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  • Algal biodiesel is one of the only avenues available for high-volume re-use of CO2 generated in power plants. It is a technology that marries the potential need for carbon disposal in the electric utility industry with the need for clean-burning alternatives to petroleum in the transportation sector.
  • The production of algae to harvest oil for biodiesel has not yet been undertaken on a commercial scale, but feasibility studies have been conducted to arrive at the above yield estimate. In addition to its projected high yield, algaculture — unlike crop-based biofuels — does not entail a decrease in food production, since it requires neither farmland nor fresh water.
  • The big problem has been figuring out how to collect and press the algae, and in the case of open ponds, to prevent contamination by invasive species.
  • Algal-oil processes into biodiesel as easily as oil derived from land-based crops. The difficulties in efficient biodiesel production from algae lie not in the extraction of the oil, which can be done using methods common to the food-industry such as hexane extraction, but in finding an algal strain with a high lipid content and fast growth rate that isn't too difficult to harvest, and a cost-effective cultivation system that is best suited to that strain.
  • The ponds in which the algae are cultivated are usually what are called the “raceway ponds”. In these ponds, the algae, water & nutrients circulate around a racetrack. With paddlewheels providing the flow, algae are kept suspended in the water, and are circulated back to the surface on a regular frequency.
  • In Europe, biodiesel represents 2% of total transportation consumption and is expected to reach 6% by 2010.
  • According to CEO of a biodiesel company algae could theoretically produce 10,000 gallons of oil per acre, compared with 680 gallons per acre for palm, the current highest-oil-yielding crop
  • The global market for biodiesel is poised for explosive growth in the next ten years. Although Europe currently represents 90% of global biodiesel consumption and production, the U.S. is now ramping up production at a faster rate than Europe, and Brazil is expected to surpass U.S. and European biodiesel production by the year 2015. It is possible that biodiesel could represent as much as 20% of all on-road diesel used in Brazil, Europe, China and India by the year 2020.

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