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THE ALGAE DREAM (1) 7

Hallo all my dear Oilgae friends,
Today and finally I have found a little time again to create a small text again. This is a little something that might not be appreciated by quite a few people here ? but it has to be said and I am not claiming that I am right! But I rather look forward to some good answers and reflections about this problem I have with the algae to bio fuel concept.
Basically when starting to discuss bio fuels we are always turning our thoughts around one thing ? how can we provide enough petrol for our cars and transportation systems once the crude oil is out or prices are to high for a broad majority to be on the move. Nobody ever discusses the god old combustion engine, or the insane use in the northern hemisphere of our globe to use oil for heating or producing electricity or plastics. Believe it or not but fact is that the combustion engine, invented and brought into a workable state 1893 by Rudolf Diesel, is 117 years old. This principle has been changed a lot throughout the years and has been developed into a highly efficient technology, equipped with all kinds of electronic gimmicks around it. But the basics remained the same and it is still burning up important resources and it is still polluting the environment. It is time for a change. But what should come instead!? Well this is actually nothing I tend to discuss here ? the main question I have is, - should we, and can we go on to feed this antique and risking by doing that, to crate even more disorder while building up an exaggerated supply system that might endanger more than it is useful.
Here now I copied a reply which I have given in Linkedin in the community group ALGAE TO GROWDIESEL. Since everything that has to do with algae breeding for bio fuel is widely discussed by a number of members in this group, no one of these participants seemed to take any notice of this ?heretical? inlay. This made me wonder. I have waited for a fierce argumentation to prove I am wrong. I am probably not right either. But from all I know up till now it doesn?t look good for algae, nor for any other biomass to fuel concept so far. But let us see what you come up with????.

Question in Linkedin/Group- Algae to Growdiesel:

Does anyone have Algae Biofuels Production Technologies Worldwide Report? I will be really thankful if someone can share the document with me. I want to study the report for educational purpose


Answer:
Hallo Mr. Kumar,
I guess you can give up your efforts. Every day just another group, or firm or person pops up and loudly claiming unbelievable things about how the world could be saved by producing bio fuels from algae. Off course it works, - and there is no doubt about it. But it is a "niche-product" and this it will stay. And such a list want last very long I am afraid. There will be a number of upspring that just will vanish, and this time very quietly.
I start to get a little bit annoyed about the persistence from the players of the algae-bio fuel front, which might be true believers (this I will give some of them!), neglecting some vital facts about what kind of masses really are necessary to fire up our transportation system and the good old combustion engine, - and this nationwide? or even world wide?
I really think there are quite a few among those actors who are only in this game to skim the market for investors or subvention money - this here reminds also a little bit like 2001 when the "New Market" collapsed. A number of investors are putting their money into something they don?t understand and a lot of people are disclaiming that this technology would bring growth and wealth until the great awakening takes place, - the insight that no money will be earned with this technology!
BBB policy I would call that!
Here just some facts (when I will get a little more time I will publish this a little more detailed!):
In our algae project (which purely produces for food/feed outlets) we need about 19 hectares for a bio reactor plant producing 2000 ? 2500, maybe 3000 tons of biomasses per year.
For the oil-industry it seems to be economical feasible if algae-bio-diesel is being produced for 0, 48 $ per litre in an ordering amount of 210 million litre ? which equals the yearly fuel requirement of 200.000 standard model factory cars. For such a production a floor space of 85 square kilometres would be necessary. The liquid volume in such a production would be 17.2 million cubic metres. This amount of liquid has to be kept floating steadily, daily harvest of at least half of the reactor volume has to be undertaken daily, the biomasses have to be dried, and, and and ??
The average lipid content (which is not bio fuel yet) of algae is about 33%. Theoretical one could produce 7-10 litre extractable algae-oil per square metre from a faultless running production plant (please notice the word "faultless"!).
One kg of algae biomasses (dried) has the calorific value of 24 mj (Mega joule) - to produce 1 kg of dried algae biomasses (waterhousehold-fluctation-movement-harvest drying) one would need 34 till 42 mj - that is for an average production facility based on 20 hectare (ponds want make so much more difference in energy consumption. The paddle wheels - losses from evaporation process that have to be filled up again - harvest - drying....) For sizes in algae plants like I have given example above the energy balance should be considerable different, - and I guess not to the better. On top of this now comes the cracking process and transport!
So much the information for your educational purpose.
We do believe in algae. It is a wonderful feedstock and an economical rewarding one, - but not as bio fuel!
AA
Fri August 13 2010 06:30:21 PM by AlgaeNova 1841 views

Comments - 7

  • Fri August 13 2010 11:55:54 PM

    Lots of interesting facts - Scharbeutz !
    But one fact that I dont like is you asking me to forget oil from algae :-)
    It has now become a passion. to pursue oil from algae and I will go after it like the Gold Rush.
    I simply believe that there has to be a way out.
    OR when the supply and demand of present fossil fuels diverge, the price wont be a constraint to make oil from algae.

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  • Sat August 14 2010 12:10:28 AM

    " One kg of algae biomasses (dried) has the calorific value of 24 mj (Mega joule) - to produce 1 kg of dried algae biomasses (waterhousehold-fluctation-movement-harvest drying) one would need 34 till 42 mj - that is for an average production facility based on 20 hectar (ponds want make so much more difference in energy consumption. The paddle wheels - losses from evaporation process that have to be filled up again - harvest - drying....) "

    Even Narsi of Oilgae has been saying in his mailers and in " topic of the week' that drying is the costliest part of the algae to biofuel.

    @ Scharbeutz

    We recently read that Unitel has a new solution avoiding drying, avoiding dewatering etc.,
    We have read about " nano farming" where again drying can be avoided.


    Lets look at another aspect of your mail.
    " For the oil-industry it seems to be economical feasible if algae-bio-diesel is being produced for 0, 48 $ per litre in an ordering amount of 210 million litre ? which equals the yearly fuel requirement of 200.000 standard model factory cars. For such a production a floor space of 85 square kilometres would be necessary. The liquid volume in such a production would be 17.2 million cubic metres. This amount of liquid has to be kept floating steadily, daily harvest of at least half of the reactor volume has to be undertaken daily, the biomasses have to be dried, and, and and ?? "

    There is no reason for me to adhere to the demands of the automobile industry.
    To make oil from algae in a lab is easy.
    To do it in a commercial scale is great.

    I guess we should be allowed to make it whatever the farm and other attendant conditions permit the algaefuel maker to make.
    The auto industry cant dictate.
    ( Can u again describe the demands of the auto industry, as it is not clear why they are asking for - whatever they are sksin for)

    As i said, earlier, we need to pursue commercialising oil from algae - once the price crosses $ 100 per barrel and more importantly, once the price for carbon gets properly determined, we all will be succesful people.

    I am an optimist Scharbeutz. And will remain so.

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  • Amanda wrote:
    Sat August 14 2010 12:30:13 AM

    People call John Benneman and Narsi of oilgae as pessimists.
    They both say that it will take 5 to 10 years to make oil from algae.
    Are u also joining the list ?

    I understand that Jason Pyke of Sapphire energy has also said recently that it will take 6 to 12 years to make oil from algae.


    You are totally dismissing algae as biofuel !?
    You stand tall above all of them :-)

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  • Veronica wrote:
    Sat August 14 2010 01:12:38 AM

    Professor Ren? Wijffels and Dr Maria Barbosa from Wageningen UR (University & Research Centre) have given a road map of how algae to biofuel will happen in the next 10 to 15 years.

    I am makiing a separate blog for that in here.

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  • Arnoldboer wrote:
    Sat August 14 2010 06:45:32 AM

    @AlgaeNova

    I agree. But my thoughts are that you are having a great time writing an article like this. Considering the fact that (if I'm correct) you have a company yourself which produces algae for the biofuel industry (and other uses as well)! Interesting. Nevertheless I think that biofuel from crops or algae can be a SUPPORT to the environment, NOT a SOLUTION. The real solution is to find a way to use way less energy all over the world. So new technologies for our cars can be part of that. But industries are even bigger energy users that our cars. Lot of people tend to focus on the transportation part of this problem. It is just a part of the problem. Solutions and problems are always just a part of the total concept.

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  • AlgaeNova wrote:
    Sat August 14 2010 12:20:22 PM

    Here one tip for the entusiastic Mia Francesca :
    Drying the algae biomass was yesterday! There are far better methods:
    Biodiesel from Algae using Ultrasonication
    http://www.hielscher.com/ultrasonics/algae_extraction_01.htm#ultrasonic_articles
    Intense sonication of liquids generates sound waves that propagate into the liquid media resulting in alternating high-pressure and low-pressure cycles. During the low-pressure cycle, high-intensity small vacuum bubbles are created in the liquid. When the bubbles attain a certain size, they collapse violently during a high-pressure cycle. This is called cavitation. During the implosion very high pressures and high speed liquid jets are produced locally. The resulting shear forces break the cell structure mechanically and improve material transfer. This effect supports the extraction of lipids from algae.
    The table to the right shows typical power requirements for various volume flows. The ultrasonic system is generally integrated inline. The ultrasonication reactor can be easily retrofitted into existing facilities, improving algae extraction.
    Flow Rate Power
    20 - 100L/hr 1kW

    80 - 400L/hr 4x1kW

    0.3 - 1.5m?/hr 4x4kW

    2 - 10m?/hr 6x16kW

    20 - 100m?/hr 62x16kW

    Biodiesel from Algae Oil
    The application of ultrasonication to the production of biodiesel from algae is not limited to the extraction of oil from algae. Biodiesel is made from algae oil by a chemical conversion process called transesterification. Despite the use of heat, mechanical agitation and catalytic chemicals, this conversion takes approx. 4 to 6 hours. Ultrasonication improves the mixing and increases the chemical reactivity of the reactants. This reduces the time needed for the chemical conversion by up to 90% leading to a whole new perspective on biodiesel making. Instead of pumping from batch to batch, the reactants are mixed continuously and subsequently pumped through a reactor column. A residence time of approx. 1 hour is sufficient for the conversion to complete. A centrifuge separates the glycerin from the biodiesel. After washing and drying of the biodiesel, it is ready to be used. Other benefits include a more complete transesterification of the tri-glyceride molecules, meaning that more oil is actually converted into biodiesel. Also, it requires less alcohol and catalyst - reducing production costs and improving the environmental effect.
    Full Scale Industrial Ultrasonic Biodiesel Reactors
    http://www.hielscher.com/ultrasonics/biodiesel_ultrasonic_mixing_reactors.htm
    Kontact Person: G?nter Heidemeyer
    Area Sales Manager Germany & Austria
    Warthestrasse 21, D-14513 Teltow (Berlin), Germany
    t.: 49 (0) 3328 437 425, f.: 49 (0) 3328 437 525
    email: gunter.h@hielscher.com web: www.hielscher.com

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  • Arden wrote:
    Sun August 15 2010 10:51:16 AM

    @ Algae NOva from Scharbeutz, @ Mia @ Veronica, and others

    Thanks for the article on Ultrasonication. It was very useful.

    " Intense sonication of liquids generates sound waves that propagate into the liquid media resulting in alternating high-pressure and low-pressure cycles.

    During the low-pressure cycle, high-intensity small vacuum bubbles are created in the liquid. When the bubbles attain a certain size, they collapse violently during a high-pressure cycle.

    This is called cavitation. During the implosion very high pressures and high speed liquid jets are produced locally. The resulting shear forces break the cell structure mechanically and improve material transfer.


    This effect supports the extraction of lipids from algae.
    The table to the right shows typical power requirements for various volume flows. "




    You can get some more principles behine ultrasonication like the above at
    http://www.oilgae.com/club/users/Kumar/blogs/199

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