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Making Fuels from Algae

Mark P. Rossow, Ph.D, PE Retired

In recent years, biomass-derived fuels have received increasing attention as one solution to the nation’s dependence on imported oil for transportation fuel. In particular, biofuels derived from algae have many attractive characteristics: 1) high per-acre productivity, 2) non-food based feedstock resources, 3) use of otherwise non-productive, non-arable land, 4) utilization of a wide variety of water sources (fresh, brackish, saline, marine, produced, and wastewater), 5) production of both biofuels and valuable co-products, and 6) potential recycling of carbon dioxide and other nutrient waste streams. This course explores the potential and the problems of algal biofuel production in detail. Beginning with a description of the biology of the diverse group of organisms called “algae” (Seaweed is a type of algae.), the course proceeds to describe issues related to cultivation: affordability, scalability, and sustainability. Next, harvesting and dewatering processes are discussed. The course ends with a presentation of the challenges of converting processed algal biomass to fuels and co-products such as animal feed, fertilizers, industrial enzymes and bioplastics.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.