As the world's petroleum supply experiences skyrocketing prices, looking for a green way to make fuel has become more popular. Biofuel production using algae is one green way to create a fuel source. While it is a difficult and long process, it is a straightforward one and may be the source of energy for the future. In fact, many private companies are working on mass production of algae for fuel use.
Choosing Your Algae
Choosing your algae for biodiesel production can depend on a variety of factors. Cost, efficiency and how hard the algae is to grow are all factors to keep in mind. Chlorella, a green algae, is the most cost-effective because it can be used as food after the oil is extracted. If you want algae that you can remove the most oil from, try Dunaliella and Botryococcus.
Feeding Your Algae
When growing algae for biodiesel production, choose the best quality of nutrients. All algae needs is nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, plus other components such as iron and chloride. You can use your own nutrient mix, or purchase a blend from a home and garden store.
Placing Your Algae
Your algae can grow in a variety of places. While there are kits that you can purchase with hoses to filtrate water and special filtration systems, simpler systems work just as well. Shallow water in ponds works as well as a filtrated water system. Your location should have sunlight for most of the day and some salinity.
Harvesting Your Algae
Algae is a fast-growing plant. So harvest frequently to encourage new growth. Up to 90 percent of your harvest can be picked without slowing down your algae production. Harvesting frequently encourages new growth and keeps your supply up.
Extracting Your Algae's Oil
Oil needs to be pulled from the algae. The best way to do this is to combine methods. You can pull through an oil press, but that leaves 1/4 of the oil. Mixing it with hexane, a chemical solvent, absorbs the oil so that it can be extracted.