City - Nottingham Road

Country - South Africa

About - I am a chemical engineer with a passion for renewable energy. I built and operated a wild algae pilot plant on my small farm. After harvesting the algae, I added sulphuric acid and "cooked" the mixture in a pressure cooker. The mixture was then partially neutralised before adding yeast. After two days of fermentation, I distilled the mixture in a batch still to produce a liquid fuel in the ethanol range. Unfortunately, the winter temperatures in 2009 dropped as low as -15degC! Algae production dropped to 1/40th of summer. As the economics require year round production, this killed off any thought of commercialising production on the farm. I am however, heading to Burundi to see if we can get a village scale system operating.

Role - Industry professional