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Fuel Products from Waste Water Algae

January 28th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Algae, Algae Waste Water Treatment

Aside from the fact that expensive reactor systems are not required, the algae- based wastewater treatment also is unlike some other algal-cultivation (for fuel) methods that rely on using algae that might not have a particular medium as its natural habitat. This is the powerful idea that has driven some companies to make serious efforts at growing algae in wastewater for oil.

Some studies have looked into designing raceway algae ponds to be fed by agricultural or animal waste. Others are pursuing efforts to redesign wastewater treatment plants to useraceway algae ponds as the primary treatment phase with the dual goal of treating the waste and growing algae for biodiesel extraction.

Algae can be used to produce many types of biofuels. Among them:

  • Biodiesel, by transesterification of algal oil.
  • Bioethanol (C2H6O) by fermentation and distillation of sugars
  • Biobutanol (C4H10O), which can be produced from the green waste left over from the oil extraction.
  • SVO (Straight Vegetable Oil), which is algal oil directly used as a fuel. It requires modifications to a normal diesel engine.
  • Biogas (methane) production was the focus of most of the early work in biofuels from microalgae, when these were considered mainly for their applications in wastewater treatment.
  • Other hydrocarbon fuel variants, such as JP-8 fuel, gasoline, etc.

The scope of applications and the current and potential market sizes for the above energy products are already significant, and are expected to be much larger in future.

While it is well-known that ethanol and biodiesel can be derived from biomass (ethanol from starch-high biomass, and biodiesel from biomass high in lipids), what is not well-known is that a range of other fuels (and even polymers, plastics and other specialty chemicals) can be derived from most biomass. The same is true of algal biomass as well.

Of these, biodiesel and to a certain extent ethanol are the products which most companies are attempting, but these are early days and it is not entirely certain that biodiesel or ethanol are the optimal energy products from algae.

One interesting approach uses fish waste from the fishing industry to produce bio-diesel. The use of animal waste and oil to produce biodiesel is not a new technology, but the adaptability of this technology to aquatic resources has only recently attracted public interest.

The process is relatively simple. The production of biodiesel starts with crushing the fish waste. This allows the solid parts to separate from the liquids. The solid waste is turned into fishmeal and the liquid which contains oil and water is put through a special machine which separates the water from the oil. The produced oil is mixed with methanol (roughly 20 percent) and caustic soda (in order to separate the glycerine (a by product) from the production process). The fuel is then purified and manganese is added, (a naturally occurring element in nature) it is then fit for engines. The by-product, glycerine, is sold to the cosmetic industry for the production of soap and other cosmetic goods.

Source:  Read more from Oilgae’s Algae-Based Waste Water Treatment – The one and only such report in the world  Oilgae has published a unique report to assist those keen on understanding the algae-based waste water treatment technology and those wanting to venture into this industry. The Oilgae’s guide to waste water treatment is a comprehensive guide to understanding the algae-based waste water treatment, technolgies, challenges and the players that are involved in this industry. Link –http://www.oilgae.com/ref/report/wastewater_treatment/wastewater_treatment.html

Read Related Blogs:

Non-Fuel Applications of Waste Water Algae

Waste Water Already Contains Nutrients for Algae Growth! Is there a requirement of adding additional nutrients for growing algae?

Solving the Issues of Current Waste Water Treatment Practices Using Algae

Commonly Used Algae Strains for Waste Water Treatment

Similarities and Differences of Treating Municipal Waste Water and Industrial Waste Water Using Algae


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