New Method to Pro­duce Bio­fuel Sys­tem

Chemical Industry Digest - - Renewables -

Sci­en­tists

at Michi­gan State Univer­sity have re­vealed a way to en­hance oil pro­duc­tion and har­vest us­ing ‘sea sludge’. This plat­form low­ers the costs of cul­ti­va­tion and har­vest­ing whilst in­creas­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity. The bio­fuel pro­duc­tion plat­form uses two species of ma­rine al­gae and soil fungi.

Both the or­gan­isms, Nan­nochlorop­sis oceanic (al­gae), and Mortierella elon­gate (soil fungi), when placed in the same en­vi­ron­ment, cre­ate big masses that are vis­i­ble to the naked eye. This ag­gre­ga­tion method is called bio-floc­cu­la­tion.

The oil pro­duced is ca­pa­ble of be­ing har­vested for hu­man use. For ex­am­ple, it can power cars, other com­po­nents in the oil like, omega-3 fatty acids which can ben­e­fit the health of a per­son’s heart.

Other ad­van­tages to the bio­fuel sys­tem dis­cov­ery in­clude sus­tain­abil­ity, cost-sav­ings, as the big masses of al­gae and fungi are eas­ily cap­tured with sim­ple tools and an eas­ier scal­a­bil­ity, as the or­gan­isms are wild strains that have not been ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied.

This dis­cov­ery also solves the two is­sues that im­pede bio­fuel pro­duc­tion. The first is that this bio-floc- cu­la­tion­cu­la­tion ap­proach dif­fers from pre­vi­ous bio­fu­els syssys­tems as it does not rely on only one species of al­gae. The sec­ond is­sue is the high cost of har­vest­ing oil due to al­gae be­ing so small and dif­fi­cult to col­lect.

In the fu­ture, this method could be used to mass pro­duce bio­fu­els with the new bio-floc­cu­la­tion sys­tem, as the sci­en­tists feel that they could im­ple­ment ge­netic en­gi­neer­ing tools as to fur­ther ad­vance the method.

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