Algae has seemed like a great biofuel candidate because it's extremely efficent at creating energy from sunlight and it could potentially form closed loops for power plants - absorbing exhaust while creating new fuel - but a recent study has knocked algae off its pedestal.
University of Virginia researchers have found that the life cycle of algal biofuel produces high levels of greenhouse gas emissions -- much more than it sequesters.
The culprit is the large amount of fertilizer used to produce the algae. The fertilizers come from petroleum-bases sources and emit nitrous oxide. The researchers propose using fertilizer from sewage plants as a way around the problem.
It looks like we're still far away from an ideal biofuel, if there is one.
via Yale e360
written by Alessandro Machi, January 26, 2010
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