Interest in Algae as an Alternative Energy Source

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I can recall countless afternoon strolls with my mother alongside the pond outside her office. The pond glistened in the sunlight with a slight green hue. Vividly colored fish dashed back and forth in the still water. A trail of ducklings followed their mother calmly atop the pond. I strained my eyes and caught a glimpse of a dark green turtle, camouflaged by the algae-laden water. It is truly awing that something as seemingly trivial as algae are being ardently pursued by research scientists across the globe today. As the world faces depletion of fossil fuel reserves and the threat of global climate change, researchers are looking into alternate energy sources that are renewable, globally available, and environmentally friendly. It is predicted that by 2035, the worldwide demand for energy will increase by 36% ("Discovering Global Energy Solutions"). Algae, a photosynthetic microorganism, have captured the attention of many due to its ubiquity and versatility.
Initial interest in algae was piqued during the 1970s when the United States suffered an energy crisis. The Aquatic Species Program was established in 1980 under President Jimmy Carter solely to produce increased levels of oil from algae ("A Look Back at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Aquatic Species Program: Biodiesel from Algae" ). The program concluded that if cultivated under optimum conditions and mass produced, algae could effectively curtail the need for fossil fuels (Newman). The efforts of this program set the foundation for similar research conducted today. Advances in technology and science allow researchers to genetically modify algae to produce more oil or add stress to algae’s living conditions to produce more oil. Currently, the Algal Biomass O...

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...ative, renewable energy resources. Most tend to think of solar power, wind power, and hydroelectricity as the most capable alternatives to fossil fuels, yet that mindset is greatly evolving.
Ultimately, an alternative to fossil fuels must be uncovered in order to benefit not only our environment, but our world. Replacing fossil fuels with a renewable resource has grown to become one of the most researched topics recently. In particular algae has captured the attention of many due to its diverse array of uses. Although algae derived biofuel may not appear as glamorous as solar or wind power, it does seem to be able to provide the world with a promising energy future. Algae may be the key to building a secure energy future on a global scale. Unlocking a promising energy future is key to not only imperative for this generation but also for future posterity.
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