This just arrived in my email from Scientific American, and was too intriguing not to share.
September 17, 2009
Oil Rig of the Future: A Solar Panel That Produces Oil
Researchers propose a novel approach to producing biofuel using diatoms
By Saswato R. Das
a brief excerpt:
"Scientific analysis of diatom oil has shown that it is very suitable for use as biofuel, says T. V. Ramachandra, a professor of ecological sciences at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) who is working on this project with IISc researchers Durga Mahapatra and Karthick Balasubramanian, along with Richard Gordon, a radiology professor at the University of Manitoba in Winnepeg.
[Rmachandra says,] "The oil can be as much as a quarter of the total mass of a diatom cell, and if a way could be found to efficiently wrest it from diatoms, he adds, a hectare of "diatom cultivation could produce 10 to up to 200 times the oil that is produced by soybean cultivation."
Read the article and many comments that express both skepticism and support, at the Scientific American web site.
Want more information on algae as a biofuel? Search:
(algae or algal or diatom*) and biofuel*
in ISI Web of Knowledge (from an OhioLINK library). Over 70 references result, including a number of articles in oil trade publications and business sources as well as technical papers on algae bioengineering.
The library has many books on biofuels, including some ebooks:
Biofuels, solar and wind as renewable energy systems: benefits and risks / David Pimentel, editor. Springer, 2008.
Biofuels for road transport: a seed to wheel perspective / Lucas Reijnders, Mark A.J. Huijbregts. Springer, 2009.
These books, published by Springer, are accessible electronically from any OhioLINK library on the OhioLINK EBook Center. They can also be accessed by OhioLINK members at SpringerLink.com.