Production of algae biomass with high calorific value as an alternative fuel

Labels: Greece

greece_Algae_resizedProduction of algae biomass with high calorific value as an alternative fuel.

The project “Production of algae biomass with high calorific value as an alternative fuel” won the grand prize of the 2012 competition “Make Innovation Work” for Alternative Agriculture of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce (in collaboration with Cisco).

According to project developers, the two Greek entrepreneurs, the production of algae would add a new, innovative product to the roster of Greek exportable products and could have tremendous implications for Greece's economy. Initial estimates indicate that algae biofuels could eventually contribute more than €1 billion in revenues per year and support more than 5,000 full-time employment opportunities. It could also provide a shot in the arm for the country's agricultural sector, allowing farmers to easily shift from increasingly competitive cash crops to producing a high-value, highly demanded biofuel product. Algae stand apart from the majority of biofuels as a high-yield, low-cost, simple-to-implement technology. The necessary project infrastructure requires only a system of open ponds to grow the algae and an on-site harvesting and drying system used to create biomass pellets.

The developers note that algae are one of the most environmentally-friendly biofuel solutions on the market today. The cultivation of algae produces zero emissions and zero environmental by-products. Moreover algae actually clean the environment by taking CO2 from the air as part of their growth process. In addition, all necessary energy for the cultivation process can be obtained through green energy solutions, namely photovoltaic panels and use of the algae itself. Therefore, as an energy source, algae offers extremely high return on investment while being fully compatible with Europe's long-term sustainable development strategy.

The team plans to market their high-caloric algae biomass to international cement, power and steel producers as a price-competitive and environmentally friendly alternative to coal and lignite. Critically, the use of algae biomass pellets requires no conversion or additional investment in existing production lines, meaning that Europe's heavy industries could immediately substitute in algae biofuels and begin lowering their carbon footprint.

Economic Performance

Extremely high return on investment

Environmental Impact

Emissions reduction

Further Information

Source: "Business Partners", the magazine of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce (May-June 2012, vol. XI, no. 60)

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