Last update : 28.10.2010
Cultivating clean energy: The promise of algae biofuels
Terrapin Bright Green
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The algae biofuels industry is comprised of many pathways to produce fuels from algae and is developing rapidly. Given the thousands of different algal strains, multitude of cultivation and harvest methods, wide range of algae products, and host of technologies used to convert these products into different transportation fuels, algae-based biofuels make up a broad and difficult-to-categorize family of technologies and production pathways. Furthermore, algal technologies are evolving rapidly. Worldwide investments in algae were $32 million in 2007 and surpassed the $300-million-dollar mark in 2008. Today, more than 50 companies have received funding to focus on algae fuels. To properly assess algae biofuels, we need a way to see the big picture—to develop the full life cycle of algae-to-biofuel production and analyze all potential impacts. This is especially important for a technology that we hope will contribute on a meaningful scale to meeting our transportation energy needs. This report provides an overview of the potential positive and negative environmental externalities of algae biofuel processes and technologies. Specifically, the report identifies key environmental issues to be considered across all stages of an algae biofuel production; proposes a mapping framework for these algae-to-biofuel pathways; summarizes what is known and unknown about the potential environmental impacts of each algae-to-biofuel process; and identifies areas of future research need and recommends policy and industry actions to improve the environmental sustainability of the industry and its fuel production practices.
Added on 25 October 2009
Documents in the category 'Environment' (282 documents)
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