The Earth’s supply of fossil fuels was formed from remains of organisms that died hundreds of millions of years ago. In a sense, then, fossil fuels represent stores of the sun’s energy from the distant past. Because these resources are being used at a much higher rate than they are replenished, researchers are exploring methods of capitalizing on the photosynthetic process to provide alternative fuels
The power of sunlight can be tapped to generate a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. Species of unicellular algae that are prolific producers of plant oils can be cultured in long, transparent tanks called photobioreactors, such as the one shown in the photo at Arizona State University. A simple chemical process can yield “biodiesel,” which can be mixed with gasoline or used alone to power vehicles.
Urry, Lisa A.. Campbell Biology (p. 188). Pearson Education. Kindle Edition.