Last update : 28.10.2010
Algae-based biofuels: A review of challenges and opportunities for developing countries
FAO, Ecofys, GBEP
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Algae have recently received a lot of attention as a new biomass source for the production of renewable energy. Some of the main characteristics which set algae apart from other biomass sources are that algae can have a high biomass yield per unit of light and area, can have a high oil or starch content, do not require agricultural land, fresh water is not essential and nutrients can be supplied by wastewater and CO2 by combustion gas. Both macro- and micro-algae are considered in this report, but as there is more research, practical experience, culture and there are more fuel options from microalgae, these have a bigger share in the report. This report discusses different technological components that make up algae-based biofuels: algae cultivation technology, processing to biofuel options, locations and carbon, light and nutrient inputs. Both land-based and sea-based applications are discussed. The sustainability of algae-based biofuels is also investigated in depth. First, existing biofuel sustainability standards are analysed for applicability, followed by a thorough analysis of the opportunities and risks of algae-based biofuels sustainability. Sustainability is finally discussed in the context of potential and threats for developing countries.
Added on 27 October 2009
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