiny aquatic plants and they promise low cost, environmentally friendly, carbon neutral fuels produced on an industrial-scale. Around the world, dozens of companies are developing the technologies to make this a reality. There are noteable successes and algae biofuels are today powering navy ships, airliners, trucks and cars. Big challenges remain, particularly reducing the cost of the end product and massively scaling up production without causing new environmental probems. However, with petroleum oil causing more trouble than it’s worth – including, ironically, the fact that it’s running out – algae biofuels promise to be green solution that saves the day and maybe the climate too.