Algae Fuel Advancing in Practicality
Its deserts are hot and dry, and underground aquifers in the south are brackish or saline. By most standards the deserts in Israel don’t make prime real estate for farmers, but as far as algae are concerned —— minute plants that grow in water and on ponds as scum —— Israel's conditions are perfect. And a new company from Tel Aviv called Univerve is working to turn this natural substance into third-generation renewable fuel for today and the future.
High oil prices, and the fact that traditional fossil fuels such as gasoline create dangerous greenhouse gases, have sparked an international movement to create new biofuels from renewable resources.
The US Department of Energy already recognized the potential of algae as feedstock for biofuel back in the 1970s. But until now, no agency or company has been successful at making the algae farming system cost-effective.
One Israeli, Isaac Berzin, who founded GreenFuel in the United States, gave it a try. And the Israeli company Seambiotics is creating neutraceuticals such as omega-3 from algae, but has yet to grow algae-for-fuel into a big business.
Photo credit, NoCamels.
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