Corn, soybeans, and waste oil are all known sources for fuel alternatives, but food crops used to produce fuel oil have proven to be counterproductive and waste oils are finite in supply. Corn and soybeans used for making fuel take away from food that would have otherwise gone to consumers. This creates the potential to raise food prices. Food crops used to make fuel are also not as efficient as algae. It takes an acre of soybeans to make about 50 gallons of oil and an acre of corn to make only about 20 gallons of oil. In contrast, an acre of algae will produce about 10,000 gallons of oil over the course of a year. This difference is one of the main reasons that algae biodiesel has gained popularity in the race to produce alternative fuels but there are many other reasons why many people are considering it.
The economical nature of algae biodiesel means that 15000 square miles of algae farms would be able to produce enough biodiesel to power all of the cars, trucks, and other gas powered transportation in the US. If the US began farming operations on this scale we would be able to almost entirely eliminate our need for oil and fossil fuels. This farming figure may seem like a lot, but is only 300 square miles of algae farms per state, and larger states could easily spare more than 300 square miles for such farms. The environmental impact of algae biodiesel is nothing compared to fossil fuel use which means that we would also be helping to solve global warming and other climate issues caused by fossil fuels.
Algae biodiesel is also easy to produce compared with other types of biodiesel that require filtering and titrating. It is even possible to produce algae biodiesel at home which means that consumers would be able to produce their own fuel and reduce their individual need for oil. Individuals can take control of their own fuel needs and take some of the power away from big energy suppliers. This possibility means that energy costs could potentially fall even form the big producers.
Making algae biodiesel at home is not easy, however, but it is possible and very economical. Using algae to create fuel means that there is no waste and consumers can stop depending on oil with its quickly rising prices for their fuel needs. Every consumer has been impacted by the sharp rise in oil prices and if they continue to soar many people will end up not being able to afford their daily commute or will not be able to afford other necessities such as food in order to continue driving. There is no doubt that alternative fuel sources must be developed and quickly; ones that are sustainable and affordable for consumers.
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