Algae biofuel could be the answer to India’s energy crisis, as coal and liquefied natural gas may not be able to meet the demand. Over 99% of commercial algae biomass produced globally are mainly from seaweeds farmed near the seashore. Algae can be used as a source for biofuel and bioethanol, as well as in the production on hydrogen (used in fuel cells) and methane.
The US Department of Energy’s (DOE), National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap foresees a vital role for algae in the coming years, in energy management. Between now and 2020, developed countries will embark on large scale production of algae based biofuels. Meanwhile, in India, the development of technology and engineering practices for production of algae biofuel is in its initial stages.
Some salient features that prove advantageous for algae in India include diversity, vast coastline, sufficient solar energy, does not compete with food crops for land availability, can grow in places away from forests, thus reducing the damages caused to the eco-and-food chain systems. Algae biofuel could therefore present a great opportunity.
At the 5th Algae World Asia in Singapore on 06-07 November, and in his talk entitled “India -Microalgae Cultivation using Industrial and Agricultural Waste Streams for the Production of Biofuels”, Senthil Chinnasamy, Chief Technology Officer, Biotechnology Division at Aban Infrastructure Pvt Ltd will discuss at length on the production of biofuels from microalgae.
To spotlight on demand for astaxanthin products is Dr. Sebastian Thomas, Technical Advisor, Parry Nutraceuticals with his session entitled “Commercial production of Astaxanthin by large scale cultivation of Haematococcus pluvialis – Prospects and Concern”.
Besides microalgae, macro algae commonly known as seaweed, also has a variety of applications – as a food source, fertilizer and other industrial applications. Managing Director of Aquagri Processing Pvt Ltd, Abhiram Seth will elaborate more on seaweeds and algae at the conference, in his session “Looking Beyond Carraggeenan, from Red Sea Weeds and Algae” .