In the past, we have talked a lot about corn ethanol and the fact that it is actually worse for the environment than just using gasoline. Unfortunately, the average person believes that corn ethanol and commercial biodiesel is a good thing, but of course if you really research it, it is not. Because of this common misconception, the most recent energy bill was stripped of significant alternative energy provisions in favor of biofuel subsidies. This has hurt the environment in more ways than one and quite honestly I was a bit upset.
Now in the midst of this large biofuel push, I had heard about algae and how it can be used to produce biodiesel as well as ethanol with little to no harm to the environment. Considering that when I first heard about it, it was still being tested, so in my mind this was still a bit of a pipe dream and I didn’t think we would see this technology commercially for another 5 to 10 years. However, PetroSun’s most recent press release announced the actual commencement of operations of the first algae-to-biofuel plant. This comes as a bit of a surprise, but a very nice one considering the huge environmental benefits of microalgae biofuel over typical corn, soy and sunflower biofuels. Here are just some of the fact about microalgae biofuel for you to think about:
* MicroAlgae produces 30-100 times more oil per acre than corn and soybeans
* MicroAlgae biofuel contains NO sulfur
* MicroAlgae biofuel is non-toxic
* MicroAlgae biofuel is highly biodegradable
* MicroAlgae biofuel can be used in existing engines (without modifications)
* MicroAlgae biofuel can be mixed with conventional petroleum at any ratio. As a result, this biofuel can use existing distribution infrastructure.
I honestly cannot find anything negative about this microalgae biofuel. It’s the cleanest fuel I have ever seen and the only waste product (not really) from it is biomass after the algae has been pressed for its oil. This biomass can either be used as a protein supplement in cow feed or it can be fermented into ethanol. Not only that, but PetroSun is also finding new ways to use the waste heat and CO2 from industrial smoke stacks to help grow this algae, sequestering the excess CO2.
Until I find out otherwise, MicroAlgae gets two thumbs up from me and a big seal of approval!