Israeli researchers determine sea lettuce viable but not yet economical for ethanol

In Israel, research has shown that growing and producing bioethanol from algae of the species sea lettuce has great potential. However, the study has found that it is currently not economically viable.

The global energy industry is constantly looking for renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources. Among the proposed solutions, fuel production from plant material has been marked as having a high potential. Plants are “primary producers”, that is, they are able to harness the sun’s energy and amass carbon dioxide to produce sugars and fats that make up tissues. Plant material can produce biodiesel or bio-ethanol, which can be used as a substitute for fossil fuels.

In the last few decades there has been a rapid development in the pace of fuel manufacturing from plants, and at the beginning of the decade production was close to two million barrels per day. On the other hand, extensive growing areas needed for growing the plants come at the expense of producing food crops and also the economic profitability of the growth process and gas production is often marginal or such that it relies heavily on government subsidies.

New research at Tel Aviv University, which has just recently been completed, wanted to check if innovative methods of producing energy from algae are not only technically feasible but also economically sensible. 

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