Algae in Kochi Waters Could be a Source of Green Fuel

KOCHI: Prymnesium Parvum, micro-algae seen in the waters of Kochi, has a huge potential to be used for producing bio-diesel.

This was revealed by researcher Sanyo Sabu, who is working at the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat), Kochi. She presented her findings at a technical session on ‘Marine Bio-diversity, Climate Change and Ecosystem Assessment’ at MECOS2, an international conference organised by the Marine Biological Association of India (MBAI), on Thursday. The meet was chaired by KUFOS VC Madhusoodana Kurup.

The experiments conducted by Sanyo, under the guidance of I S Bright Singh, revealed that Prymnesium Parvum was ideal for bio-diesel production as it satisfies the ASTM standards – the international norms set for bio-diesel production from algae.

The algae was found to be having very high values of the properties required for bio-diesel production, namely the saponification (lipids) value, iodine value, octane number and heating value.

Meanwhile, a study led by CMFRI principal scientist P Kaladharan showed that the loss of sea meadows in the Lakshadweep lagoons would adversely affect tuna fishery. The sea-grass, which is considered to be underwater prairies, is facing severe damage in the Lakshadweep waters.

The loss is estimated to be 60-70 per cent across the five islands where the study was conducted. An immediate causality would be the bait fish used for Tuna fishing. Since the sea meadow provides habitat for reef fish, its depletion would affect them also. Excessive grazing by turtles and ecological changes due to increased anthropogenic activities are identified as the prime causes of the depletion of sea grass.

CIFT director C N Ravisanakar in his lead lecture at the technical session on ‘Responsible Harvest and Post-harvest’ stressed the need for improving the quality of fishery products, and value addition.

The constraints of market have to be addressed appropriately, with thrust on development of the domestic market. Addressing a special session commemorating the 50th anniversary of the International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE), National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, director Wajih Naqvi highlighted the need for initiating a new expedition to understand the current status of the Indian Ocean.

On Friday, Rasheed Sumaila of the University of British Columbia will deliver a lecture on on ‘Livelihood Issues.’


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