Is Algae Worse than Corn for Biofuels?: Scientific American

Algae production consumes more energy, has higher greenhouse gas emissions and uses more water than other biofuel sources, like corn, switch grass and canola, Clarens and his colleagues found by using a statistical model to compare growth data of algae with conventional crops.”From a life-cycle standpoint, algae are not nearly as desirable as you would think they are,” Clarens said. “And that was surprising to us.”The culprit, the researchers say, is fertilizer. Growing algae in open ponds is akin to producing them in a shallow swimming pool, Clarens said, so all of the nutrients — nitrogen and phosphorus — needed to keep them alive and boost their production come from outside sources.

via Is Algae Worse than Corn for Biofuels?: Scientific American.

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