News / Science & Technology

    Researchers Test Algae Biofuel in Hong Kong

    Researchers Test Algae Biofuel in Hong Kongi
    X
    March 05, 2014 2:41 PM
    Hong Kong scientists testing micro algae to clean water waste and produce fuel. The technology is still too expensive to be broadly developed, but researchers are asking for the government's support in protecting homegrown biofuel against cheaper, foreign competition. Rebecca Valli reports from Hong Kong.
    Researchers Test Algae Biofuel in Hong Kong
    Scientists in Hong Kong are testing the use of micro algae to clean water waste and produce fuel.

    The technology is still too expensive to be broadly developed, but researchers are asking for the government's support in protecting homegrown biofuel against cheaper, foreign competition.  

    Environmental scientist Ho Kin-Chung from the Open University of Hong Kong says the process of turning algae into energy uses the intrinsic qualities of the plant.

    “Algae contains a high quantity of oil and that amount effectively extracted can be refined into very good gasoline, as well as biodiesel and that would be economically very useful,” he said.

    For decades, scientists have been looking into biofuels, which use plants as an energy source, as an alternative to petroleum-based fuel.

    Despite the huge potential, there is some debate about the impact certain types of biofuel have on land and water resources.

    Algae is seen as an attractive choice because it is easy to cultivate, doesn't require much land and can be grown in sea water without using agriculture and drinking water.

    Ho says the technology is solid, but it is not yet cost effective. In the market, he says, algae biofuel has to compete with traditional fuels like petroleum or natural gas, which are 30 to 40 percent cheaper.

    “We have to consider how to reduce costs, but if we are able to couple the fuel with the sewage treatment we can make it more attractive,” Ho said.

    Algae feeds on nitrogen and phosphorous, nutrients which are in excess and need to be removed from waste water. In March, Ho plans tol apply for a $1.3 million grant from the government for a pilot scheme at a water waste treatment plant in Hong Kong.

    “Algae is a good idea, but they have a long way to go," said Steve Choi, executive director of Dynamic Progress International, one of the first companies in Hong Kong to commercialize biofuels. "Also they need to change the genes, and you need mass production, in order to cut down the costs. Initially the product would be very expensive."

    Dynamic Progress International has been making biodiesel from used cooking oil. At the moment, the company is testing energy-efficient stoves for the Hong Kong and Japanese market.

    “Hong Kong can really help," Choi said. "It is a financial city so it is easy to raise money and it is transparent, but we need the support of the Hong Kong government, not just for the research, but a comprehensive program, funding, build a reputation, test the product, all this needs to be part of the program.”

    With more than 200 million liters of fuel consumed every day, Choi says, the Hong Kong government should be the one to test local biofuels in its day-to-day operations.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: joyeall01 from: Chicago, IL
    March 09, 2014 6:41 AM
    Has not found any other alternative fuel energy.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora