A Seattle-based company has come up with a new method of boosting the growth of algae that will help make the green scum more commercially viable for biodiesel production.
This story from Biofuels Media Ltd. says Bionavitas is using what the company calls Light Immersion Technology.. pencil-shaped rods that bring more light to algae, stimulating growth:
The acrylic tubes can direct sunlight deeper into a pond of algae which could allow algae to grow up to 1.5 meters deep, rather than the about 10 centimetres depth now possible before “self-shading” prevents deeper growth.
And that density of growth per square meter could allow algae-based biofuel to compete with petroleum-based diesel and gasoline on price.
“For you to be able to grow any kind of density that’s cost effective, you must be able to break through the self-shading barrier,” he said.
The article goes on to point out that algae might just be the perfect feedstock for biodiesel, but the high cost of production have held it back a bit, commercially. This new technology could change all that.