Algae an Alternative to Petroleum?
Algae is an essential component to earths ecosystem, however to much of anything can lead to dire results. Excessive nutrients in water can lead to algae blooms, high concentrations of algae can be deadly to marine animals and people. (Harmful Algal Blooms, 2017) Algae blooms, besides being toxic create dead zones in the marine ecosystem, it also increases the cost to process drinking water. (Harmful Algal Blooms, 2017)
Algae biofuels could potentially prove to be a realistic alternative to fossil fuels and petroleum based products. Substituting algae for petroleum could significantly reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere that contribute to greenhouse gases and climate change (Hannon, Gimpel, Tran, & Rasala, 2010). The harvesting of algae could also reduce the detrimental environment effects of algae blooms.
Algae could also be an effective alternative to synthetic material made from petroleum. Companies like Vivobarefoot have created running shoes made from algae, cleaning up water resources in the process (Peters, 2017).
Currently, processing Algae into biofuel is very expensive compared to the cost of fossil fuels. Hopefully with more research and interest, more effective methods of processing algae as a biofuel will be discovered.
Hannon, M., Gimpel, J., Tran, M., Rasala, B., & Mayfield, S. (2010). Biofuels from algae: challenges and potential. Biofuels, 1(5), 763–784. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3152439/
Harmful Algal Blooms. (2017, April 07). Retrieved June 11, 2017, from https://www.epa.gov/nutrientpollution/harmful-algal-blooms
Marc, S. (n.d.). Algae [Algae]. Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/green-blue-water-lilies-nature-734010/
Peters, A. (2017, June 01). These Shoes Help Clean Lakes–Because They're Made of Polluting Algae. Retrieved June 11, 2017, from https://www.fastcompany.com/40425032/these-shoes-help-clean-lakes-because-theyre-made-of-polluting-algae