In order to scale up and meet the need and the increased demand for biofuels, it will also be necessary to think outside the box and research new alternatives in order to be able to produce enough volumes to displace as much fossil fuel as possible.
One of the most promising raw materials for HVO100 Neste MY Renewable Diesel is algae, which also has some completely unique possibilities. Through photosynthesis, microalgae contribute with up to 50% of the breathable air on our planet. There are hundreds of thousands of algae species, from giant seaweed to small microorganisms in our oceans, rivers and lakes. But it is the microalgae that are particularly interest in relation to fuel production, as they use the energy of sunlight to synthesize sugars, fats and other complex biomolecules that promote their own rapid growth. The lipids and fatty acids they make have a high energy density and are an excellent raw material for biofuels.
Our partner Neste has researched and developed the use of algae for over 15 years. In addition, it has been found that algae cells can double themselves every other day, and many of them can actually divide and grow so fast that many of them can even be harvested daily, which provides effective growth potential when it comes to both growing and harvesting them.
The benefits of algae are, among other things, that:
- They are microscopic in size and only need water, sun, carbon dioxide and nutrients to grow.
- In addition, they thrive in salt water and even wastewater, as they consume minimal fresh water.
- As a bonus, valuable land is preserved to agriculture.
- The algae are nutritious and can be used for many purposes from fuel to food.
At present, Neste is especially working on finding out how the entire algae can be used in the best possible way, so that algae eventually can become the future’s new and scalable raw material of biofuel.