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Bio-fuel: New Method Creates Cheap, Environmentally Safe Biofuel

First Posted: Jan 22, 2016 02:31 PM EST

Researchers have developed a new method for making biofuel that is inexpensive and environmentally friendly. The new technique enables the researchers to deliver carbon dioxide to microalgae, which can be used to generate renewable fuels like biodiesel, according to a study at the University of Melbourne.

"In this work, we have found a way to purify the carbon dioxide and to supply it to the microalgae for a much more moderate cost and using a lot less energy," Sandra Kentish, lead author of the study, said in a news release.

Carbon dioxide increases the growth of microalgae. The carbon dioxide must be free of contamination, if not the algae dies. The new technique purifies the carbon dioxide that is in power station flue gases by absorbing it into a liquid, according to the researchers. The liquid is then pumped through hollow fibre membranes that appear like long drinking straws. These membranes can be placed into the microalgae beds.

"The CO2 moves directly from the liquid into the microalgae culture by permeating through the fibre walls," said Dr. Greg Martin, coauthor of the study. "Aside from being a cheaper approach, our research has shown that the microalgae grow faster than in other work done to date."

The findings of this study were published in Energy and Environmental Science.

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