Efforts have been made to expand the productivity and use of algae biofuel, with the goal to create a sustainable path towards a more independent renewable source of energy. Now, it is regarded as the 3rd-generation biofuel for the future that would significantly reduce the need for fossil fuels and lessen the amount of greenhouse gases that is seen as a huge culprit for causing climate change. While biomass production from algae truly brings to the table a great potential for clean energy, it also comes some serious drawbacks that must be addressed before it should be used for commercial purposes. Let us take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of algae biofuel.
List of Advantages of Algae Biofuel
1. It uses large volumes of carbon dioxide.
One significant benefit of using algae biofuel is that it will consume carbon dioxide in a massive scale, which means that we will be reducing a main contributor to the problems of climate change. Also, it does not have some negative effects on the global food prices and supply, as it does not require us to take away pieces of land that are currently used in cultivating food crops.
2. Its basic source can reproduce fast.
Naturally, algae grow fast, where the only need sunlight, water and carbon dioxide to thrive. Also, they can be produced using waste and sea water, while not affecting the water sources. Moreover, they are biodegradable and generally has “almost zero” negative impact on the environment, when biomass is being produced from them.
3. It has the potential to produce high energy content.
Biomass production from algae can generate high energy content. According to research, algae have the capability to produce more than 30 times of energy per unit area than other first and second-generation biofuel crops. In fact, the US Department of Energy claimed that algae have the potential to yield 100 times more oil per acre than terrestrial oil-producing crops, such as soybeans.
List of Disadvantages of Algae Biofuel
1. Its overhead cost is high.
At present, algae biofuel is still largely in an experimental state, where making investments in them is still very costly, while offering only very little monetary recompense. While its overhead is very expensive, its production facilities require huge amounts of land.
2. It can deplete non-renewable resources.
By producing algae biofuel, we are basically depleting non-renewable resources. For example, a component of harvesting algae is the already scarce and non-renewable element, phosphorus. And if we do not find an alternative to this element in producing such a fuel, the resource may become even more scarce, which can lead to increase in prices.
3. It lacks competition with other sources of fuel.
It is important to note that algae biofuel properties might not be competitive with other sources of fuel. Basically, such a fuel’s composition is substantially different than standard fuels on the market today.
As of yet, algae biofuel is still a technology that has been able to provide solid evidence that it can compare to the efficiency of the fuels that are currently used. However, by knowing its essential advantages and disadvantages, we will be able to have a good opinion on what it can do for the world we live today.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.