VIEWS: 16 PAGES: 2 CATEGORY: Science & Technology POSTED ON: 6/11/2010
Significant production of algae biofuels could provide a substantial portion of transportation fuel needs. That's because algae have a much higher productivity potential than crop-based biofuels. Growing algae is also very water efficient. Producing enough to make 60 billion gallons a year of biodiesel could require as little as 16 trillion gallons of water. Its productivity per acre compared to other sources of biofuels is astounding, between 1,200 and 10,000 gallons per square meter per day, depending on the triglyceride content of the particular alga species.
Green Gold: A Look at Algae’s Investment Potential By Nick Hodge Significant production of algae biofuels could • It is not in direct competition with food crops. provide a substantial portion of transportation fuel T • here is a multitude of algae biofuel value-added needs. That’s because algae have a much higher byproducts, such as syn-gas, high-protein animal productivity potential than crop-based biofuels. feeds, agricultural fertilizers, biopolymers These high yields can be attributed to algae’s high (plastic), glycerin, and even ethanol and jet fuel. growth rate, which is often monitored in hours instead Look for the efficient extraction and refining of of days, and to requiring inputs of only land, sunlight, algae into biofuels within the next five years. water, carbon dioxide (potential for carbon credits), Some of the companies that are already working in and nutrients. While deriving fuel oil from algae might algae growth, harvesting, and biofuel production have been cost prohibitive in the past, the cost of a include GreenShift Corporation, Nanoforce Inc., barrel of algal oil, once commercialized, has been Valcent Products Inc., Green Star Products, OriginOil forecast as low as $20. Inc., and PetroSun Inc. Growing algae is also very water efficient. This is a technology also being pursued by energy Producing enough to make 60 billion gallons a giants like Royal Dutch Shell. It’s still a nascent industry year of biodiesel could require as little as 16 trillion but is attracting a great deal of venture capital. The gallons of water. To put that in perspective, we use 48 companies that find winning solutions will become trillion gallons of water per year to grow corn in the major players in the energy markets of the future. ❑ United States. Its productivity per acre compared to other sources About the Author of biofuels is astounding, between 1,200 and 10,000 Nick Hodge is the managing editor of Alternative gallons per square meter per day, depending on the Energy Speculator, an investment advisory ser- triglyceride content of the particular alga species. vice that focuses primarily on clean energy and The other benefits of algae biofuel: emission-reduction technologies. He is also an editor at Green Chip Stocks, www.greenchipstocks N • o one country (or host of hostile countries) has .com. a monopoly on algae production or the algae He may be contacted at nick.hodge@ production equipment. greenchipstocks.com. A more extensive treatment of this subject A
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