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Posted by on Aug 1, 2017 in News, Recent |

What types of algae are the best suit to produce alternative fuel?

What types of algae are the best suit to produce alternative fuel?

Microalgae are constituted by a series of unicellular organisms which can carry out the process of photosynthesis. It means that, as they absorb sunlight, they produce energy that can be stored on the oil that is generated by them. Scientists are investigating an optimal way to take advantage of such substance to produce a type of fuel that would provide ecological support to the environment by reducing the pollution.

Renewable resources to produce ecologic fuel

The bio-oil is identical to the conventional fuel. However, since it is produced under controlled conditions, it does not contain sulfur, heavy metals or other unwanted pollutants. Therefore, it is a cleaner solution when compared with standard combustible.

Algae have long been used to produce combustible. However, they require a high dose of fertilizer in order to grow rapidly and supply the necessary amount of the required element. The solution consists on cultivating these organisms on specialized plastic farms. According to the results, 5 square kilometers of seaweed can provide up to 2.4 million gallons of bio-fuel per year.

A study conducted in San Francisco revealed that around 4 farms can produce up to 2100 gallons per acre. In addition, there is the advantage that algae cultivation does not require a cooling system which is a very common problem in artificial ponds. These homesteads only need water and sunlight to work and they can be used to clean the environment in many ways.

With enough nutrients and sunlight, algae are able to develop and at their optimum point they can be transformed into hydrocarbons. The process can last from 1 to 10 days. Production can be done in two different ways. The first one consists on closed systems where seaweeds are cultivated under controlled pH and temperature conditions in tanks that are isolated from external factors.

The second type is based on the use of open systems. However it has been discontinued due to pollution problems and the difficulty in terms of controlling the cultivation conditions.

Identifying the best type of algae to produce bio-fuel

Rose Ann Cattolico is a prestigious researcher who has been investigating for more than 20 years the properties and the physiology of different varieties of algae. She considers these organisms as an important source of environmentally benign fuels for all kinds of needs, from automobiles to jet propulsion aircrafts.

On the other hand, a prominent company known as Allied Minds has invested a considerable portion of capital in the work of a proficient biology professor at the University of Washington. This situation gave place to the creation of a new company focused on the investigation of the production of bio-fuel from algae.

All these researchers aim to find a variety that is most suitable for the production of lipids required to generate a particular type of fuel. Seaweeds grow rapidly and do not require the use of productive farmland. Additionally, they can be cultivated with different alternative sources of nutrition like wastewater.

The production of fuel from seaweed is at this moment the most attractive option. It would provide the solution to many concerns such as the effects of climate change, the increasing demand of alternative combustible and the constant rise of the cost of oil.

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Posted by on Aug 1, 2017 in News |

The role of algae in world’s biosystem

The role of algae in world’s biosystem

Seaweeds constitute a vital part of natural resources still available to fight climate change since they can hold up to twice the carbon of tropical forests. This fact has been revealed by recent investigations conducted by several universities. The results of such studies reveal that a square kilometer of coastal algae beds is able to store more than 80,000 tons of the mentioned element.

How algae can provide an important support to environmental balance

As for marine ecosystems, seaweeds play a fundamental role since they are able to carry out the process of photosynthesis. They have been a fundamental component of the environment even before the emergence of other species. For instance, it is believed that the geological age of blue-green algae is about 3000 million years.

Additionally, it is worth remembering that it was the oxygen generated by the work of blue-green and eukaryotic algae that formed our atmosphere. Currently, seaweeds are responsible for more than 60% of the photosynthesis of the planet, a fact that places them in a crucial position for the maintenance of life on earth.

This heterogeneous group of organisms is divided into more than a dozen groups. This classification is mainly based on their pigment composition, their reserve materials and their structural details. There can be found microscopic varieties such as filamentous or laminar algae. On the other hand, there are complex multi-cellular species like brown seaweed which can reach a length of more than 18 meters.

The diversity of algae is also given by their biochemistry and physiology, as well as by the organization of their genetic material.

Probably, this varied genetic combination is responsible for their capacity to produce a large amount of biochemical and bio-active compounds that are sometimes useful for humanity. Such elements include fatty acids of the omega-3 type.

A variety that is attracting the interest of scientific community in Japan, is the species known as eugenics algae. This kind of small greenish microorganisms is capable of moving in the same way as animals. Hence, these are considered living beings with properties of both flora and fauna that can be classified alongside seaweeds such as konbu and wakame.

Eugenics algae stand out for their productivity since their cultivation only requires water. They have a high dietary content since they incorporate around 58 nutrients in total including vitamins, amino acids and minerals. Additionally, given their great capacity to absorb carbon dioxide, they can be quite useful to solve some environmental problems.

The importance of algae for the ecosystem

Algae play a fundamental role on the production of atmospheric oxygen exerting a great influence on diverse global processes such as climate change. On a regional scale, their ecological important becomes evident when the excess of nutrients in coastal or continental waters triggers an abundant reproduction of these organisms.

It is worth noting that the most notable coral reefs are composed of a large amount of algae. On the other hand, in coastal regions macro-algae are ecological vital elements that support the development of invertebrate communities by providing them shelter and food. They produce a great impact on the populations of marine organisms such as fishes and mollusks.

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Posted by on Jul 31, 2017 in News |

A prediction: alternative energy to replace traditional petroleum-based fuels

A prediction: alternative energy to replace traditional petroleum-based fuels

The current energy model that is mainly based on the use of fossil fuels and oils is becoming obsolete. Many problems have emerged from this scheme like the negative environmental impact with its nefarious effect on global warming. The progressive depletion of reserves and geopolitical conflicts as well as the price instability has led to the pursuit of alternative renewable sources. Through the cultivation of algae it is possible to break the dependence on conventional combustible that jeopardizes the ecosystem of our planet.

Innumerable advantages provided by renewable energies

The already economically viable wind energy along with solar power with continuous and promising advances in recent years, are called to lead this new era. They are joined by a revolutionary option, the cultivation of microalgae to produce bio-fuels.

The generation of bio-fuels from microalgae provides countless benefits and can be considered in many ways as a complementary method to other renewable sources of energy. This approach addresses one of the aspects of more difficult resolution: a fuel for transport in a sustainable and cheap way. Many companies are immersed in the research and enhancement of such technologies and the first mass production centers are already under development.

A variety that is calling the attention of many researchers is the type known as Chlorella. Like any other photosynthetic algae it can produce starch from which it is possible to obtain bioethanol, a bio-fuel that can be used with domestic purposes.

The biological process of capturing solar energy

Microalgae are organisms that live in aquatic or in terrestrial environments with high levels of humidity. The role of seaweeds in nature is extremely important because, due to photosynthesis, they are able to transform inorganic matter into organic compounds using solar energy.

The resulting energy is stored on the biological structures of the seaweeds and is later harnessed by beings that feed on it. Therefore, it can be said that microalgae are the base of food chain. During the process of photosynthesis, atmospheric CO2 is combined with water releasing oxygen and sugars that the organism will use to produce different substances like cellulose and oils.

Microalgae have a very high multiplication capacity so they are able to absorb and store a large amount of solar energy. These organisms grow spontaneously in any kind of humid environment. However, in spite of its abundance in nature, they should be cultivated under controlled conditions if they are going to be used for the production of fuel.

In this way, it is possible to ensure the generation a variety of microalga that is suitable for the production of a specific kind of oil. It is estimated that there are more than 200,000 species of seaweeds. However, only a few of them have the necessary features to make viable the production of bio-fuels for commercial purposes.

On the other hand, the cultivation of these organisms in specialized farms ensures the production of an adequate volume. By means of the optimization of vital needs of algae it is possible to obtain a much faster reproduction than what would be achieved under regular conditions.

Additionally, if such organisms are directly obtained from natural environments, many ecosystems could collapse triggering a major catastrophe.

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