Algal Biofuels

The term "algae" refers to a great diversity of organisms—from microscopic cyanobacteria to giant bladder kelp. Most algae convert sunlight into energy in a similar manner as plants; however, the genetic diversity of the many kinds of algae gives researchers an incredible number of unique properties that can be exploited to develop promising algal biofuel technologies. The key to algae's potential as a renewable fuel source lies in the high productivities of algal biomass that can be grown in each area; some researchers say algae could be 100 times more productive than traditional bioenergy feedstocks. Achieving the potential for these high productivities in real-world systems is a key challenge to realizing the promise of sustainable and affordable algal biofuels.