DOE Releases Final Version of the “National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap”

By Jonathan Williams

The DOE just released the finalized version of the algae biofuel roadmap yesterday that outlines some of the barriers that need to be overcome before algae fuels can be successfully commercialized.

The paper offers little guidance on what strategies hold the most promise to replace petroleum-derived fuels in the long term. But it paints a picture of the extensive research that will be needed to do so. “The Roadmap Workshop effort suggests that many years of both basic and applied science and engineering will likely be needed to achieve affordable, scalable, and sustainable algal-based fuels,” DOE wrote.

Al Darzins, a contributor to the report and group manager with the National Bioenergy Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, stressed in an interview that algae is far less developed, technologically, than biodiesel fuel or corn ethanol.

“We need to understand the biology much better before we have, in the future, systems that work consistently,” Darzins said.

He pointed to the need for work on robust strains of algae and genetically enhanced strains to optimize qualities useful in fuel production, as well as in devising growth systems like open ponds or closed containers that will allow for inexpensive algae “farming.”

“One thing that comes across loud and clear [in the report] … is that the path to algal biofuels commercialization will not be totally dependent on any one unit operation or technology but rather on the industry’s ability to string together or ‘integrate’ robust and scalable technology solutions into an entire process (i.e., soup to nuts) that makes sense from a sustainability, policy and cost perspective,” he said.

Read some more of this story here: nytimes.com/gwire/2010/06/29/29greenwire-doe-sees-long-road-ahead-for-algae-fuels-37036.html

UPDATE: Click Here to download the entire “National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap”

2 Responses to “DOE Releases Final Version of the “National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap””

  1. [...] more research is exactly what is needed. In fact, the DOE’s recent release of the finalized “National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap” states that [...]

  2. [...] and more research is exactly what is needed. In fact, the DOE's recent release of the finalized “National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap” states that much.See, with algae, we seem to be somewhere in the middle of the entire [...]

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