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Issue 12
, 2009
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Biofuel from algae

Source: Wikipedia,Scientific American, Date: , 2009

Some high-tech labs around the U.S. have started the process of making the equivalent of gasoline and diesel from yeast, algae and bacteria. According to a study published by Cornell University scientist David Pimentel, 21 pounds of corn are needed to produce just one gallon of ethanol.Farming that corn requires half a gallon of fossil fuels.So the production of corn-based fuels lead to food shortages and is too inefficient.

The largest single use of ethanol is as a motor fuel and fuel additive. The largest national fuel ethanol industries exist in Brazil (gasoline sold in Brazil contains at least 25% ethanol and anhydrous ethanol is also used as fuel in more than 90% of new cars sold in the country). The Brazilian production of ethanol is praised for the high carbon sequestration capabilities of the sugar cane plantations, thus making it a real option to combat climate change.

Ethanol fuel is ethanol (ethyl alcohol), the same type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages. It can be used as a fuel, mainly as a biofuel alternative to gasoline, and is widely used by flex-fuel light vehicles in Brazil, and as an oxygenate to gasoline in the United States. Together, both countries were responsible for 89 percent of the world's ethanol fuel production in 2008. Because it is easy to manufacture and process and can be made from very common crops such as sugar cane and corn, in several countries ethanol fuel is increasingly being blended as gasohol or used as an oxygenate in gasoline. Bioethanol, unlike petroleum, is a renewable resource that can be produced from agricultural feedstocks.