Feasibility and Technical Approach

biofuel oil cell
Over the years, research have proved that Microalgae has the potential to become the source of plant-based biofuel and its use can extend in number of ways including biodiesel which can be mixed with diesel as transportation fuel, as biooils for burning to propel turbine and boilers or even to produce bio-hydrogen which can be used in just about any application that demands high energy consumption. With the declining supply of fossil fuel and the issues surrounding greenhouse gas emission, alternative energy supply has since shifted towards using microalgae; touted as the tomorrow’s renewable energy source as it can be cultivated by relying on organic waste and natural sunlight to continuously regenerate and then reproduced to meet the energy demand. Although the main advantage on microalgae fuel harvesting will focus very much on sustainability but what is more important is finding a replacement for fossil fuel which is not only getting scarce but also on the underlying issue that lies within such as political turmoil and war, in order to command control of this precious resource which can then be eliminated if we can find something sustainable which can be produced just about anywhere in any country. 

The feasibility on the use of microalgae as biofuel basically lies on one simple characteristic in which the simple cell structure allows it to regenerate quickly. It has the highest oil to biomass ratio which means for the same acre of land used to support oil production, you are getting much higher yield compared to even among the best commercially available oil-producing plant in the world like for instance palm tree and soya bean. Unlike plants which will take years to achieve maturity and to start providing harvest, microalgae will require much less, requiring only a small fraction of that time. If you are wondering how long an average microalgae culture will need to mature, the answer is that most of them depending on species will only need a matter of days with some even hours and the best part of it is that microalgae can be harvested all year round.

Microalgae for Biofuel Production although currently is still very much in the development stage, numerous laboratory studies have shown that large-scale commercial application is actually feasibility. Although researchers over the years have been making progress, the obstacle still lies mainly on finding the best extraction technology to efficiently extract the oil and cut down the cost. Other technical challenges which may seem minor is on finding the best microalgae strain which can give the highest oil yield having the fastest cell regeneration rate and develop that strain into pure culture. The next article will  further discuss on these topics.

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