Marine Phytoplankton May Save The Planet!
MADRID, Aug. 4, 2006 (IPS/GIN) -- Spanish researchers say they
have found a way to produce biofuel from Marine Phytoplankton which
backers say could be operational by late 2007.
Bernard Stroiazzo-Mougin, president of Biofuel Systems SL (BFS),
the Spanish company developing the project, told IPS that "the
system will produce massive amounts of biopetroleum from
phytoplankton in a limited space and at a very moderate cost."
BFS, with the support of the University of Alicante, "has
designed a totally new system for producing biopetroleum -- not
biodiesel -- by means of an energy converter," he explained.
The new fuel will have all the advantages of petroleum,
including the possibility of extracting the usual oil derivatives,
"but without its disadvantages, because it will not contribute to
CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions, but will in fact reduce them. It
will not emit SO2 (sulphur dioxide) and there will be hardly any
The raw material for the new fuel is phytoplankton - tiny
oceanic plants - that depend only on light and CO2 for their food.
Among them are diatoms, a group of unicellular algae, also found
in fresh water on land masses and on moist ground. Phytoplankton
produce up to 90 per cent of the oxygen in the earth's atmosphere.
According to Stroiazzo-Mougin, BFS's system will produce 400
times more oil than any other source of biofuel.
For example, he said, "a surface area of 52,000 square
kilometers can yield 95 million barrels of biopetroleum per day,
in other words an amount equivalent to the entire world production
of crude oil at present, and at a considerably lower price."
The system, he added, will ensure a permanent, inexhaustible
source of energy, which also uses up excess CO2, thus helping to
curb the greenhouse effect and global warming, of which CO2 is one
of the main causes.
In order to replace 40 percent of the world's present
consumption of petroleum with biodiesel from plant sources, the
area of land currently under cultivation would have to be
multiplied by three, which is "totally impossible and
counterproductive for the global economy," Stroiazzo-Mougin said.
BFS's new fuel will be similar to the fossil petroleum that was
formed "millions of years ago under immense pressure and
temperature and in the context of great seismic and volcanic
activity, starting from the same plant elements that we will be
using now (mainly phytoplankton)," he explained.
It was "biodegradation of certain plant organic compounds (fatty
acids and hydrocarbons) that gave rise to petroleum, and our system
will be similar to that process," the president of BFS added.
With respect to the surface areas needed to produce biofuels,
he indicated that soy produces 50 cubic meters per square kilometer
per year, colza (rape seed) produces 100 to 140 cubic meters,
mustard yields 130 and palm oil 610 cubic meters, while algae
produce 10,000 to 20,000 cubic meters of biofuel per square
kilometer per year.
Asked whether BFS will be offering the formula and processing
system to other countries, whether they will forge alliances with
other companies, or sell the patent, or whether it will all be
free, Stroiazzo-Mougin replied that "all these aspects are being
carefully studied, from the point of view of the commercial
structure of the company."
Stroiazzo-Mougin emphasized that the process would markedly
lower CO2 emissions and that no other toxic substances would be
released, as explained by the chemists and marine biologists who
participated in the research project.
End Of Report