I’m sure everyone is aware of the amazing properties of algae. Prepare to gain newfound respect for our small flora, they could be the next biodiesel crops. Fed a generous helping of CO2-laden emissions, lets say ……. courtesy of a power plant’s exhaust stack, the algae cleans the exhaust and grows at phenominal rates. After the CO2 is soaked up like a sponge, the algae is harvested daily. From that harvest, a combustible vegetable oil is squeezed out i.e. biodiesel for automobiles. Additionally the exhaust contains 40 percent less CO2 (a larger cut than the Kyoto treaty mandates) and another bonus, 86 percent less nitrous oxides. What a little workhorse.
Creater, Berzin of MIT calculates the biodiesel crop potential at 15,000 gallons per acre. To put that in perspective soybeans (currently the major source of biodiesel fuels) produce just 60 gallons per acre. Berzin isnt alone in the algae-to-oil race. Competiator (yes people compete over this stuff) Greenshift Corporation, a Mount Arlington, N.J., technology incubator company, licensed CO2-gobbling algae technology that uses a screen-like algal filter. It was developed by David Bayless, a researcher at Ohio University. One can only hope more competing algae will result in good things.