Algae are interesting candidates for the large-scale production of biodiesel. Researchers at TU Delft have developed a clever way of finding the fattest and therefore the most suitable examples among all the many species of algae. They will publish their discovery this week in the scientific journal Energy & Environmental Science.

“The ultimate goal of our research is to make oil-producing algae as fat as possible, then press the oil out of them and finally produce biodiesel suitable for cars from this oil,” explained doctoral student Peter Mooij of TU Delft.

A major threat to the stable cultivation of oil-producing algae is infection by other, thinner algae. One option is to use a sealed cultivation system and keep unwanted algae out of the system by means of sterilization. Although this is theoretically possible, it would be practically infeasible and extremely expensive to do this on a large scale.

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