Date: 17 Nov 2012

Energy from Microalgae: A Short History

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The current extensive research and development activities on microalgae as commercial sources of renewable fuels and energy rely on the basic and applied research on biology, physiology, culture methods, culture systems etc. undertaken in the past. This chapter provides a brief overview of some of the major steps in the development of R&D on the mass culture algae for practical applications and commercial products, with a particular focus on microalgae as sources of renewable energy. This chapter attempts to highlight the development and evolution of many of the key concepts and research in the field including the development of large-scale culture systems and attempts at long term stable high productivity algae cultures, the understanding of the major limitations affecting outdoor algae cultures, especially light utilization efficiency and the lessons learned from the development of commercial microalgae production.