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Algae as an Alternative Energy Source

  • Essay length: 468 words
  • Submitted: 04/11/2007
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GCSE Living Things in their Environment

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Abstract

The United States has been faced with a shortage of fossil fuels and needs to find an alternative energy source. An ecologically friendly and abundant source of alternative fuel comes from biodiesel. One method of obtaining biodiesel is the extraction of oil from microalgae. We wanted to find which species of microalgae are the most efficient producers of oil at optimal conditions. To answer this question, six microalgal strains were obtained for testing. These microalgal strains were P. tricornutum, D. primolecta, M. salina, T. suecia, Isochrysis and B. braunii. The six microalgae species were grown in seawater that was enriched with nitrogen, phosphorous and trace metals. The microalgae was contained within six Plexiglas vessels, 5 cm thick, 39 cm deep and 24 cm wide. A 2,000 watt Tungsten-halide lamp was placed at the side of each Plexiglas vessels, with varying intensity. The intensity, measured in percent, was in comparison to the normal California sun. The lamps were placed behind a water/CuSO4 thermal heater. The algae was then cultured for forty to ninety days. In the beginning of the experiment, the microalgae cultures were maintained in batch mode but later on they were cultured into continuous and

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