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Making Biofuel Profitable: Deriving Green Value-Added Products from Algae-Cake

The development of biofuel from algae offers promising economical and societal benefits, because it simultaneously addresses the global issues of waning supplies of fossil fuels and climate change. The primary obstacle to the utilization of this biofuel is the cost. At present, biodiesel from algae has a cost 2-3 times greater than conventional diesel fuel. However, biofuel extraction from algae also produces tons of proteinaceous algae “cake” waste. If marketable, value-added co-products can be made from algae-cake, then biofuel production would become profitable and economically viable, ushering in a whole new era in biofuels. The work of Dr. William Chirdon at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette) is discovering such a solution: converting algae-cake into bio-adhesives or binders for composite materials.