Algae growing in a photobioreactor

Algae growing in a photobioreactor

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This image is part of the feature Superfuel From Superbugs

Credit: VOLKER STEGER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Algae growing in a photobioreactor with a researcher's shadow. Algae are photosynthesising micro-organisms that can convert carbon dioxide into commercially valuable lipids, carbohydrates and proteins. The photobioreactor contains algae, water and trace elements within a closed system. It allows an even distribution of sunlight, without contamination problems typically found in open systems such as outdoor algae farms.Algae lipids can be used as an edible oil or processed into biodiesel, and algae carbohydrates can be processed into bioethanol. Dried algae is high in protein and can be used as a fertiliser, animal feed or burned as biomass. Photographed at the Fraunhofer Institute, Germany.

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