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Post Info TOPIC: Exploiting diversity and synthetic biology for the production of algal biofuels


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Exploiting diversity and synthetic biology for the production of algal biofuels
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Exploiting diversity and synthetic biology for the production of algal biofuels



-- Edited by admin on Friday 14th of December 2012 01:39:17 PM

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Modern life is intimately linked to the availability of fossil fuels, which continue to meet the world's growing energy needs even though their use drives climate change, exhausts finite reserves and contributes to global political strife. Biofuels made from renewable resources could be a more sustainable alternative, particularly if sourced from organisms, such as algae, that can be farmed without using valuable arable land. Strain development and process engineering are needed to make algal biofuels practical and economically viable.

Despite limited supply and increasing demand, fossil fuels remain among the world's cheapest commodities. Prices will inevitably rise once demand starts to outstrip supply, but short- to medium-term replacement of fossil fuels by renewable and more environmentally benign alternatives will occur only if the substitutes can compete economically. One of these alternatives is based on the oils extracted from algae, and commercial-scale pilot facilities to test these are in operation. However, significant improvements are still needed to make algal biofuels economically viable. In this Review, we outline the advantages of algae as a biofuel producer, discuss the different cultivation methods, consider the options for achieving optimal algal biomass and lipid production, and the process engineering needed to make the process efficient and economically competitive.



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