Perspective

An Outlook on Microalgal Biofuels

Science  13 Aug 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5993, pp. 796-799
DOI: 10.1126/science.1189003

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Abstract

Microalgae are considered one of the most promising feedstocks for biofuels. The productivity of these photosynthetic microorganisms in converting carbon dioxide into carbon-rich lipids, only a step or two away from biodiesel, greatly exceeds that of agricultural oleaginous crops, without competing for arable land. Worldwide, research and demonstration programs are being carried out to develop the technology needed to expand algal lipid production from a craft to a major industrial process. Although microalgae are not yet produced at large scale for bulk applications, recent advances—particularly in the methods of systems biology, genetic engineering, and biorefining—present opportunities to develop this process in a sustainable and economical way within the next 10 to 15 years.

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