Processing Algae for Energy Production
Did you know that farming algae to produce energy has been in practice for over half a century? The low maintenance and high growth rate of algae make it an excellent biofuel source when resources are limited. It can double or even triple its biomass in just a single day.
Today, growing algae for biofuel is gaining more traction than ever before. Why? Because the biofuel extracted from algae is renewable, natural, and readily usable.
And the process is more straightforward than you may think! You can use many different methods to grow algae, but the most common practice is to grow algae in an open pond. (It’s also the most environmentally-friendly method!)
How Does Algae Grow Naturally in Ponds?
While algae plants don’t only grow in ponds, growing algae in an open pond is the most common and straightforward system for mass cultivation—and for a good reason! It’s the most natural and the least energy-intensive form of algae farming.
Open pond systems can be natural or manufactured. An open pond should have a few different features to maximize the yield.
A good candidate for a pond should have a source of nearby runoff water. By doing so, the algae get the nutrients needed for optimal growth. Also, the pond water must be kept in motion. Most algae farmers use paddles, wheels, or a rotating structure.
Additionally, warm areas with plenty of sunlight maximize the production of algae.
After setting up the accommodations for algae farming, the actual growth of algae begins, and this is the easy part.
Did you know that algae are among the quickest growing plants in the world?
Algae do not require fertile land, food, or processing energy to thrive. Because of this, algae can grow virtually anywhere. It can even thrive in energy-deficient environments like bodies of saltwater and sewage drains (as long as there’s enough sunlight).
Algae begins growing as a result of:
- Excess nutrient levels (mainly phosphorous, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and potassium) from runoff water, nearby agricultural land, or biodegradable materials
- Depleted levels of oxygen in the water
- Sunlight and warm temperatures
In a pond, algae begins growing towards the bottom or along the edges. As the algae produces oxygen, it begins to rise to the surface of the water.
And that’s it! If a pond has sunlight, a few natural nutrients, and water movement, then algae will begin to grow.
How to Harvest and Convert Algae to Biofuel
The majority of biofuel production companies grow algae in controlled environments that release pollution and other contaminants. Manta Biofuel does it differently, approaching algae biofuel production in an environmentally-friendly way.
We harvest algae with magnetic beads. The magnets attach to clusters of algae, and then the beads are pulled out of the ponds.
Once harvested, Manta Biofuel uses a system that delivers high heat and pressure levels to the algae. The pressure and heat convert the algae into carbon-neutral and renewable crude oil.
Manta Biofuel’s conversion system is less complex and expensive than traditional algae biofuel conversion systems. This approach allows the algae biofuel it produces to compete with crude oil extracted from fossil fuels on a cost level, nets negative carbon emissions, and is completely renewable.
Interested in making the switch to Manta’s algae biofuel? Contact us today!