Algae Fuel Pros and Cons


In a world of finite fossil fuels, algae fuel stands up tall as a strong renewable resource. Although there isn’t a 100% perfect energy source, the natural oils from certain types of algae can be made into a carbon-neutral bio-fuel. There are some pros and cons to this technology which need to be considered, however, since it is so new.

What Are the Pros of Algae Fuel?

1. It is essentially carbon neutral.
Although burning the bio-fuel that is created from algae creates CO2 emissions, that gas is coming from the carbon that the algae ate as food. This means that no new carbon dioxide is going into the atmosphere.

2. It is remarkably productive.
Just one acre of algae that is being farmed for fuel can replace 10k gallons of oil per acre, or more than 200 barrels of oil. Although this fuel won’t replace the millions of barrels of oil that are used every day, it is still a better source of energy than other natural sources.

3. It doesn’t require any conversions.
The fuel that is created from algae can already be used in today’s technology. No upgrades or conversions are necessary to run the bio-fuel. This means diesel, jet fuel, or standard gasoline can all be produced effectively through the growth of algae.

What Are the Cons of Algae Fuel?

1. It required a controlled system for growth.
There aren’t any co-existing products that can be grown with algae in a shallow pond to expand revenues. It requires a closed system that prevents disruptions as much as possible.

2. It has cold flow issues.
When temperatures grow cold, the flow rate of this fuel is altered. This causes it to become difficult to use unless the interior system of the motor is kept heated when the fuel is not in motion.

3. It degrades faster than other bio-fuels.
Algae fuel does not have a long shelf life. It must be used almost immediately for it to be effective. There are no known fuel stabilizers that could be added to algae fuel to prolong its life either.

Algae fuels are currently expensive to produce, but the technology behind its production are sound. If the disadvantages can be managed, then this bio-fuel could become the future of transportation.