BioFuels and BioEnergy

Bioenergy is renewable energy derived from biological sources, to be used for heat, electricity, or vehicle fuel. Biofuels are a wide range of fuels which are in some way derived from biomass and are among the most rapidly growing renewable energy technologies. Biomass, a renewable energy source, is biological material from living, or recently living organisms, such as wood, waste, (hydrogen) gas, and even alage.

For the average citizen, algae is often viewed as a problematic growth within backyard swimming pools and in-home fish tanks. However in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions such as CO2 and a potential biofuel, algae is a hot topic.

DOE estimates that algae fuel can yield up to 30 times more energy per acre than land crops such as soybean. A growing consensus suggests that biodiesel produced from algae is the only feasible solution today for replacement in full of petro-diesel products. No other feedstock has the oil yield sufficient in volume to produce such large volumes of oil.

At Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL), algae and its relationship to biofuels is the focus of several ongoing and planned research and development (R&D) initiatives.  This R&D provides the basis for SRNS’ concept of building a BioEnergy Integration Center at SRS. The BioEnergy Integration Center is a sustainable, carbon-neutral energy park platform that couples emerging biofuel technologies with other biomass energy sources to demonstrate, at industrial-scale, the reliability and economics of integrated biological renewables.

For a draft concept paper describing the BioEnergy Integration Center, click here.