Biodiesel from algae has the potential to replace petro fuels”, boasts entrepreneur Nick Mashin. Currently, biofuels are largely derived from oil seed crops such as canola, soybean, rapeseed and palm oil. The competition between food and fuel uses has resulted in record breaking commodity prices for these agricultural stocks.
Biofuels have since become more expensive than conventional fossil fuel and many biofuel plants have become government subsidized or forced to close. Nick Mashin of Canrex Biofuels Ltd. predicts the future is biodiesel derived from algae. Algae farming has been around for 50 years, and with oil content as high as 70 percent, algae clearly has a future in biodiesel production. Biofuels such as ethanol take an equal part of fossil fuel to produce the same proportion of ethanol with the added release of carbon emissions.
Algae production, on the other hand, creates minimal carbon dioxide emissions. Compared to other plant oil sources for biodiesel such as jatropha and soyabean which yield 202 and 48 gallons per acre respectively, algae nets approximately 22, 000 gallons per acre and does not compete or interfere with food cultivation and supply. In addition to the high oil yield of algae, its added benefit is that it is a major consumer of carbon dioxide.
Mashin insists that algae operations could partner with industries that produce high levels of carbon dioxide to draw off their emissions and absorb them into algae cultivation. As well, algae farms can be compact and grown in engineered closed bioreactor systems instead of large algae ponds that require many acres.
Canrex Biofuels Ltd. is currently developing and refining its technology that will see algae production and the supply of biodiesel expand worldwide. With worldwide concern for the future of energy supplies and prices, biodiesel is a clean renewable fuel with few environmental impacts if developed without the use of food stocks.
Supporting and investing in the development of this alternative fuel will help to revolutionize the energy supply industry.