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With energy prices reaching historical highs, biodiesel as an alternative fuel is increasingly attracting attention. Currently, biodiesel is made from a variety of feedstocks, including pure vegetable oils, waste cooking oils, and animal fat; however, the limited supply of these feedstocks impedes the further expansion of biodiesel production. Microalgae have long been recognized as potentially good sources for biofuel production because of their high oil content and rapid biomass production. In recent years, use of microalgae as an alternative biodiesel feedstock has gained renewed interest from researchers, entrepreneurs, and the general public. The objective of this publication is to introduce the basics of algal-biofuel production and the current status of this emerging biodiesel source.
Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
May 28, 2009