Pressure Cooked Algae Soup Makes Better Biofuel
Take microalgae, add water, heat to about 300 degrees, and pressurize. Cook for 30 to 60 minutes. Although it sounds like some nutritious vegan recipe, it is actually a recipe for a new type of very affordable biofuel.
We've written about the use of algae for biofuel, but now University of Michigan researchers have been investigating the use of low-oil microalgae ‘soup’ pressure-cooked to produce crude bio-oil. Using heat and mid-range ‘pressure cooker’ pressure levels, University of Michigan scientists have discovered they can produce a usable biofuel that costs less to make and, therefore, would be more affordable for the average user.
The secret ingredient in this biofuel recipe is the particular microalgae chosen. Normally, high-lipid oil algae must first be dried before further processing. The microalgae used by the U-M team, however, contain less oil so the drying process isn’t necessary. Also, because microalgae don’t have leaves, roots, or stems they break down more easily than some other potential biofuel source plants. Again, less processing time means a more affordable end product.
This new biofuel process looks promising enough that farmers might one day be able to have their own biofuel processing operations instead of just growing biofuel source crops.
Algae soup anyone?