Algae for our Future
By Trish Elliott
Algae production has been suggested as a strong alternative biofuel, but exactly what is algae, and why would it be such a strong alternative?
Below are 10 interesting facts about algae:
(1)Algae is a one-celled plant that can even grow in your pool if conditions are favorable.
(2) There are over 20,000 known varieties of algae.
(3) Algae are found primarily in marine or freshwater environments.
(4) Algae produce oxygen, which other aquatic life uses.
(5) Algae are important to humans because they provide an important element in the form of food and medicine, and lately, fuel.
(6) Algae are vital in many food chains, acting as the primary producer of organic matter.
(7) In some areas of the Indian Ocean the sea surface lights up at night.(Think of the film “Life of Pi” . It is so bright that one can read a newspaper. This light is caused by tiny sea algae, the Dino-flagellata. Sometimes the lighted surface has a diameter of more than 1.5 km.
(8) Algae are used in many wastewater treatment facilities, reducing the need for harmful chemicals, and are used in some power plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
(9) Red algae are important members of coral reefs. Red algae are unusual among the algae because they can include in their cell walls calcium carbonate, which makes the plants hard and resistant to disease and wear and tear.
10 – Brown algae are found mainly in the tidal zones of temperate to polar seas, but some exist in the deep ocean. Among the brown algae are the largest and most complex of the algae; well-known forms include the giant kelp and the free-floating sargassum weed.
Algae production has been put forth as one of the viable alternatives to carbon emission fuels. It’s not only a strong alternative, but is actually is good for the environment. It can grow any season, as long as there is sunlight and warm air, and although it grows naturally in seawater, it can even grow in desert ponds, as long as there is a high saline content in the water.
In addition, many species of algae can thrive in wastewater from treatment plants and water that contains nitrates, phosphates, and other contaminants. Its water environment needs are very flexible, which makes it an ideal biofuel crop.
Interestingly enough, algae is also inherently carbon neutral and can clean the environment by taking CO2 from the air as part of the growth process. Algae farms could be located near industrial pollution sources, such as carbon-producing refineries or power plants, and help clean the air by consuming CO2 as they grow. This would be a smart and productive way to address pollution of both air and water.
Algae is also sustainable, and can feed on wastes in either seawater or wastewater, yet the high quality algae produced can be used to feed livestock, converted to bio-products.
Learn more about algae and its positive environmental impact, as well as its potential to make us energy independent.
To Learn more visit: The Green Register