Biofuel Project Commences

A major new project to create an alternative fuel for vehicles has been launched by nine of the UK's leading research institutions.

Along with the Carbon Trust, nine research institutions in the UK will look at ways of cultivating billions of litres of biofuel generated from algae.

Newcastle University is hosting one of the main research projects, looking at the generation and extraction of the fuel.

Dr Adam Harvey, from the university's School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials, explained: "The trouble with algae is that you have a small amount of it in a vast excess of water so at the moment we use an awful lot of energy boiling off the water to get to the plant oil."

He added that the amount of energy used for extraction "can outweigh what you get back upon combustion", meaning that this is not currently a viable source of fuel.

However, Carbon Trust chief executive Tom Delay said that this "dream team of over 70 UK algae scientists", have the knowledge to turn the algae into "a British biofuel success story".

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