The assumption is that algae-based biofuels are better for the environment. But, as they say, the proof is in the pudding. And researchers are all about proving things.
This article from the Fort Collins (CO) Coloradoan says a pair of mechanical engineering professors from Colorado State are testing to see what gases come from burning algae oil:
“What are the consequences if we were to suddenly go from zero to 20 billion gallons of algae-based biofuel per year over the next 20 years?” [Anthony] Marchese said. “Are there going to be any consequences that we may not have thought about? Recent history is littered with examples of where we’ve moved too quickly with the technology without understanding the risks.”
Marchese and [Azer] Yalin have received a $325,000 National Science Foundation grant to conduct a study of emissions from algae-based biofuels, during which they’ll look at how pollutants are formed when the fuel burns.
The article goes on to say that locally-based Solix Biofuels, which produces biofuel from algae, is anxiously awaiting the results of the testing.