A new life cycle analysis of fuels made from algae, such as gasoline, low sulfur diesel and jet fuel, concludes they can cut greenhouse gas emissions by 68 percent over petroleum. The same peer reviewed research shows that the energy that can be obtained from algae-derived fuels exceeds the amount of energy needed to produce them, and they are even approaching energy returns that are comparable to petroleum. ABO’s press release has more details.
This research is significant because it is the first life cycle analysis that looks at data from real world production. Most previous studies have used laboratory data or theoretical projections. The fact that data from an operating algae-to-energy farm shows such great results is extremely encouraging for an industry that is moving quickly toward commercial production.
One other important note about the state of today’s algae technology is the rapid pace of development. The authors of the study note that with expected improvements in the industry algae biofuels are set to surpass advanced biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol in terms of both energy returns and greenhouse gas emissions.