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Algae biofuels emission savings revealed

Just how significant are the emission savings from biofuels compared to petrol? The University of Virginia has revealed the answer for algae biofuels produced from hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL).

Its study suggests that lifecycle emissions can be reduced from 50-70 per cent compared to petrol fuels: and indeed that its greenhouse gas emission profiles are preferable to, or at least comparable to, conventional biofuels includAlgae Biofueling soybean biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol.

The algae-derived biofuels from HTL produce emissions much lower than other algae fuels: and they have a considerably lower greenhouse gas footprint compared to conventional ethanol that is made from corn. The results suggest that a shift to algae biofuel may offer immediate climate benefits using existing technologies: and in the long term, as better technologies are developed, these improvements are likely to expand even further.

If you're wondering about HTL, it is just one of the methods that the industry has been exploring in terms of finding ways to convert algae biomass into energy: these methods include lipid extraction; and thermochemical conversion.

Hydrothermal liquefaction has caught commercial interest because it integrates the existing petrol refining infrastructure with wet algae biomass converted with high pressure and temperature reaction processes.

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Paul Lucas

Filed under: Latest News, Green cars, Biofuels

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