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About Microalgae

Microalgae of Next Generation Biomass

Microalgae Photo
Microalgae is a general term for photosynthetic organism found underwater, They are saltwater strains living in oceans and seas, freshwater strains living in lakes and ponds, and brackish strains which can live in either environment.
They photosynthesize as terrestrial plants do, many also have higher capacities for lipid production.
Most have lipid content of 30-50% of their dry weight, and some strains may contain lipids exceeding 70% of their dry weight.
Algae is also being regarded as bio mass resource
Overwhelmingly higher lipid content per land area
Microalgae for bio mass resources do not interfere with food supply
Broad chemical applications due to fatty acid esters with high lipid and carbon content
Can be harvested year round, unlike terrestrial plants
High capacity for carbon fixation through photosynthesis

Comparison of oil production capacity of various plants and microalgae

Crops・Algae production quantity of oil and fat
Area needed to satisfy global petroleum demands
(Million ha)
Percentage of global area under cultivation
Corn 172 28,343 1430.0
Cotton seed 325 15,002 756.9
Soy beans 446 10,392 551.6
Rapeseed 1,190 4,097 206.7
Jatropha 1,892 2,577 130.0
Coconut 2,689 1,813 91.4
Palm oil 5,950 819 41.3
Microalgae 136,900 36 1.8
The source : [New energy; algal biomass] edited by Makoto Watanabe

Global Trends Towards Biofuel

Mega trend of switching to biofuel around the globe
Plans to switch from existing fuels to biofuel are underway to mitigate global environmental issues.
EU adapted a regulation on greenhouse gas emissions including aircraft fuel, on January 1st, 2012, leading to the introduction of biofuel. The Court of Justice of the EU approved the regulation’s legality on December 21, 2011, rejecting the petition from the U.S. and Japanese aviation industries claiming that the regulation violated international law.
Japan plans to greatly increase its use of alternative jet fue to 10% in 2020 (1.2 million kl).
And the U.S. Air Force is replacing 50 % of its jet fuel with biofuel in 2015. These steps are part of a rapid move by the aviation industry to create rules for addressing environmental issues.
European Parliament imposes requirements of substituting 10% of jet fuel to alternative, non-fossil sources by 2020.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) determines self-regulations to switch to 5% bio fuel for its jet fuel used in 2014 and 10% bio fuel by 2020
JAL carried out a trial flight which use bio fuel.
ASTM International announces ASTM D7566 for jet fuel derived from bio.
Boeing, JAL and ANA have explained to their respective agencies, oil wholesalers and trading companies handling distribution that they will use fuels meeting ASTM D7566 to make 10% alternative fuel blends to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2020.
The airlines in western countries have started to flight operations which use bio fuel.
ANA/Nippon Cargo Airlines carried out an airfreight which use bio fuel.
Demonstration experiment will be started by unity of public and private in full-scale operation.(Continuous use for regular flights including major airports.)
[International Civil Aviation Organization]
The global common goal is to peak out the carbon dioxide emission from 2020.
High Marketability of Bio Fuel
Existing jet fuel (refined from crude oil) is currently traded at around 150JPY/L.
Alternative bio fuel will be traded at three to five times the price (450~750JPY) of existing fuel.
Bio-fuel supply shortage should maintain extraordinarily high prices relative to existing fuel. Bio fuel derived from algae will be the main source because of its cost competitiveness
Given the above features,
algal biomass is
regarded as an important
new renewable energy source.
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