Algae Oil Basics
The Environment-Friendly Oil
Algae can take many forms. Macroalgae is often referred to as seaweed or kelp. But for oil, we typically use single-celled microalgae. These microscopic organisms are commonly found in ponds, lakes and marine environments.
Much of the world’s petroleum is actually made up of algae that decomposed over hundreds of millions of years. But by drilling for, extracting, and burning that oil now, we are releasing carbon dioxide that was absorbed long ago. This “carbon positive” effect is much of what causes global warming.
Industrial algae cultivation will absorb CO2 from the atmosphere or, in more concentrated form, directly from CO2 sources (e.g. power plants, factories, refineries). Burning freshly produced algae oil releases only what it absorbed in the first place, resulting in a balanced “carbon neutral” effect. This makes algae oil the environmentally-friendly oil.
Oil Generation from Algae
In the right environment, fresh algae cells grow and divide exponentially, doubling every few hours, while absorbing all available nutrients, CO2 and light energy. Instead of waiting hundreds of millions of years for algae to become oil, industrial processes can transform algae into oil in a matter of days.
Typical Uses of Algae Oil and Biomass
The oil produced from algae can replace all but the heavier (tarry) fractions of petroleum. In addition, the algae mass left over after extraction of the oil can be used for a number of “green” applications.
Continue to Algae Can Be the New Oil»