WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2017 - Scientists have been struggling to harness the energy potential in algae since the 1970s, but a new report reveals it may not be worth the risk. Microalgae Biofuels: Myths and Risks, produced by Biofuelwatch, calls upon governments to end public-sector support for algae biofuels due to large-scale production’s potential to result in potentially toxic algal blooms. “As we are witnessing more frequent toxic algae blooms such as those currently plaguing the Finger Lakes region in New York, it seems particularly unwise to be encouraging mass-scale production and inevitable release of (genetically engineered) GE microalgae,” said Rachel Smolker, co-director of Biofuelwatch. “Scientists are clear that GE microalgae will inevitably escape from cultivation facilities.” The report argues that microalgae cannot be contained in industrial facilities. Researchers warn strains engineered for resilience and high reproduction could overtake natural strains, resulting in catastrophic fish kills escalating into widespread human illness. Biofuelwatch is an environmental organization based in the United Kingdom and the United States, which works to raise awareness of the negative impacts of industrial biofuels and bioenergy.

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