Scientists Find "Ideal" Algae for Use as Fuel

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Thursday August 13, 2015

Researchers at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), claim to have found an as yet untapped source of North Atlantic Ocean-based algae that would be "ideal sources" for biofuel, dubbing them "super-algae," local media reports.

SAMS' screening process revealed two strains of algae with a dry-weight oil content of more than 50 percent, Nannochloropis oceanica and Chlorella vulgaris.

"In order to produce biofuels from micro-algae we will have to generate high yields, so we need to know which strains will produce the most oil," said Dr. Stephen Slocombe, research associate in molecular biology with SAMS.

SAMS' research is said to give researchers a "head start" in analysing which types of algae are best for mass production.

"While there is a lot of work being done on micro-algae biotechnology – currently around 10,000 researchers across the world – no-one has identified a shortlist of the best performing strains and how their properties could be used," added Slocombe.

"This work paves the way for large scale trials of these strains to uncover their true biotechnological utility in the years to come."

"There has been a great deal of interest in the last few years surrounding biofuels from microalgae linked to a very limited number of species," said Dr. Michele Stanley, Centre Lead for Marine Biotechnology at SAMS.

In November 2013, it was reported that efforts by the U.S. military to adopt biofuels are had come under fire from critics who said the expensive technology is unlikely to yield useful results.