Modern Biofuels

Barriers to the Development of Next Generation Biofuels

There is much work being carried out on developing biofuel sources that have a much greater yield than the current feedstock, and this is the main thrust of third generation fuels.

While the second generation is looking at improving the actual fuel-making process, third-generation biofuels seek to improve the feedstock as well. The focus is on developing oilier crops which could greatly boost yield. Researchers have now mapped the genomes of sorghum and corn, which may allow control of natural oil production.

There are also advanced tests on the development of various species of algae as a source of biofuels. The perspective of transforming algae into fuel seems to be the solution to the problem of food-growing land being used for fuels, as algae could be grown in set-aside areas of oceans or in labs.

Microalgae: Chances and Problems

Early research has shown that algae, in particular, are a rich source of biofuels, outstripping anything we currently have in terms of production. Soya bean crops grown specifically for biofuel use can create around 2.5 barrels of biofuel per hectare per year, while algae have the potential to create between 360 and 1500 barrels per hectare per year!

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