Biofuels are the cause of much debate and they are controversial in many parts of the world for their displacement of agricultural crops.
However, new analysis in the US suggests that biofuels from algae is more efficient than some other sources of biomass and, importantly, can be grown on untillable land. They believe that land not suitbale for farming in countries like Brazil, Canada, China and the U.S. could be used to produce enough algal biofuel to supplement more than 30 percent of their fuel consumption.
Utah State University researchers published their findings from an unprecedented worldwide microalgae productivity assessment on 26 May in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The findings suggest algae yields about 2,500 gallons of biofuel per acre per year. In contrast, soybeans yield approximately 48 gallons and corn about 18 gallons.
Their findings may help to bring clarity and stimulate investment in technology development and infrastructure to make algal biofuel a viable renewable fuel source.