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Can algae be the next big biofuel?

algaeBiofuels are being discovered thick and fast at the moment, from cowpats to cow’s milk. The next contender may be algae, if one Arizona-based company has its way.

Diversified Energy Corporation has come up with a system called simgae (simple algae), which it thinks is a low-cost alternative for the biofuels industry. If its numbers are right, it certainly sounds promising, especially in light of recent warnings about water shortages related to the growth of more typical biofuels. Check all this goodness out:

Algae has been shown to produce 30X more oil and require 1/100th the water per acre when compared to traditional crops. In addition, the carbohydrate and protein components of algae can be used for a multitude of other purposes including ethanol production, feed, fertilizer, etc. Algae requires very little care to grow, only needing sunlight, water, carbon dioxide (CO2), and basic nutrients. Its ability to ingest carbon dioxide and produce oxygen is particularly attractive to curtail carbon emissions.

We fully expect it to solve world peace too. But at any rate, we’ll be keeping an eye on this.  Of course, it’s not all that new: a group called GreenFuels has been making biofuel from algae grown inside a smokestack for some time — cutting emissions and creating fuels. Very cool.

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