25 million tons of algae are harvested each year, most of them in Asia and used for human consumption and cosmetics. But what if we used them to power our vehicles?
Danish scientists recently announced that they used an algae fuel created by a Dutch company to power a car, reaching speeds of 80km / h. Yes, an algae car. It will not be a Americio engine, but it is so beneficial.
"We tried to see if algae fuel works the same way as normal fuel and what its effects are on the engine"he said Jaap van Hal, who led the research team.
One of the major sources of clean renewable energy used today is biofuel. Produced from garbage or agricultural by-products from crops such as sugar, corn and soy, it contributes to energy security while reducing carbon emissions.
Algae to feed cars: Europe's plan
In the transport sector in Europe, the vast majority of renewable energy solutions therefore use 'terrestrial' biofuels. However, to produce them, resources are still needed: mainly for fertilizers and irrigation. This is why Europe is looking for sources of “marine” biofuels, namely algae, which need nothing but salt water and sun to grow incredibly fast.
Dr. Van Hal says that running a 4-hectare seaweed farm is like running a 400-hectare land farm. To make algae fuel a reality, however, a "huge scale" supply is needed. Even if a farm is currently a distant "point on the horizon", van Hal is still excited to move forward.
Van Hal is the scientific coordinator of the MacroFuels funded by the European Union, with the aim of creating an entire sector around biofuels for algae that includes cultivation, production and testing, in particular for heavy machinery such as trucks and ships with diesel engines.
Several other European companies are trying to increase the proliferation of algae biofuels for the energy sector.