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Is Algae Oil a Sustainable Food or Fuel?

Is Algae Oil a Sustainable Food or Fuel?

[by Scott Doughman, PhD, et al., All Copyrights Reserved] 

With respect to algae oils, we consider the word "sustainability" in current food and fuel models. Overviews discussed are intended as general contexts for 1) the planet, for 2) finished oils, and for 3) growing new innovations. Part of the discussion considers trophic (nutrient) classifications. Heterotrophic algae systems may be defined as carbon-carbon bond consumers. Autotrophic algae systems may be defined as carbon-carbon bond producers, but are also consumers of their self-made carbon-carbon bonds to produce oil. All other organisms are also carbon consumers. Efficiency models for algae oils are also based on systems theory, but isolated data may suggest theoretical systems that need further proven. Because algae are inherently part of a "food chain" or an "economy" of scale, algae sciences increasingly have discovered paradigms for primary roles for algae in the discussion of "sustainability". New technologies for biomass, waste mitigation, and food and feed products require direct consumers over passive applications, such as fertilizer, due to the difference between direct and indirect consumption, especially with respect to the sustainability of water usage to produce oils. We suggest identification of a proven oil product and the direct consumer first be established in a stable system of production and consumption of materials prior to the ability to discuss sustainability criteria. The discussion applies to both heterotrophic algae systems and autotrophic algae systems. The source of the carbon is not relevant to our equation for carbon-carbon bond flow as a measure of sustainability with respect to oil, unless further qualified. We conclude algae oil sustainability is fundamentally based on a controlled measure of carbon-carbon bond flow compared to the direct use of the target oil product for food or fuel. 

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