Essay Algae: A Green Alternative

Essay Algae: A Green Alternative

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The Encyclopedia Britannica defines “biofuel” as “a fuel made primarily from oily plants (such as soybean or palm oil plant) and to a lesser extent from other oily sources (such as waste cooking fat from restaurant deep-frying)” (Encyclopedia Britannica Online Academic Edition). Alga is a tiny plant that uses photosynthesis to transform carbon dioxide and sunlight into energy at a very rapid rate, and some species can even “double their weight several times a day” (University of Virginia). The rapid growth rate of algae and the fact that half of their composition by weight is lipid oil, the oil used in the production of biodiesel, makes algae a very attractive candidate in the production of biofuels. The use of biofuels and biodiesel in particular, is not something that is a new idea. Rudolph Diesel, the inventor of the diesel engine, used peanut oil to run his exhibition motor at the Worlds Fair in Paris in the year 1900. In the summer of 2012, the people of the United States will see the highest fuel prices that they have ever seen, and with higher demands of oil worldwide from developing countries, including India and China, the long-term price of oil is not likely to decrease. Now that the world has realized that fossil fuels will not last forever, intensification in biodiesel production has begun and pond scum may be the renewable energy source that the United States needs to curb its hunger for fossil fuels. “Going Green” may soon have an altogether new meaning.

Some researchers suggest that the cost of harvesting and refining the oils from algae is not a cost-effective alternative. While this may have been true a couple of years ago developments in biology and technology are slowly bringing the costs to a minimum. In 20...

... middle of paper ...>.
Howell, Katie. "Is Algae Worse than Corn for Biofuels?: Scientific American." Science News, Articles and Information. 22 Jan. 2010. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. .
Kanellos, Michael. "Algae Biodiesel: It's $33 a Gallon." : Greentech Media. 3 Feb. 2009. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. .
"Tubular Photobioreactor." Biodiesel from Algae Oil. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. .
Univeristy of Virginia. "Algae: Biofuel Of The Future?" ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 Aug. 2008. Web. 19 Mar. 2012. .

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