Green energy

Put some algae-diesel in your tank

Little green algae are promising future sources of food and green energy - ©Lebendkulturen.be

A joint American-German research team has developed bioreactors made of transparent polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in which they can grow green algae using light.

Engineers of the company GF Piping Systems have exploited the ideal transparency and long lifetime of the PVC material that allows mass growth of algae. This performance piping is even highly resistant to ultraviolet light (UV) and enhances the production of the algae via natural photosynthesis: the algae rapidly multiply through radiation with light.

The research started in 2007 and is very promising. Algae are considered to be important raw materials for the future. The 40,000 known algae species contain sugars, starch, oils and even omega fatty acids. During their growth process, they also absorb CO2 from the air around them, thus reducing carbon dioxide levels and building up valuable biomass.

This biomass is already very desirable for the cosmetics industry and for the production of food, e.g. fish food. Based on the algae mass, you can also produce biodiesel. This is already available in the United States and is considered as a fuel of the future. The algae production itself is a low-cost process with virtually no negative environmental impact.