Shadow on algae filled water, Maharashtra, India. No special effects. No texture… Photo source: ©© Flickrohit
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.