Researchers found that algae growing in Roman Baths could be a great source of fuel for cars. The Roman Baths are currently at the centre of a Department of Biology & Biochemistry study aimed at producing renewable biofuels from algae.
The idea of creating biofuel from algae is not new but due to some limitations it could not be used on a large scale so far. Current studies reveal that one of the seven varieties of algae found in roman baths could be commercialized.
Having an oil-rich content and because they are easy to grow at a reasonable temperature, these algae could just be the next big option for fuel production.
“Algae are usually happiest growing at temperatures around 25°C and that can limit the places in which it can be cultivated on a large scale. In an ideal world we would like to grow algae in desert areas where there are huge expanses of land that don’t have other uses, but the temperatures in these zones are too high for algae to flourish,” PhD student Holly Smith-Baedorf, who is working on the project at the University of Bath, told BBC News.
Currently, researchers are trying to reproduce the algae collected from Roman baths in commercially viable quantities. One of the limitations regarding the algae production in large quantities is that its cell walls are difficult to break, making extraction of the oil inside an energy intensive process. This is the reason why the researchers want to use cheap filtration techniques, to keep the production costs down.