31 January 2008

Algae Biodiesel Gets Closer....Energy Briefs

Algae biodiesel looks better all the time.
Green Star Products, Inc. (OTC:GSPI) today announced that it has successfully completed Phase III for winter environmental testing of its hybrid algae production facility in Montana....The GSPI hybrid algae production system is designed to provide a controlled algae growing environment at an affordable capital and maintenance cost, which has eluded engineers for more than three decades.

The GSPI system endured severe Montana winter conditions, which included many nighttime temperatures below -18º Celsius (0º Fahrenheit) and snowfalls of up to 355 mm (14 inches)....The 40,000 liter demonstration facility is located outdoors and had successfully completed Phase I and II of the project in mid-2007 (see details in press releases dated May 11 and July 9, 2007 at GreenStarUSA.com).____Source

Even more interesting, new algal biodiesel technology allows dual production of biodiesel and bio-ethanol from the same algal crop.
Today, Green Star Products, Inc. (OTC:GSPI), announced that it has acquired a license to utilize a breakthrough processing technology to convert algae biomass to feedstock oil and cellulose sugars for the production of biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol respectively.

The new process uses an efficient low-cost method to extract the oil and cellulose sugars from oil-bearing microalgae that eliminates the need to mechanically dry and press-extract the algae oil using traditional methods. The sugars from carbohydrate-rich cellulose and hemicellulose can be used to make a variety of products including ethanol and other high demand chemical products. The oil can be made into biodiesel and other products.

The removal of oil from the microscopic algae has been a stumbling block for the commercial production of fuel from algae for many years....GSPI has secured the technology license from Biotech Research, Inc. (BTR), one of GSPI’s consortium partners. The process continuously strips the oil from the algae and also reduces its biomass into different carbon chain carbohydrates, proteins and other constituents. BTR’s intellectual property is protected by patent pending status.____Source

Meanwhile, from a new "oilseed report":
The oilseed farming industry includes about 350,000 farms with combined annual oilseed revenue of $21 billion. No major companies dominate. The average annual total revenue per farm is $125,000, which may include some non-oilseed revenue. The industry is highly fragmented: the top 10 percent of farms generate one-third of total industry revenue.

Oilseed farming is the growing and harvesting of soybeans, dry peas, beans, and lentils; and oilseed-producing plants such as sunflower, safflower, flax, rape, and sesame. Farms with less than half of total revenue coming from oilseed aren't included in this industry, nor are farms that grow fresh beans or peas.___Source
Oilseeds are increasingly used for biodiesel production, in competition with food oil production. This competition tends to drive up food prices, which is a good reason for the blooming algal biodiesel industry--which has a neutral effect on food cropland and food prices.

North America appears to be dealing with higher oil prices fairly rationally, with fairly good leadership. Europe, on the other hand, is living in a state of near-constant denial. A few more cold winters such as this one--or even a little ice age around the corner--and Europe will be totally at the mercy of its foreign oil and gas suppliers.

Old Europe is a backward looking continent. Europe is rapidly becoming a retirement home for middle-aged dependents of government. Judging by its actions on energy, defense, immigration, etc., Old Europe lacks the will to do what is necessary to guarantee the future of its culture, its people, its civilisation.

Muslim immigrants without skills are the most rapidly growing demographic across Europe. They will be of no help in meeting the technological challenges facing the continent--and of potentially immense harm. Soon Russia will be controlling Europe's energy lease, and it does not take much imagination to see what Russia's oligarchs have in mind for Europe, once they gain control.

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Blogger Snake Oil Baron said...

I had always seen algae farming as something to use in desert areas since they would not compete with farm land but if this system really does work in winter climates it could serve as a winter growing season for some pasture and farmland. If the inflatable semi-cylinder buildings for use in the antarctic (with mirrors on one half of the inner surface to increase light) work out, an Antarctica growing season for algae oil might be feasible. Colonies could grow their energy for the dark months.

Thursday, 31 January, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Algae thrives on wastewater effluent. It does need sunlight, but high-rise racks of "trickle-down" wastewater algal hydroponics--perhaps on a rotary support structure, or incorporating "light-guide" systems as you allude to.

For antarctica--where the sun is low in the sky and completely absent part of the winter--the sunlight would have to be artificial. That would work with a nuclear reactor generator or with high-density geothermal.

Otherwise, the gro-lights would probably be needed for actually growing food crops (for the colony).

Thursday, 31 January, 2008  
Blogger Fat Knowledge said...

Do these algae farms require a source of CO2? When I first looked into this, I was impressed by the amount of energy algae could produce per acre. But, if I remember correctly they all required a source of CO2 to grow (more than what is found in the air). So, if you have a power plant with a ready source of CO2 coming off, you are in good shape. But, if you want to scale this up and have acres and acres of it, it isn't easy to do.

Is that correct, or is it plausible to convert many hundreds of acres to farming algae to replace a significant amount of oil imports?

Thursday, 07 February, 2008  

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