14-Year-Old student’s experiment with Biofuel leads to lesser costs and 500% increased biofuel yield

By: | November 15th, 2014

Image courtesy https://www.googlesciencefair.com/en/

Algae biofuel is a viable alternative to fossil fuel. Many companies and government agencies all over the world are interested in algae based biofuel since algae may reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

But using algae as a biofuel isn’t quite as simple as skimming the algae from the surface of a pond and pumping it into gas tanks. Scientists have to use various mechanical and chemical methods to convert algae into biofuel. These methods are expensive and time consuming.

A 14 year old student has shown the way to lower the cost of biofuel production

A 14 year old student Gregory Martin in San Diego, California, has shown in his experiment that it is possible to lower of cost of creating biofuel from algae. He has found a way to increase the lipid content in algae. In order to make biofuels, lipids or oils are extracted from the algae.

Gregory’s process used fewer steps than other available techniques and also leads to much higher biofuel yields

He explored the possibility of using natural nitrogen depletion to increase the lipid content in marine microalgae by over 500%.  Natural nitrogen depletion allows the algae to consume nitrogen…eventually naturally depleting it.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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