Cost competitive biofuel from algae is one of the Holy Grails of renewable energy. If achieved, it would be a disruptive technology that changes energy forever. Australian company Algae.Tec says they may have a breakthrough.
[their system] uses low maintenance technologies and an efficient solar system to produce algae in one tenth of the land surface as compared to the current pond methods for producing algae. The McConchie-Stroud System photo-bioreactors produce oils which can be refined into biodiesel, sugar carbohydrates that can be used in the production of ethanol, proteins that can be used as feedstock for farm animals, and protein and carbohydrate biomass that can be combined to produce jet fuel.
Even better, their technology can capture CO2 emissions from power plants and manufacturing facilities for use in growing algae. They have orders from a large Sri Lanka cement manufacturer and are also building a full-scale prototype. Many have tried and failed at this. Algae.Tec says they can do algae biofuel at “below market price.” It’s unclear if they mean below algae prices or petroleum prices. Their website does seem a bit overly focused on the stock price (but are hardly the only small company to do so.) Let’s hope they succeed.