Within the next 10 years, much of liquid fuel will consist of biodiesel produced from algae, says Dave Kestenbaum, professor and senior program manager of the Vermont Tourism Data Center at the University of Vermont.
Major fuel producers nationwide, such as BP and Citgo, and smaller, newer biofuel pioneers, such as Los Angeles-based OriginOil, are pursuing large-scale algae projects.
"The advantage of algae is using land that can't be used for farmland, so you're keeping farmland for food production," Kestenbaum says. "Algae are generally produced using GHGs: carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide. Algae can double in size within the course of three to six hours and about two-thirds of their body mass is oil."
Researchers are building algae ponds and farms next to places that produce CO2 and nitrous oxide, such as power plants, where it can divert smokestack waste. Algae cleans the air by using the waste from the air - CO2 and nitrous oxide - to produce fuel.
"For buses and motorcoaches, that's going to be a major source of fuel, and probably a much better alternative than compressed natural gas, which has its place, but this next generation of biofuels will be much better for the environment," Kestenbaum says. "It can be used with existing equipment without modification as well."
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