Algae Bio Fuel

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/24/us-usa-biofuels-algae-idUSBRE89N1Q820121024

The article is on algal based bio fuel and its future as a sustainable fuel source for the United States.

First I have to address the thing that disturbs me most about this article–WHY WOULD THE U.S. MILITARY SPEND NEARLY $27/GAL ON BIO FUEL???  I know of people all over the World that are producing biodiesel from waste vegetable oil for less than a $1/gallon, and have no idea how anyone could justify selling or buying any bio fuel for $27/gallon.

That aside, I have been following algal based bio fuel for some time as it seems to offer a lot of potential for fuel production.  This article states [and I agree] that algal bio fuel is a couple of years from mass production, but I still think that it could provide a great source for bio fuel and should be invested in.  However, I think that waste vegetable oil and animals fats still warrant our attention.

http://www.algaebiomass.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/igb_alge2.jpg

http://www.algaebiomass.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/igb_alge2.jpg

Vegetable oils and animal fats are waste products that we largely ignore.  The infrastructure for producing biodiesel from waste vegetable oil are far from complete and we continue not to use a majority of WVO for biodiesel production within the United States.  I understand that biodiesel from WVO cannot sustain our demands, but when the feedstock is every and cheap why not invest in local biodiesel production using WVO.

In my mind we [as a country] are putting the cart before the horse–We want bio fuels, but we are not focusing on producing bio fuels we ARE focused on creating new bio fuels or bio fuels from new feedstocks.  Look at biodiesel: Over 300 million gallons of WVO are exported yearly form the U.S and go into biodiesel production elsewhere in the world.  This is low hanging fruit–wvo is one of the easiest  feedstocks to convert into biodiesel, but instead of converting it to biodiesel in the U.S. we export it.  Yet at the same point we spend millions trying to find a sustainable means of producing biodiesel from algal feedstocks.  Why not produce biodiesel from existing feedstocks while we try and engineer new feedstocks and production methods?

I think we have to look at algal biodiesel for future bio fuel production, but let’s not ignore the feedstocks that are all around us.