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Algae may ultimately provide a cheap source of bio-fuel – one that unlike corn, soy or sugarcane – doesn’t present a “food vs. fuel” conflict, but potentially, a “food and fuel” opportunity.  Algae holds great potential as a cheap fuel source as there’s no need for vast acres of farmland, fertilizers and the energy-intensive refining processes required by other bio-fuel crops, particularly corn ethanol.

At a recent demo of their harvesting process, Ohio-based, AlgaeVenture Systems, announced a technological breakthrough that significantly reduces the cost of removing water from algae.

“For nearly 40 years, it has been widely accepted that if the cost of removing, harvesting and dewatering algae could be reduced to $50 a ton, algae could become a significant source of fuel,” said Ross Youngs, CEO of Univenture, parent corporation of AlgaeVenture Systems.

“We have demonstrated a truly disruptive technology that reduces that cost by more than 99 percent – from $875 per ton to $1.92 per ton,” Youngs said. “This breakthrough moves algae back into the spotlight as an economically viable, plentiful source of fuel.”

The company focuses on manufacturing and installing simplified greenhouse ponds near power plants, waste water plants, farm waste facilities, food processing plants and other locations where the geography and climate support algae growth year-round.

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AlgaeVenture Systems’ technology was developed by studying processes that exist in nature.  The process utilizes a variety of methods of moving water, including capillary effect, cohesion, absorption and transpiration pull, the method used by trees and plants to move water from their roots to the highest growth to separate algae and water.  The system also has applications in any process that requires the separation of water from something small and concentrated.

Bottom line — lower production cost is the key to creating, cost competitive alternative energy.  In decades to come, we may rely on fast-growing algae not only as an energy source, but as a feedstock, fertilizer, food supplement and replacement for petroleum based components in plastic.

additional source: pr newswire