Australia's algae fuel future
1st October 2013
While low energy products help to solve a significant part of the energy problem that our planet is facing, finding alternatives to fossil fuels is also essential. Unbeknown to most, Australia’s University of Queensland is a pioneer in this field of research. The institution’s Solar Biofuels Research Centre recently announched a leap forward in algae-based alternatives to oil as part of an initiative led by Dr Evan Stephens.
Algae oil has been the focal point of may green fuel research plants over recent years; some algae oils are even of a higher quality that current fossil fuel oils. Unfortunately algae solutions are still expensive and require significant engineering changes to be made to oil processing plants.
Stephens’ current research involves a grounding in the economic scaling of the energy resource and research into native algae strains that are resilient to temperature fluctuations, predators and other factors that potentially make large-scale algae biofuel plants unfeasible. He is working on developing an algae oil that would be compatible with current energy plants with the hope that one day the biofuel will be a direct competitor with fossil fuels, leading to Australia’s prominence as an exporter of the resource.
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