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Fueling The Future With Algae?


A new company from Tel Aviv called Univerve is working to turn algae, a natural substance, into third-generation renewable fuel. The company decided to focus on algae because they do not compete for food resources, land or potable water as do first- and second-generation biofuels such as sugarcane, corn or wood.

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  • Dhyana Antohi

    It's actually what Isaac Asimov was talking about many MANY years ago. Glad to see that its becoming a reality.

  • Shelby Anderson

    That would be so neat. Literally green energy!

  • jenjenuine

    I believe the US was researching this renewable fuel in the 90's - pumping CO2 from coal-fired power plants into algae ponds to to sequester the carbon. Then they would harvest the algae and press the oil out to use as biofuel. Sounded great. . . I wonder why Clinton killed the funding for it???

    • philipp.schaub

      They ran into a dead end. To get the fuel (forms of alcohol the cells produce) out of the cells, you have to kill them first. That means the process wasn't scalable with the technology available then.

      Today, the algae are genetically modified with excretion systems from other organisms, so that they pump out the fuel into the surrounding medium, where it can be easily harvested without having to kill the entire culture for each "harvest". This means the process may become scalable in the near future: A constant culture of cells that continue to grow and pump out fuel as long as you keep feeding them. The latest news I heard was that they managed to do this, proof-of-concept-wise. That was about two months ago.

  • alexander.diner

    I've been following the idea of algae as a fuel source for awhile now—it's exciting to read about this.