Algae research

Algae research

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This image is part of the feature Superfuel From Superbugs

Credit: VOLKER STEGER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Algae research. Researcher from GreenFuel Technologies, USA, examining algae strains in a fume hood. Algae are photosynthesising micro-organisms that can convert carbon dioxide into large concentrations of lipids, carbohydrates and proteins. GreenFuel Technologies has built a system that feeds waste carbon dioxide (CO2) from smokestacks into an algae bioreactor. Algae lipids can be used as an edible oil or processed into biodiesel. Algae carbohydrates can be processed into bioethanol and dried high-protein algae can be used as a fertiliser, animal feed or burned as biomass. Algae cultivation offers many advantages, including rapid growth rates, high yields and utilisation of waste products, however lipid extraction remains costly. Photographed in 2007.

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