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Engineering Is: Brewing New Fuels

greenfuelsCorn and soy aren’t just foods. They’re also the feedstocks for alternative fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol. Some say that increased demand for those crops has led to spiraling food costs and shortages. But the new hope for biofuels is a plant that won’t compete for farmland: algae. Yep, pond scum. An acre of algae should produce 10,000 gallons of oil — perhaps as much as 100,000. Soy produces only 50 gallons per acre.  Moreover, fast-growing algae can be grown on land unsuitable for other crops and doesn’t require scarce fresh water. However, the process of growing and processing algae is still quite expensive. That’s why engineers at schools like Arizona State University continue to research affordable methods to turn algae into a truly green fuel.

Watch a video on how algae could be used as fuel:

One Response to “Engineering Is: Brewing New Fuels”

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