Algal Biofuels with Dr. Richard Sayre

Natalie Rogers January 09, 2016

Dr. Richard T. Sayre is a senior research scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and the New Mexico Consortium, and he is a member of our Bioalgal Team. Dr. Sayre’s current research interests include; characterization and engineering of primary processes in photosynthesis and carbon metabolism, algal and plant biotechnology, and nutritional biofortification of crop plants. In preparation for this year's legislative session, Dr. Sayre wrote an article called, "Science on the Hill: Driving toward an algae-powered future" for the Santa Fe New Mexican. In the article, Dr. Sayre enthusiastically touts the benefits of algae and a new project at LANL that seeks to make algal biofuels efficient and marketable to the energy market. Algae is abundant, diverse, and provides about half the oxygen we breathe on Earth. Algal biomass when used as biofuel, says Dr. Sayre, also has the potential to break our dependence on fossil fuels.

The benefits of algal biofuels make them top alternatives to petroleum products and batteries for powering aircraft and heavy transport systems such as ships. Compared to other potential fuels, such as hydrogen, algal biofuels seamlessly enter the existing infrastructure for liquid fuel refining, distribution and combustion... On the environmental side, algae grows in tanks or outdoor ponds using, in some cases, water discharged by oil and gas production, seawater, brackish groundwater and other nonpotable sources without competing for precious fresh water. Because algae grow by drawing in CO2 from the atmosphere, algal biofuels really shine when it comes to their super-low emissions of greenhouse gases. The low carbon footprint, which applies to the entire life cycle of growing, harvesting, refining and burning algae in internal combustion engines, puts algal biofuels miles ahead of traditional fossil fuels and ethanol from sources such as corn or sugarcane.

Read the full article at Thanks for the article, Dr, Sayre!