As the most promising research du jour as a source for biofuel, is Botryococcus braunii really lives up to the hype as the perfect source of biofuel / biodiesel?
By: Ringo Bones
As we race against time to find the best replacement of the fossil fuels we now currently use before their greenhouse gas byproducts cause global warming to become irreversible, an unassuming component of green slime / pond scum might have potential. Botryococcus braunii, a green slime micro-algae is now a subject of an on-going research to coax it to produce more lipoproteins / fatty acids to be processed into biodiesel similar to that of recycled french-fry oil. But will it live up to the hype as the perfect source of biofuel / biodiesel?
On the bright side of things, Botryococcus braunii is not only a perfect source of biofuel / biodiesel because unlike corn or coconuts, it is not currently being used as food by us. Second, it absorbs the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere caused by our present use of fossil fuels that if it manages to replace them. If use becomes widespread, it will be a carbon neutral energy source as it just recycles the waste carbon dioxide back into fuel – reversing the worse effects of global warming.
Sadly, there is just one problem of the large-scale farming of Botryococcus braunii green slime micro-algae / pond scum biofuel is that it can only flourish up to a certain depth of water because it requires a lot of sunlight. Thus large-scale production of Botryococcus braunii will have to be truly large scale indeed in order for it to replace a significant portion –never mind totally replacing – all of the crude oil sourced transportation fuels that we currently use.
The ability of Botryococcus braunii to turn back excess atmospheric carbon dioxide back into an energy source is the most attractive aspect of this kind of biofuel production that current researchers are not even the least bit daunted by the scale of production problem. Genetic modification experiments to make Botryococcus braunii still more efficient in producing biofuels / biodiesel might solve the scale of production obstacles. But of all the biofuel / biodiesel sources out there, this unseemly component of pond scum could start an energy production revolution that’s ecologically sustainable in the not so distant future.