Algae as spacecraft fuel? Possible, youth group says <p>Copyright @ PLANES+ROCKETS</p> Oliver Samson – Business Mirror

Algae as spacecraft fuel? Possible, youth group says


Oliver Samson – Business Mirror

CAN kelp kick you off to space? A group of young Filipino space-exploration proponents believes so.

So much so these youth organized as Orbital
Exploration (OrbX) is seeking funding from the government and spacefaring
stakeholders abroad.

“We are looking at the Philippine
government, NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] and ESA
[European Space Administration],” OrbX Co-Founder Dexter P. Baño Jr. told the BusinessMirror.

Baño said they are also considering Russia,
which has become a good friend of the Philippines, to ask for research support.

Using software, the biofuel produced from
algae would be tested on jet propulsions from small rocket models to bigger
ones, he said.

The aim of the research is to establish a
particular ratio between rocket weight and the amount of algal fuel that
provides rocket thrust, Baño explained.

Original, potential

Algal energy
could revolutionize space exploration in the near future, according to Enzo
Victor, another OrbX co-founder.

“If proven that biofuel from algae can boost
a spacecraft, I believe we can bring a new age of space exploration,” he said.

As a renewable and environment-friendly
source of energy, algae as fuel use can influence the downward movement of
space, aviation and land-transport fuel prices, according to OrbX Co-Founder
Paulo Sairel Don.

Aside from being a renewable and
environment-friendly energy source, algae also offers a number of benefits,
Victor explained. He added that because an alga is a food source for small fishes
and other aquatic animals, it’s an indirect source of human food.

Algae also benefit marine biodiversity, Baño
said. “Cultivating algae and protecting a particular endangered fish species in
an area can prevent its extinction,” he added.

Leading to innovations

According to
Victor, domestic priorities have placed in the backburner research on the
potential of algae to thrust rockets into space.

“And if some people venture into a research
like this, either they don’t get support or they get ignored,” he added.

Many talented Filipinos have made remarkable
contributions in various fields of science and technology, noted Victor. Hence,
OrbX believes the Philippine