Algae-based biofuels the future for aviation - university head

08 November 2012 12:19  [Source: ICIS news]

MUNICH (ICIS)--Algae-based biofuels are best suited to provide fuel for the aviation industry, according to Thomas Bruck, Head of Industrial Biocatalysis at the Technical University of Munich, on Thursday.

Speaking at FO Licht’s World Ethanol & Biofuels 2012 conference in Munich, Germany, he said that fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) are unsuitable for aircraft, as they tend to solidify at colder temperatures.

In addition, Bruck believes that ethanol is not suitable because it does not have sufficient energy content.

While hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) fuels are compatible with aircraft engines, he believes the use of such fuel will be problematic because it is in competition with food supply.

“Plant oils are socioeconomically not viable, so HVO may not be an option,” Bruck said.

However, Bruck believes that algae-based biofuels could be the answer, as their lipid yield per hectare is good. Furthermore, algae can be produced with waste water and on non-arable land, reducing competition with food and water supplies.

By: Sarah Trinder
+44 20 8652 3214

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