Environmental Impacts of Algae-Derived Biodiesel
Shadow on algae filled water, Maharashtra, India. No special effects. No texture… Photo source: ©© Flickrohit
Excerpts; by University of Virginia, in Science Daily
Algae-based fuel is one of many options among the array of possible future energy sources. New University of Virginia research shows that while algae-based transportation fuels produce high energy output with minimal land use, their production could come with significant environmental burdens.
From an environmental impact standpoint, algae-based fuel has mixed performance, compared to other biomass sources. Algae-based biodiesel production uses more energy, in the form of petroleum-powered processes, than other biofuels. Additionally, algae-based biodiesel and bioelectricity production processes also require substantial amounts of water and emit more greenhouse gases.
“We’re looking at the entire landscape of biofuels, and asking ‘What are the options?’” one researcher said, hoping that “the research will inform public policy debates, allowing people to make the best decisions about alternatives to petroleum.”