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Algae and Aquaculture Find Biofuels Sustainability

US - Much of the recent debate about biofuel viability has focused on the competition between crop use for food production and crop use for energy production.

This has inspired a pursuit of nonfood biofuel feedstocks, says Brad Stevens in the Biomass Magazine. The term “nonfood feedstocks,” although used by many to clearly define a better alternative to corn and soybeans as biofuel feedstocks, simply does not capture the complexity of the relationship between biofuel feedstocks and traditional agricultural production.

Algae and aquaculture offer many advantages in the search for sustainable, renewable bioenergy feedstocks. Algae have the potential to provide orders of magnitude more oil per acre of land than traditional oil seed crops.

Further, algae can be grown in arid climates with brackish water or sea water. Lastly, algae use as nutrients those things we typically view as pollutants, such as carbon dioxide from the air and nitrogen compounds in water. Unfortunately, the cost of growing algae today is too high to support fuel production alone.

the Fish Site Editor

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