Dubai’s S.S. Lootah Group has paired up with AlgaOil Ltd. to develop algal biofuels.
According to the deal, Philippines-based AlgaOil will develop ponds for large-scale algae production. The algae will subsequently be converted into biofuel for use by Lootah.
Once initial set-up is complete, algae oil mass production should begin after six to 18 months.
From Construction Week Online:
“In line with UAE’s vision for sustainable development, this project aims at developing alternate ways of extracting new raw material for biofuels,” said [CEO Yousif Bin Saeed Al] Lootah.
“We believe that algae can be a good replacement for vegetable oil-based biofuel. We are in no doubt that this partnership will take biofuel production in the region to the next level.”
Biofuels have different levels. Those from sugars or vegetable oils in arable crops are known as first-generation biofuels. Those sourced from woody plant material are second-generation, and algal biofuels are third-generation.
There is intense interest in this last kind, as they are highly versatile. Algae can be grown in waste water, does not occupy lots of land, and does not need fresh water. Plus, they generate more oil per hectare.
AlgaOil claims algae can achieve 100 barrels of oil per hectare, compared to palm oil’s 32 barrels per hectare. Soy and corn fare much worse; soy beans generate just 2.5 barrels, and corn 0.9.