There was a recent report released in January 2010 by Andres Clarens at the University of Virginia which studied the lifecycle of algae when used as a biofuel. It was the first study of its kind and the Energy Return On Investment (EROI) was only 1.06. Bascially generating algea for fuel cost more energy than growing crops and emits more carbon dioxide. There are other viable renewable sources that have a better EROI and emit significantly less CO2 into the air.
To many people’s surprise, it actually takes a lot of land to grow algae for fuel. It is estimated it would take a space the size of Maryland to grow the algae required to replace the oil used in this country. While it may not be the most efficient fuel to produce, it is one alternative that is leading us in the right direction to discover more.
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