October 11, 2009

Algae-Based Biofuel From Fish

Right now, when biofuel is produced using algae, cultures are grown and then processed into fuel. But the process is expensive and difficult. Now a company in Texas, LiveFuels, Inc., hopes that it will be able to change all that. The idea is to create a biofuel based on the oils from the fish that eat the algae.

LiveFuels plans to make use of natural food chains in order to get biofuels. Gas 2.0 reports on the facilities used by the Brownsville company:

The company-who develops renewable algae-based biofuels-has a test facility in Brownsville, TX. At the location they have 45 acres of open saltwater ponds which will be used for optimizing the algal production.... LiveFuels plans to grow a mix of regional species in low-cost, open-water systems. The algae will be "harvested" with filter-feeding fish and other aquatic herbivores.

The idea is that the fish can harvest the algae, grazing on it, and then those fish can in turn be processed for the biofuel base. This is a different approach from current algae-based biofuel processes that may have some merit. After all, something similar is being done in Greenland, where sharks caught in fishing nets are being processed as biofuel.

It will be interesting to see whether this process saves on costs and creates a more cost-efficient biofuel.

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