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Algae-Based Fuels Set to Bloom – Oil from Microorganisms

February 7th, 2007 | No Comments | Posted in Algae-Energy-Companies, Algae-Energy-Products

You are at: Oilgae Blog.

Do you know that oil derived from algae is an exciting renewable fuel possibility? – see Oilgae for more.

Algae-Based Fuels Set to Bloom – Oil from microorganisms could help ease the nation’s energy woes

By Kevin Bullis, From Technology Review, Jan 2007


1. Raw algae can be processed to make biocrude, the renewable equivalent of petroleum, and refined to make gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and chemical feedstocks for plastics and drugs. Indeed, it can be processed at existing oil refineries to make just about anything that can be made from crude oil.

2. Alternatively, strains of algae that produce more carbohydrates and less oil can be processed and fermented to make ethanol, with leftover proteins used for animal feed. This is one of the potential uses of algae produced by startup GreenFuel Technologies Corporation, based in Cambridge, MA.

3. Biotech advances such as new genomic and proteomic technologies make it much easier to understand the mechanisms involved in algae-oil production. One of the challenges researchers have faced is that while some types of algae can produce large amounts of oil, they only do this when they’re starved for nutrients. Researchers hope to understand the molecular switches that cause increased oil production, with the added hope of triggering it without starving the algae. This could dramatically increase oil production and drive down prices.

5. LiveFuels, which is funding and coordinating research at its own lab and at those at both Sandia and the NREL, hopes to create algal ecosystems that resist invaders of algae ponds & ecosystems by ensuring that all the nutrients are converted to forms the algae can easily use

6. GreenFuel, unlike LiveFuels, is developing closed bioreactors.

7. The growing interest in regulating carbon-dioxide emissions could also be a boon to algal fuels.

8. In his State of the Union address, President Bush set an ambitious goal of replacing 20 percent of gasoline consumption in the United States by 2017, largely by producing 35 billion gallons of renewable fuels. One alternative to food sources is cellulosic materials such as wood chips, grass, and cornstalks, which are more abundant than corn grain. But these require special processing methods, and although some of these techniques have been demonstrated at small plants, they have yet to be proved commercially.

Companies & personalities mentioned: Solix Biofuels, based in Fort Collins, CO, and LiveFuels, based in Menlo Park, CA; Kathe Andrews-Cramer, the technical lead researcher for biofuels and bioenergy programs at Sandia National Laboratories, in Albuquerque, NM; Eric Jarvis, an NREL scientist; , says David Kingsbury, the chair of the company’s scientific advisory board; Lissa Morgenthaler Jones, LiveFuels’s CEO

Full article here

Nature gave us oil from algae; perhaps we should try Nature’s way again

Oilgae – Oil & Biodiesel from Algae
Oilgae Blog
algOS – Biodiesel from Algae Open Source

About Oilgae – Oilgae – Oil & Biodiesel from Algae has a focus on biodiesel production from algae while also discussing alternative energy in general. Algae present an exciting possibility as a feedstock for biodiesel, and when you realise that oil was originally formed from algae – among other related plants – you think “Hey! Why not oil again from algae!”

The objective of Oilgae is to facilitate exploration of oil production from algae as well as exploration of other alternative energy avenues.

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