Different Algae Biofuels

algaeVirginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech researchers have reached to the genome of the marine algae sequence which will help in producing new biofuel from algae.

Researchers at Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech have assembled the draft genome of a marine algae sequence to aid scientists across the US in a project that aims to discover the best algae species for producing biodiesel fuel. The results have been published in Nature Communications.

The necessity of developing alternative, renewable fuel sources to prevent a potential energy crisis and alleviate greenhouse gas production has long been recognized. Various sources have been tried—corn for ethanol and soybeans for biodiesel, for example. But to truly meet the world’s fuel needs, researchers must come up with a way to produce as much biofuel as possible in the smallest amount of space using the least amount of resources.


Enter algae. Unlike other crops like corn or soybeans, algae can use various water sources ranging from wastewater to brackish water and be grown in small, intensive plots on denuded land. While algae may still produce some C02 when burned, it can sequester C02 during growth in a way that fossil-fuel based energy sources obviously can’t.

Scientists in VBI’s Data Analysis Core (DAC), Robert Settlage, Ph.D., and Hongseok Tae, Ph.D., assisted in the assembly of the genome of Nannochloropis gaditana, a marine algae that may be capable of producing the lipid yields necessary for a viable fuel source.


While the French scientist Pierre Calleja has been working on a street lamp that work using algae. As some kinds of algae can convert the carbon dioxide to oxygen, and also produce energy from the organic carbon.

It’s this algae that has been targeted for use in these unique prototype lamps that would scrub carbon emissions from the air, and use the energy created by photosynthesis and the carbon conversion to power the lights.

French biochemist Pierre Calleja has been developing the algae powered lamp. The lamps are tanks filled with water and algae that convert sunlight and carbon dioxide in the air during the daytime; the energy generated is stored in batteries that come with the tank. At night, the batteries power the lights creating a bright green glow.

Because the algae used in the lamp could be such a powerful tool in keeping carbon emissions in check, the lamps could also be used in areas such as underground parking garages. The algae could go to work munching on the carbon dioxide emissions and be lit artificially if needed.

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