Microalgae-based biofuel not only has the potential to quench a sizable chunk of the world's energy demands, say Utah State University researchers. It's a potential game-changer.
"That's because microalgae produces much higher yields of fuel-producing biomass than other traditional fuel feedstocks and it doesn't compete with food crops," says USU mechanical engineering graduate student Jeff Moody.
Using meteorological data from 4,388 global locations, the team determined the current global productivity potential of microalgae.
Algae, he says, yields about 2,500 gallons of biofuel per acre per year. In contrast, soybeans yield approximately 48 gallons; corn about 18 gallons.
"In addition, soybeans and corn require arable land that detracts from food production," Quinn says. "Microalgae can be produced in non-arable areas unsuitable for agriculture."
The researchers estimate untillable land in Brazil, Canada, China and the U.S. could be used to produce enough algal biofuel to supplement more than 30 percent of those countries' fuel consumption.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald