Nov 212010
 
primordial sea of algae
Image by jurvetson via Flickr

“Salt-loving algae could be the key to the successful development of biofuels as well as being an efficient means of recycling atmospheric carbon dioxide,” Professor John Cushman of the University of Nevada told the Society for General Microbiology meeting at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Sept. 10.

The current major limitation of biofuel production is the lack of adequate feedstocks, soybeans and corn, for biodiesel and ethanol production, respectively. Halophytic (salt-loving) micro-algae can be grown on marginal lands with brackish or salt water unsuitable for traditional agriculture. Their growth is non-seasonal, making them 10-30 times more productive than terrestrial crops. They can be grown on municipal wastewater and have widespread potential for recycling carbon dioxide from biomass-, coal-, and gas-fired power plants.

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