Photosynthesis for Hydrogen & Algae for Commercial Production
Researchers from the University of Wollongong are working on new technology to effectively convert sunlight, the energy in sunlight, into a transportation fuel, namely hydrogen, while in the US algae researchers are urged to work side-by-side with algae producers, as now is the time to fast-track the commercialisation of this industry.
From the National Algae Association (US):
“At the moment, you only have OPEC to buy your fuel from. That’s it, there’s no competitor,” he said.
“If you develop a clean fuel made of algae, or butanol, then there is a clean alternative.”
(Richard Branson, December 17, 2009)
Algae: The New Biofuel
It’s renewable, does not affect the food channel and consumes CO2
Oil prices are rising again, and they’re going to continue to do so. We’re already seeing it at the gas pump. The foreign oil and gas we have depended on for generations has turned into a dangerous addiction.
The U.S. holds less than 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, and we now import 60 percent of our oil from foreign sources. The point was recently made that, at current rates of supply and demand, by 2030, 50% of the oil supply would come from OPEC nations.
Both Exxon and Bill Gates recently invested in the new algae biofuel industry. By investing in renewable energy in the United States, we will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, become energy independent and create new green jobs – and algae is one solution that takes care of all three!
We need to add the most practical renewable jobs, here in America, so we can replace the oil and gas we import from places like the Middle East and Venezuela with clean, renewable, American power. A nation that doesn’t depend on others for a vital commodity is a strong country. And that’s what America needs to be.
The National Algae Association is well aware that we will still need a supply of oil and gas as we work toward energy independence, and the petroleum jobs in the United States are going to remain and flourish. But Henry Ford’s first car is a far cry from what we are driving today.
We know that algae strains, raceway ponds, closed-end loop photobioreactors, harvesting and extraction systems developed and built today will be different 3-5 years from now. We are all in this together, and we all need to work closely together to help the US reduce its dependency on foreign oil, become energy secure and create new green jobs.
Algae researchers in the US need to work side-by-side with algae producers. Algae strains, production and equipment have been researched for over 35 years in the US. It is now time to fast-track the commercialization of this industry. So, what are we waiting for?
The NAA is all about Collaboration + Innovation = Commercialization! NAA’s mission is focused on fast-tracking commercialization of algae. Supporting the National Algae Association is supporting America’s future. Our quarterly conferences are attended by algae producers, equipment manufacturers, researches, and scientists, along with members of the legal, investment and financial communities.
NAA’s quarterly conferences are not panel discussions looking down at the algae industry from 30,000 feet. We are at ground level – presenting and discussing the technologies, processes and equipment that are currently available or under development. We collaborate and share our efforts to move algae into commercial-sale production.
ABC News (12 February 2010):
Scientists shed light on hydrogen fuel project: By Water as fuel
Researchers from the University of Wollongong, on the New South Wales south coast, are part of a group to have developed new technology with the potential to make hydrogen fuel from water.
The process would occur using sunlight from solar panels on suburban homes and schools.
The research group has obtained patent status in Australia for the technology and has applied for a patent to protect intellectual property rights in the United States.
Dr Gerhard Swiegers from the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute says researches have been able to mimic the process of photosynthesis that occurs in plants.
“Hydrogen is of course a fuel. You can burn hydrogen in your car like you can burn petrol or diesel. In fact, there are a number of hydrogen-powered cars already out there,” he said.
“What we are effectively doing is converting sunlight, the energy in sunlight, into a transportation fuel, namely hydrogen.”
While the technology is still some years away from commercial production, it has attracted strong interest in the United States where hydrogen power cars are in development.
Dr Swiegers says the technology has great commercial potential.
“Potentially we will be able to build a solar cell which you can put on your roof, the roof of your home, and then it will split water for you and make hydrogen for you at home which you could fill your car up with,” he said.
The University of Wollongong is collaborating with teams from Princeton University in the United States, Monash University and the CSIRO.