Algae fuel or Algal biofuel is an alternative to fossil fuel that uses algae as its source of natural deposits. Several companies and government agencies are funding efforts to reduce capital and operating costs and make algae fuel production commercially viable. Harvested algae, like fossil fuel, release CO2 when burnt but unlike fossil fuel the CO2 is taken out of the atmosphere by the growing of algae and other biofuel sources, and the world food crisis, have ignited interest in algaculture (farming algae) for making vegetable oil, biodiesel, bioethanol, biogasoline, biomethanol, biobutanol and other biofuels, using land that is not suitable for agriculture. Among algal fuels' attractive characteristics: they can be grown with minimal impact on fresh water resources, can be produced using ocean and wastewater, and are biodegradable and relatively harmless to the environment if spilled. Algae cost more per unit mass (as of 2010, food grade algae costs ~$5000/tonne), due to high capital and operating costs, yet are claimed to yield between 10 and 100 times more fuel per unit area than other second-generation biofuel crops. The United States Department of Energy estimates that if algae fuel replaced all the petroleum fuel in the United States, it would require 15,000 square miles (39,000 km2) which is only 0.42% of the U.S. map, or about half of the land area of Maine. This is less than 1⁄7 the area of corn harvested in the United States in 2000. However, these claims remain unrealized commercially. According to the head of the Algal Biomass Organization algae fuel can reach price parity with oil in 2018 if granted production tax credits.
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Famous quotes containing the words fuel and/or algae:
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