Microbubbles to Boost Biofuel Production.
International Business Times. January 29, 2012.

  “Researchers from the University of Sheffield in the UK have developed
   a new method, using microbubble technology, to double algae
   cultivation for biofuel.

The technology allows algae particles to float on the surface of the
water, making it easier to harvest them and in the process also saving
time and money. Microbubbles use 1,000 times less energy, compared to
existing flotation systems. In addition, the cost of installing the
microbubble system is also expected to be smaller than existing systems.

According to the researchers, it is difficult to cultivate algae for the
purpose of producing biofuel because it is a time-consuming process.
Furthermore, until now, there really was no cost-effective method of
harvesting the algae and processing it effectively. This new
development, however, could make such problems a thing of the past.

The scientists collaborated with the Tata Group in India and are next
planning to develop a pilot plant to test the system at an industrial
scale. In fact, work is already under way, at Tata Steel's Scunthorpe
site, using CO2 from their flue-gas stacks.

  Biofuel is produced from the oil that algae produce; it is, therefore,
an environmentally friendly source of power, since it is made from
plants, an important alternative to fossil fuels. Microbubbles, on the
other hand, are bubbles smaller than one millimetre in diameter but
larger than one micrometer. They have been previously used by water
purification companies, who float impurities through them.”

Dr. Ann C. Wilkie                          Tel: (352)392-8699
Soil and Water Science Department          Fax: (352)392-7008
University of Florida-IFAS
P.O. Box 110960                         E-mail: [log in to unmask]
Gainesville, FL 32611-0960
Campus location: Environmental Microbiology Laboratory (Bldg. 246).
BioEnergy and Sustainable Technology Society