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Algae biofuel costing - Questionable ?!? 89

Energy Biosciences Institute  in partnership with BP, the University of California, Berkeley; the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and the University of Illinois have arrived at an estimate for algae biofuel production.

It is
 "
The estimated capital costs for a 250-acre biofuel production system emphasising oil production were about $21 million, with annual operating costs at around $1.5 million, to produce about 12,300 barrels of oil, giving a break-even price per barrel of oil of $330 (based on an 8 percent capital charge).
 Increasing the scale of the system to 1,000 acres reduced the break-even price to about $240 per barrel.
 "

I thought some of the figures our FOA ( ie Friends of Algae) and oilgae club members were quoting  making algae biofuels were way too less as compared to  $ 240 per barrel. 

* Do we have a proven model of producing algae biofuel using a PBR ? 
* How much does it cost ? 
The numbers quoted by our members made me believe that Open ponds are out and PBR is the way to go? 
* Are the numbers quoted by Energy  Biosciences Institute questionable or the numbers quoted by our members questionable ?
Wed November 03 2010 10:51:21 PM by Jacintha EBI  |  algae biofuel costing  |  algae biofuels costing  |  algae biofuels  |  8869 views

Comments - 66

  • Emily wrote:
    Wed November 03 2010 11:43:18 PM


    I wish EBI has given various heads of the costing. In the sense how much does it cost to cultivate algae and for extraction. The costing is way too high.

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  • Richard wrote:
    Wed November 03 2010 11:49:33 PM

    I started doing some search and th efirst result was
    from oilgaeclub itself

    See the slides
    http://www.slideshare.net/waterfry/presentation-algae


    posted by waterfry. CAn i request waterfry to answer jacinthas query?


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  • Richard wrote:
    Wed November 03 2010 11:55:19 PM

    Let me quote Alan Schafer in one of his posts

    " If one is to make a significant dent in CO2 emissions then you have to mitigate the CO2 coming from the big stationary emitters.
    Our designed system will (with advanced GM cynobacteria and/or algae) absorb ~ 4,000 scfm of CO2
    per 1,000,000 gal. of reactor capacity. So if you have a medium
    size emiter of ~ 20,000,000 scfm
    you would need five 1,000,000 reactors.
    Use the math in my previous posts and you will see that this runs into serious money. If you have a system that is big enough to grow enough algae to make it worth while, real money can be made and one can recycle CO2.... one
    more time.
    We have to view CO2 as a valuable
    resource. This is the primary
    feed stock for our bio-reactors.

    It may be free or we may share (pay rent) our profits with the emitter. In any case it has value, and lots of value. One will not bubble CO2 up through the algae/water mix, this is wasteful and not green and dangereous on a large scale.
    The system MUST operate 24/7/365.

    Solar raceways/ponds on this scale would be totally too expensive and would be in direct competion with food crop land. "

    Now, is Alan Schafer right or UC Berkely right ?

    Vote Up! 4 Vote Down! 0

  • Shankar wrote:
    Thu November 04 2010 02:45:28 AM

    What we need is costing for  different heads like

      
       Mixing ,
     Aeration
     Nutrient
     Harvesting 
     extraction 
     Labour
     Water  
    electricity
    lights etc

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  • Anna wrote:
    Thu November 04 2010 02:57:17 AM

    What about the cost of transesterification ?

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  • Duncan wrote:
    Fri November 05 2010 07:41:50 AM

    Thisis interesting. Lets get more views/ math / figures.

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  • Fri November 05 2010 09:24:37 AM

     

    Richard,  we are both right. 

     

      Our 1,000,000 gallon PBRs will cost about $3,000,000 each.

    In my quote you reference above, we are talking about 1 PBR converting 4,000 scfm of CO2

    into algae biomass.  OOPS!!  I see some numbers have changed.  In your quote, "So if you have a medium size emitter of ~  20,000,000 scfm"   We need to drop 000!  It should read ~20,000 scfm.  of CO2.

    Looks like it will take 5 PBRs to handle 20,000 cfm of CO2  from this emitter.

    5 X $3,000,000 each = $15,000,000.

     

    I have been told that it would take ~ 12,000 acres of open ditches or raceways to handle this CO2 load.   12,000ac. / 250ac./unit = 48 units of the size the university people are talking about at the top of the page.  Their stated cost per 250ac unit is "about 21,000,000".

     

    48 units X $21,000,000 = $1,008,000,000.  HELLO!  

     

    But look at the bonuses they get......A system that only 'works' half the time.

    A system that, if the use plastic ditch liners is only going to last 4 to 5 years.

    A system that is going to be a nightmare to keep 'clean'.

    A system that will freeze in the winter and lose millions of gallons of water per day in the   summer.  What are the pumping costs to replace that water?  What about salting problems with all of that evaporation?  OMG!

    Alan Schaefer

     

     

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  • Manohar wrote:
    Sat November 06 2010 04:36:20 AM

    http://www.ascension-publishing.com/BIZ/Algae-EBI.pdf

    Hope you guys have looked at this.

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  • Sat November 06 2010 01:09:58 PM

    $1,008,000,000.?


    Isnt that a billion dollars ??

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  • Sat November 06 2010 01:16:07 PM

    While Alan is focussing on the capital cost, it is also important to look at?


    final cost of algal oil per gallon.

    They have said that it is not going tobe viable ie it is not going to be in the region of $ 60 to 80 per barrel. ?

    They say that unless one goes thru the route of bioremediation or waste water remediation OR with a co product ( i guess hvp) it is not viable.


    What is important is that they didnt even mention CO2 absorption from a coal plant.

    The report has 178 pages and is interesting to read.

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  • Sun November 07 2010 05:18:10 AM

    Mia, et, al.

    Yes, that is a billion dollars.    And we are using 'their' figures not my own.  All you need is a 10 diget calculater and some common sense to see the folly of their ways.   I know you have both.

     

    Algae are plants, right?   We grow them in water, that's called aquaculture, right?

    When 'they' were adding up their costs of production, do you think 'they' may have used

    the cost of some extremely overpriced lab mix of fertillizer in figureing their cost of production?

    Alan Schaefer

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  • Richard wrote:
    Sun November 07 2010 12:42:40 PM


    Details of their costing is given in 
    http://www.ascension-publishing.com/BIZ/Algae-EBI.pdf

    This is really interesting. Theoreticians and those practice seriously crossing swords.

    It is also true that BP has invested or atleast committed to invest $ 500 m over a period of 10 years for studying algae to oil.

    There is always suspicion when a fossil fuel sponsored company makes either estimates or projections in relation to energy either bio energy or otherwise.

    I repeat

    http://www.ascension-publishing.com/BIZ/Algae-EBI.pdf

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  • Sun November 07 2010 03:14:40 PM


    "

    Closed bioreactors are reviewed briefly.Although they are unsuitable for large scale biomass production, they have applications for starter cultures ( inocula).


    Similary heterotrophic algae production is not considered extensively due to high cost of needed reactors and feedstocks. "


    This is what the report says.?

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  • Sun November 07 2010 03:34:20 PM

    You can read Martin LaMonica's views in CNET at?

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-20021926-54.html

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  • Tue November 09 2010 01:29:21 AM

    Mia,and others, would you please look again at my post on Fri. Nov. 5th.? Show me where I have run off the track.?

    I would appreciate your input very much.

    Alan

    Vote Up! 18 Vote Down! 3

  • Shankar wrote:
    Tue November 09 2010 10:30:02 PM

    Why hasnt Energy biosciences not considered a pbr. They have outlined and estimated costs for each of the five routes.

    But why no pbr. 


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  • Wed November 10 2010 06:18:20 AM

    Shankar,   "Why do 'they' ignore PBRs?"

     

    Oh, I can think of several reasons. 

    No imagination!

    Very limited experience "in the real world".

    No intestional fortitude.

    They are scared to death of making a mistake.

     

    JEEEZE     I get nasty after midnight. 

    Good  night

    Alan

     

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  • Wed November 10 2010 11:53:57 PM

    I agree with Alan that in an academic set up there is this fear of failure. Most academicians and Profs are those who never failed in the examinations.

    :-)?

    They dont want to be wrong ever. they cant afford to be wrong.


    Why dont we work on Alan Schafear's PBR model incorporating all the heads that EBI / UC Berkely ?has given.?


    Let us include all costs and arrive at

    a. cost of bio mass

    b. scalability

    c. usage of CO2

    d. costs for strain selection

    e. harvesting

    f. solvent extraction

    g. transesterification

    etc


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  • Thu November 11 2010 02:00:27 PM

    Mia, if the rest go along with this excellent suggestion of yours, I will be glad to cooperate.  I am sure it will be a learning experience for all involved,  and me most of all.

    Alan Schaefer

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  • Shankar wrote:
    Thu November 11 2010 02:28:31 PM

    I like the humility Alan.


    You shoud be leading.
    Others will either give their costing or will say the process wont work. Or it wont work for this species or this solvent etc., Hvent we seen all this.
    go ahead Alan. You got to start.

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  • Thu November 11 2010 10:48:15 PM

    More of the same

    http://www.thegreencarwebsite.co.uk/blog/index.php/2010/11/09/algae-biofuel-ten-years-away-from-viability/

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  • Arden wrote:
    Fri November 12 2010 04:46:02 AM

    Alan?


    I agree with Mia and shankar. U lead.

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  • Fri November 12 2010 06:26:16 AM

    When I have the time I will be glad to contribute and to a certain extent lead the discussions.  But I will need help.  Please tell me when you think I am going wrong.  I will try to correct the error of my ways.

     

    OK, here we go.   Where are we going???  How are we going to get there???  Who is going to drive? 

    Where are we going?   What are our goals?   Save the earth from some of the greenhousegas

    emissions?   Make money?  Provide jobs?  

     

     You add more to this list.

     

     

    Are we sure we want to do this with light?  What about 'hetro-,'  grow in the dark like Solazyme.   Sure would cut out a lot of expense, 

    What would be some other advantages?

     

    What would be some disadvantages?

     

    This is going to take participation by everyone if it is going to be a learning experience for all.

     

    Well, it's midnight, you know how mean I get after midnight, good night friends.

    Alan Schaefer  

     

     

     

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  • Fri November 12 2010 10:21:26 AM

    As I initiated, I will answer.

    Where are we going etc


    We are wanting to accomplish a model for costing for the entire process. From cultivation in?

    Alan's PBR to extracted oil.

    Why are we doing it?

    We are convinced that a PBR is the way to go. No contamination. No land grabbing. Good control.

    Our objective is to arrive at the costing of the PBR route and show EBI the difference between the cost in open ponds vs PBRs. Especially large pbrs like the ones Alan is designing.

    Our objective is to arrive at the cost of final oil . compare with EBI's ?$ 240 per barrel.

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  • Emily wrote:
    Fri November 12 2010 11:34:55 PM


    Before embarking on assembling experts in each field like, solvent extraction / ultra sonication, cell separation, lighting, dewatering etc.,
    let us first arrive at the reasons why NO pbr by EBI.

    I suggest a. we debate it ourselves. we discuss it ourselves.
    Alternatively, we can ask the authors of the EBI to answer, like how Robert Rapier answered about a blog by Blake, here.

    Or like how Jonathan Wolfson reacted to the blogs crying that the cost of algae oil that Solazyme supplied to the US Navy cost $ 424. He came on an interview / press meet and said the cost included the cost of setting up the R and D for the oil.

    Similarly the authors of the EBI report can be asked about pbr.
    I would go one step further and say, why dont we all raise the questions that we want them to answer in this forum first and then write to them.

    What do u say - Mia, Alan, Shankar, Blake et al

    Where are Andres Abhraham, Larsyn,  Abomoro,  these days !!

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  • Emily wrote:
    Fri November 12 2010 11:40:13 PM



    I am continuing. 

    " The areas the study identified as essential for R&D are in both the biology and engineering fields. The ability to cultivate stable cultures under outdoor conditions, while achieving both high productivities and oil content, is still to be developed. Despite the well-known rapid growth rate of algae, increasing the volume of algae oil produced per unit of surface area per year is a crucial goal. Oil-rich algae strains that are biologically competitive with contaminating wild species and that consistently grow well in various climates are needed. Other key steps to be improved are low-cost harvesting of microscopic algae cells and the extraction of their oil content, as well as dealing with the biomass residue remaining after oil extraction"

    This is the crux of what the report says. It doesnt mean that once biology and gene modification develope the ultimate algae species that 

    grows fast
    has high lipids
    doesnt contaminate
    easy to harvest
    easy to extract

    WHY cant it be put in a PBR ?

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  • Sat November 13 2010 01:46:43 PM

    Good morning FOA,

    Well its Saturday here in the USA and I have a few hours to be on line.? We started out with

    what are our goals in scaling up any type of CO2? mitigation.? What I want to do this morning is

    to go back to one of my early posts and lay out the possible gross returns for a medium size?

    ?emitter we are working?with to help them be proactive with their CO2 emissions problem.?In

    this??post I show what could be the gross returns for converting 25,000 cfm of CO2 through?

    ?algae??into two revenue producing streams.? Here we are talking about phototrophic?algae, we

    ?might use heterotrophic algae or bacteria, they all have advantages and disadvantages.? So?

    here is a copy of that blog.?? At the end of this copyed blog? we will start out with the capital

    cost of a modern high capacity PBR system.

    ?

    ######################################################################

    Fri October 01 2010 05:13:48 PM by SAMDevelopment 22

    Some numbers from the past. (blogs)

    Let's continue with the math on a industrial algae
    system that converts 25,000 scfm of CO2 into crude algae oil and dry algae meal.
    BTW, what is going to happen to the very 'thin' market
    of high priced speciality products when, let's say 50
    of these systems come on line? Can you say ""POOOF""!

    ANSWER TO QUESTION #3 OF "MONDAY MATH." POST 2
    Question #3: What is the GROSS returns in dollars for the production of two algae products....oil and protien meal? We assume that the algae production will be equally divided; 50% oil and 50% meal.

    Here are some additional assumptions: oil sells for $80.00 per barrel, algae meal sells for $300.00 dollars per ton.

    OK, here we go.....

    Lets solve this problem for one days production first.

    We know from Q #2 that we are producing 793.368 tons
    of dry algae per day from a CO2 source of 25,000 scfm.

    We assume that this dry algae is 50% oil and 50% meal.

    793.368 tons per day of dry algae
    ./. 50% 50/50 oil and meal
    = 396.684 tons of oil and tons of meal per day

    Lets work with the meal first.

    396.684 tons of meal per day
    X $300 $300.00 per ton = ~what SBOM is worth
    119,005.20 Dollars per day for algae meal

    Now lets work the returns for the algae oil.

    396.684 tons of oil per day
    X 2,000 lbs. per ton
    = 793,368 lbs. oil per day

    793,368 lbs. oil per day
    ./. 7.5 lbs. per gallon of oil
    105,782 gals of oil per day

    105,782 gals of oil per day
    ./. 42 gals of oil per barrel
    =2,518.6 barrels of oil per day
    X $80 $per barrel
    =$201,488 Dollars per day from algae oil
    119,005.20 Dollars from algae meal per day
    =$320,493.20 Total gross dollars per day

    WHAT IS RETURN PER MINUTE?

    320,493.20 returns per day for oil and meal
    ./. 1,440 # of minutes in a day
    = $222.56 Dollars per minute

    WHAT IS THE DOLLARS PER YEAR??

    $320,493.20 returns per day for oil and meal
    X 365 Days per year
    =$116,980,018.00 GROSS Return per year 25,000 scfm

    NOW THERE IS A WORTH WHILE GOAL!

    HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND

    A man and his dog.

    Alan Schaefer and "Annie"

    ############################################################

    ?

    GREAT!??? The blog?copied over.? OK, in our system figure we can convert ~4,000 cfm of CO2

    into algae with a 1,000,000 gallon PBR? every minute.? So

    ?

    I better quite and relog on or I will be terminated.


    ?

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  • Sat November 13 2010 03:07:39 PM

    Page two.

    So we have 25,000 cfm of COconvert only 4,000cfm per 1,000,000 gal PBR.

    25,000 / 4,000 = 6.25 PBRs.  We will probably end up with 7 PBRs or if the efficientcy of the converting process increases a little we can get be with 6 PBRs.  In real life we probably need an extra one to be on stand-by....we will name it "Murphys fix".  But for today we will talk about 6 PBRs.

    I can talk in generalities about our PBR system size, general shape, footprint etc. BUT, I can't

    describe the inner workings,  you will just have to wait for the patent to be issued for that teaching.

    So to find our capital cost we need basically to know two things; how much will the system cost and how long do we want to depreciate it. (how long will it last)

    I have bids on the general construction and most of the internals and processing eguipment.

    That comes to about 2,5 million per reactor, I rounded off at 3 million per one PBR.

    We expect the concrete structure to last at least 30 years but we will depreciate it in 20 years.

    So, $3,000,000 / 20 years = $150,000/year depreciation cost.

     Or $150,000 / 365days = $410.95 per day.  Now we have an idea of what our equipment cost is per day for one PBR.

    If this is a LED lighted reactor we are talking about and it is, the electric bill will be about $600 per day and that includes the harvesting and oil separation.

    Our land cost is worked in with the $3,000,000 PBR cost.  Our footprint is only about 11,000 sq.ft per PBR.

    What is the gross revenue per day per reactor?  In the post I copied and pasted above we see that 6 reactor will have a gross revenue stream of $320,493.00 per day. We are working with one. So $320,493 / 6 reactors = $53,415.

    So now we know our gross revenue per day is ~$53,415.00  Our depreciation and operating expense  together is about   .............--$  1,010.95  per day

                                                                                 $52,404.05   per day gross, we need to take more expenses off!

    So we have subtracted some expenses from the gross income flow can you think of more??? what about labor, insurance, taxes, company cars and trucks, fertillizer etc.

    Have fun.  Alan 

    Vote Up! 2 Vote Down! 0

  • Emily wrote:
    Sat November 13 2010 08:27:07 PM

    According to Berkeley Lab, the Nobel Prize has been won in the past by 11 scientists affiliated with the facility.


    Berkely Lab are co authors to this note from EBI.

    Therefore we tread with caution. Let us look at why what we are doing is right and how it can be done without doubt.

    In fact, to me it looks like that we first need to prove that PBR is the way to go. 
    Why and how it scores over the raceway ponds. 

    Vote Up! 0 Vote Down! 1

  • Sun November 14 2010 12:03:57 AM


    I agree with you Emily. The first question is why a PBR is the best to work with .Then what is the cost comparison.?

    Let us do that. In the meanwhile an article on EBI's costing and timelines of algae fuel.



    Algae Biofuels Dealt a Blow by BP funded EBI
    Written by Al Fin
    Monday, 08 November 2010 14:58

    The Energy Biosciences Institute -- funded by a $500 million grant from oil giant BP -- has released a "technoeconomic" report meant to cast a discouraging pall over the future of algal biofuels, chemicals, and plastics production. It is easy to see why BP might want to hold off the coming deluge of algal fuels -- at least for another few decades. There are still a lot of profits to be made in the old-fashioned crude oil business, once the lords of energy starvation are finally removed from office.

    It is also true -- as the report states -- that growing pure algal monocultures for oil extraction is a difficult and costly enterprise, likely to require several more breakthroughs before becoming profitable and capable of scaling to industrial size. But did the report actually address the relevant and likely timeline for the early and middle evolution of algal energy, fuels, plastics, and chemicals?


    It does not appear that the authors of the report even came close to a realistic assessment of the likely evolution of algae for energy, fuel, plastic, or chemicals. Here's one look at EBI's report:?

    A new report from the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) in Berkeley projects that development of cost-competitive algae biofuel production will require much more long-term research, development and demonstration. In the meantime, several non-fuel applications of algae could serve to advance the nascent industry.

    'Even with relatively favourable and forward-looking process assumptions (from cultivation to harvesting to processing), algae oil production with microalgae cultures will be expensive and, at least in the near-to-mid-term, will require additional income streams to be economically viable,' write authors Nigel Quinn and Tryg Lundquist of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), which is a partner in the BP-funded institute.

    Their conclusions stem from a detailed techno-economic analysis of algal biofuels production. The project is one of the over 70 studies on bioenergy now being pursued by the EBI and its scientists at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and Berkeley Lab.

    ... Four key resources (suitable climate, water, flat land and carbon dioxide) must all be available in one location for optimal algal biomass production. The authors state that despite the need for all four resources, algal oil production technology has the potential to produce several billion gallons annually of renewable fuel in the U.S. However, achieving this goal, particularly at competitive capital and operating costs, will require further research and development.

    The EBI report focuses on algal biofuels produced in conjunction with wastewater treatment as a promising cost-effective strategy to fast-track development of a practical production process. Besides providing the needed water and nutrients, use of wastewater in algae production provides the potential for income from the treatment service provided.

    The areas the study identified as essential for R and D are in both the biology and engineering fields. The ability to cultivate stable cultures under outdoor conditions, while achieving both high productivities and oil content, is still to be developed.


    (Reason why we recommend a PBR )


    Despite the well-known rapid growth rate of algae, increasing the volume of algae oil produced per unit of surface area per year is a crucial goal. Oil-rich algae strains that are biologically competitive with contaminating wild species and that consistently grow well in various climates are needed. Other key steps to be improved are low-cost harvesting of microscopic algae cells and the extraction of their oil content, as well as dealing with the biomass residue remaining after oil extraction. _Source

    The study suggests that it will take 10 years just to conclude their studies on the viability of large scale algal fuels. How convenient! 10 years is the time period for BP's funding grant to EBI. ;-)


    But seriously, just a quick glance at a summary such as the one linked above shows a number of glaring deficiencies in EBI's analysis.

    1. Near and mid-term successful utilisation for algal energy and fuels will depend upon algal biomass -- not algal oils. It will indeed take 10 years to develop economic and scalable means of algal oil extraction and diesel production from algal oil.

    2. Algal monocultures are not necessary for rapid production of algal biomass. In fact, multiple synergistic cultures are apt to produce higher quantities of mass more quickly.

    3. There is no shortage of seawater and relatively flat coastal plains for production of synergistic algal symbiots for rapid algal biomass production.

    4. There is no shortage of CO2, when algal biomass is the object -- rather than algal oil -- of algal energy, fuels, plastics, and chemical production. CO2 is a byproduct of the entire operation.

    5. Algal species bloom wildly under a range of climates -- depending upon the species combinations and the chemical and biological environment within these species happen to be growing. Different regions will naturally utilise different groupings of algal species and wastewater influent to suit the climate.

    6. The topic of algal growth factors which trigger algal blooms has not been exhausted by any means. While simple chemicals such as phosphorus and CO2 act to stimulate algal growth, no doubt a large number of other less bulky and more subtle growth stimulants remain to be discovered.

    A number of other problems hidden within the author's assumptions and methods will need to be teased out and analysed. But clearly the issue takes on an entirely different light when looking at algal feedstock as a hardy and prolific biomass rather than as an oil grown from fragile monocultures.

    By. Al Fin

    http://alfin2300.blogspot.com/< Prev Next >


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  • Sun November 14 2010 09:07:43 AM

    I don't know Al Fin but unlike the boys from Berkley, et. al., this chap seems to have it all together.

     

    Mia, we need to pick out a specific goal and design an algal system that best serves the needs of achieving the requirements of our speciefic goal.  If we want to achieve pure algae for medicine then we don't want to grow it in any type of open raceway with dirt blowing and ducks craping in our algae stock.  Speaking of ducks, look at a feather from a leg of a duck under a microscope .....it is designed by Mother Nature to haul algae from point A to point B.  So there is a good reason for a PBR system within a roof that has filtered air going in and a positive air pressure. It will leak but we want the reactor to leak to the outside.  Do not let any unfiltered air inside the reactor.

    Remember from a few weeks back we were talking about how there is no relevence trying to compare PBR systems with open raceways, (damn, I want to call them 'ditches' but I'll try to be nice),  A modern PBR is deep and is lit with the proper wavelenght of light that flashes in microseconds to stimilate or similate the day/night cycle of algae.  The researches found that under controlled conditions algae are quite capable  of adapting to a very fast day/night cycle.

    An open raceway has only it's surface lit by  sunlight, of which the algae only utilise about 2.5%.  A modern PBR has effective surface area from top to bottom and the algae are 'spoon

    fed' just the right kind of light and the light is 'off' most of the time but to us it looks like it is on all the time. (Our eyes don't operate as fast as the LEDs blink)  That is why the electric bill is so low.

    Oh, to get back to surface area, A PBR has 'surface area' from the top to the bottom.  Let's say our PBR has a surface area of 10,800 square feet. We will asume that our algae soup is in the neighborhood of 4 grams dry wieght per liter and light penatration is 2 inches.  A PBR  that is lit from top to bottom is going to have a "working" surface area every 2" , top to bottom.

    If the PBR is 20 feet deep then we find the inches deep it is and divide by 2 inches to get the number of  "plates of square feet".  A plate is equal to 10,800 square feet.

     

    20feet X 12inches = 240" / 2" = 120 plates  X 10,800 square feet = 1,296,000 square feet / 42,500 square feet per acre = 30.5 acres of effective surface area.

    Now if you really want to carry this out to a logical conclusion lets start comparing productivity.

    A PBR operates at maximum efficiency 24 hours a day.  A solar system, maybe 12 hours a day,  So it will take 30.5 X 2 = 61 acres of solar reactor to equal one PBR....but wait ! there is more....algae in a 'modern' PBR will double their numbers at least five times as fast as an open raceway.   So...61 acres X 5 times  = 305 acres to equal the production of one PBR with a footprint of about 1/4 acre.

    This should give you all kinds of reasons to make a logical choice between open raceways and a Modern PBR.  We have already covered the cost advantages of a PBR.

    It's 3:06 am,  this old gizzer is going to bed.  Good night!

    Alan

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Emily wrote:
    Sun November 14 2010 12:15:47 PM

    You mean to say that a Modern PBR occupying 0.25 acre produces equivalent amount of algae and absorbs equivalent amount of CO2, that will need 305 acres of open raceway ponds ?


    0.25 acre vs 305 acre !!

    PBR foot print vs Open raceway ponds.

    If this is the case, Alan you should go to bed every day by 12 midnight. The verdict is clear.

    Why dont we ask other PBR manufacturers to counter EBIs findings. 

    Let the primary agenda be to once and for all rule out open raceway ponds, which Alan has been Ditching for a while now.

    Next comes the costing of algae to oil in a pbr including the cost of land, pipelines for water, pipelines for CO2, nutrients, light, electricity, cost of water, determining the species, harvesting, dewatering, drying, deesterification, and i dont know what all ohter costs are involved. 

    As Algae NOVA, ie Andres Abraham says let us take one by one come to the conclusion. 
    He wants finality in the conclusion and he used to wonder if such a thing is not being taught in the univs anymore.

    My suggestion is to rope in more experts and finalise if PBR is the only way to go. Be it high value medicinal / cosmetic / health / food product or if it is for fuel.

    The sheer volume of land required, CO2 piping, CO2 in the nights, contamination managment etc., ( can someone add more factors/ reasons) should justify PBRs.
    Let us first do that.

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  • Sun November 14 2010 02:55:57 PM

    Suprise!!!        Emily, I'm back...........7:30 am.

    Yes Emily our PBR will probably absorb CO2 more effiecently than any open race way system that I have seen.....for that matter, much better absorbtion then most "bubling" pbrs.

    We do not sit out in the middle of a desert, miles and miles from an emitter of CO2, we are right along side or within a few thousand meters.   Our PBR works on the principle of recycling as much water as possible.  We lose less than 5% per day.  As this water is recycled it is cleaned and CO2 is added to it and also nutrients. This 'rich' media can be added back into the reactor where it is needed.  If there is a place that CO2 wants to escape the top of the liquid, we will be there to capture it and recycle it back to the soup maker. 

     Over the surface of the PBR we are set up to take the excess Oxygen and CO2  and separate them into clean, separate streams.  The CO2 is recycled and the O2 is probably going back to the emitter for enhansed combustion of their fuel.  So you can see we value our CO2 and do everything to keep it from excaping into the air.  We want to make something green, biofuel for instance, so that maybe we don't have to pump so much oil from the ground and release """old""" CO2.  We don't want "old" CO2 to become "NEW" CO2 and add to GHG.

    Emily, you say I should be in bed by 12.  Does that mean you agree with me and my job is done?  Thank you, I am a bit foggy this morning, I'll try to get more sleep. 

    "Why don't we ask other PBR mfgs to counter EBIs findings,"  Emily asks?

    Other PBRs or not as advanced as our technology so maybe they don't have any bullets in their gun. Maybe... Maybe they just don't want to waste their time on a blog.  Remember any time you see bubbles of CO2 going up through green stuff in a clear plastic tube you are looking at a system that is NOT scaleable.  Think 25,000cfm CO2.  Look at U-Tube for examples. In fact anytime you can see bubbles of CO2 gas in a liquid you are seeing a loser. Pun intended.

    By EBIs own admission, they are ten years at least, behind the inoventors.  We need them for basic research but then they need to go back to the lab.  They are not the ones to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

    "Costing of inputs."  Pipes, pumps, water treatment (salting proplem with open raceways) water replacement do to evaporation etc.    With a PBR system positioned close to the emitter you know the pipeing will be a lot less costly than an open raceway system.

    Also we have the advantage of using a lot of waste heat from the emitter. For cooking the algae, and maintaining proper tempurture in the winter in the PBRs.

     

    Good post Emily!  I wish some more would comment on our tracks.

    Oh hell.....my English and spelling are as bad in the morning as late at night.  Well as I always say, I am a blacksmith not a wordsmith!    Have to sign off now and go to the shop to work on 'things'.

    Later

    Alan

     

     

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  • Emily wrote:
    Mon November 15 2010 01:00:29 AM


    Alan

    You can go to bed by 12 and sleep well cos " 0.25 acre vs 305 acre !! " 

    First let us be convinced that PBR is the way to go for algae biofuel, before anyone promoting their brand of PBR.

    May be we could write an open letter to EBI and to John Bennemen in particular as to why havent they considered PBR. We should also ask Al Fin to join in.

    Alan, your PBR it appears has many features better than other PBRs and we will come to that separately or we can even now start a blog on " Alan Schafear's PBR and its superiorities" 

    That also will be a big learning exercise.
    In this forum let us restrict to  asking 
    a. others to join in finalising why a PBR is the best for algae biofuel over raceway ponds
    b. How CO2 absorption is possible by a PBR that is positioned next to an emitter
    c. what are the typical costs when we use a PBR and how it is far less than EBI model
    d Alan, Mia, Blake, Algae nova etc pl add more points 

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  • Mon November 15 2010 04:30:10 AM

    Emily, 

     I wonder if you really understand how our PBR is more than equal to 305 acres of open

    raceways.   Please go back to the post where I explain that fact.  Is there anything that I need to clarify?

    As far as EBI is concerned I think they are hopeless.  Until now they have spent untold millions of other peoples money trying to research a rediculeous idea that one could grow algae in a ditch and somehow if they researched it long enough they could have a magic breakthrough and all of the tragic flaws of the ditch system would disapear and they could 'scale up' to make a significant inpact on global warming.  What a tragic waste of taxpayer dollars and PHD talent!!

    I think it is to late for a letter to EBI et al.   Al Fin knows what is going on and I doubt he would waste his time on a lost cause.

    Emily you say that I might be promoting my brand of PBR.  I talk about our PBR because it is the one I know the most about.  I hope there are others out there as good as or better than ours.  I only talk about our PBR to try to educate others that there IS a better way to grow algae than a ditch and sunlight.  By the way you use the word 'promote' like all this is done to attract interest so that I might 'sell' our PBR systems.  That ain't gonna happen!  It is not in the business plan to sell any equipment.

    The only thing our PBR system is superior to is ditches and most tube and bag systems.

    Will be back later,

    Alan

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  • Jacintha wrote:
    Mon November 15 2010 04:47:20 AM

    There is nothing wrong in promoting your brand, Alan. Firstly you firmly believe that you have developed a PBR whichis far superior to most others and hence whynot promote it.
     
    Even if you are doing it, I mean.
     
    You judged me right. I did understand that a PBR can have a foot print of 0.25 acres vs 305 acres of raceway ponds for the same quantity of algae productivity.
     
    Plus there are other advantages.
     
    FIRST let us prove to everyone else "  a rediculeous idea that one could grow algae in a ditch "
    a statement made by you.
     
    There are still many people who aretrying their ahnds at growing algae raceway ponds.
     
    ps
    I will go thru your article to find out how the 305 is arrived at.
    although I am sure youwontbe wrong in your math.
     

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  • Shankar wrote:
    Mon November 15 2010 05:06:49 AM

    ?There is nothing wrong in promoting your brand, Alan. Firstly you firmly believe that you have developed a PBR whichis far superior to most others and hence whynot promote it.?

     

    ?Even if you are doing it, I mean?


    Alan she is  just saying that we need to address that  ditches are not the way togo and PBRs are the way togo. 

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  • Mon November 15 2010 02:47:42 PM

    Dear FOA,

    Thanks for the suport and helping me get my head back on straight.  Well, maybe, almost straight but I don't think I will ever look at anything or process or idea just like 'the crowd' looks and accepts an idea.  Maybe thats a good thing, but it sure gets me in trouble once in a while. ;)

    So let's talk about our goals and open raceway ponds and ditiches, plastic lined of coarse.

    Our goal is to find a system that will mitigate at a minimum  25,000 cfm of CO2.

    Schaefer Bio-Engineering, LLC is developing a system that can do the job.  We have been working on this system for ~3 years.

    If at first glance free sunlight and open raceways and ditches are so simple and logical, why after 40 years of throwing money and talent at this simple problem, haven't they come up with a workable, scaleable,practible, economical, working model???????????????

    POINT #

    1.  If you are going to service the large emitters ( 25,000cfrm) then you have to be right along side of the emitter.  One can't afford to compress and haul or pipe CO2.

    2.   Open ponds or raceways need LOTS of level or near level ground to spread out on.  It is impossible to find that much open ground, we are talking about square miles, near an emitter. You talk about competition with food production!

    3.   Water wastefull.  In the summer high rates of evaporation will make the pumping and conditioning of make up water a very big  operating cost.  Of coarse with all that evaporation come a salt problem.  Is their a simple solution for that.

    4.  Temperature control??  What are they going to do to keep the temp. in the happy range of the algae?   What about in the winter with all the pipes and valves, it dosen't take much of a freese to bust a plastic pipe.  BTW,  algae don't do very well below 50 degrees F.   

    5.  Where's the light??  Just for simplicities sake we will say algae can reproduce at maximum efficeincy for 12 hours a day. (Of coarse it is nothing close to that but I am feeling nice today)

    What is going on the other 12 hours of the day?   Nothing.

    Nobody is going to be too impressed with a system that only works 50% of the time.

    6.  WAAAAY  too expensive.  $21,000,000 for a system of only 250 acres!! (Their numbers)

              Where in the hell is the attraction in a system that will never pay for itself.

              Will freeze in the winter and boil in the summer.

               Will be constantly at risk of serious contamination.

               What will keep 'critters' from tearing up the plastic lined ditches?

                What will be the actual productivity of such an operation facing all of these problems?

     

    Need I continue to stick needles in this poor, pitiful creature?

    Cheers,

    Alan Schaefer

     

     

     

     

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  • Mon November 15 2010 10:30:31 PM

    Algae Bill


    The cost of cultivating and extracting oil from algae as estimated by EBI is there?

    http://www.ascension-publishing.com/BIZ/Algae-EBI.pdf


    If you have not gone thru it, pl do so.?

    Alan's estimate of manufacturing cost of a large PBR and its operating costs are available in this blog. WE may need to add many costs to it like light management, nutrient management, dewatering costs, piping costs, electricity costs, etc may need to worked / reworked with experts in specific fields. But the current estimated costs are NOT way off.

    At prestent as suggested by Emily, we are first deciding on as to what should be route for an?

    medium or even large emitter of C02 should go for. PBR or open raceway ponds.

    I also was thinking till I saw Alan's calculations. Your statement " I believe that PBR are great and work well for HVP but if i had a billion or a trillion dollars to spend on a Algae Bio Fuel Project - i would not run the whole system on PBR - maybe PBR to hold Inoculum. "

    and?

    " ?i have looked at Alan website - and i cannot see what it looks like !!! "


    Over to Alan.

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  • Tue November 16 2010 04:13:19 AM

    Narsi, this site has timed me out  for the last time!  I get totally  P.O. when that happens.

    Well it ain't gonna happen again.

     I had a great response to Algae Bill's entry and when I tried to send it your mickey mouse site said "We are over capicity, come back later" or something like that. 

     The worst part you, wiped out one hours work.

    I will clean up some loose ends on this site for a few days and then I'm gone! 

    Alan Schaefer 

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  • Tue November 16 2010 06:21:44 AM

    Let us take it as?

    1:300 acres ? ?ie PBR vs Raceway ponds, land occupancy.?


    Wonder if any other costing is required.?

    Most other costs are common. Like dewatering, drying, solvent extraction or ultra sonication, transesterification, etc.,

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  • Richard wrote:
    Tue November 16 2010 08:10:16 AM

    Mia it is not 1:300


    It is 1: 1200 acres !!

    Will anyone talk of raceway ponds anymore !

    Now it is in the hands of Alan to present the case of PBR in a manner others understand the mathamatics involved. 

    OR

    We all need to re read Alan's posts to understand how this 1: 1200 happens.

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  • Tue November 16 2010 03:06:42 PM

    They did it again.

     

                                              "Oilgae Club is Over Capacity"

     

                                         "Please wait a moment and try again"

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  • Wed November 17 2010 03:50:09 PM

    Algae Bill,

    No, nothing scares me off.  But I can get pissed off, at this web site,  But I think I know what is happening,  I open up a "post a comment"  note here on this site and after a few minutes the phone rings,or someone comes in the office, or I am needed for a decision out in the plant....it never ends.  And in the mean time the comment note stands open for too long and is timed off for someone else to use.  I can understand that.  So I get back to writing and eventually finish. I hit the 'submit' button and blamm my message is gone foreever and I get a whit screen with the message that "oilgae club is over capicity".  That blows a fuse!!!!  But maybe now I know what is going on so I can take steps to mediate the problem.

    I was having such a good time with your post on Nov. 15, after a busy morning I finally finished and poof, it was gone!

    I can remember that it started something like this; you said, ""it looks like it's Alan against the world".

      I said, " I don't think so, I look at my position more like, 'Moses leading the choosen few from the desert'.  (you know, desert where the 'ditches' are). 

     Oh I was having a ball, it would have been very entertaining!

    Cheers,

     

    Alan Schaefer

      

     

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  • Larsyn wrote:
    Wed November 17 2010 06:56:01 PM

    Would there be a possibility of building a PBR attached to a pond system & used as a thru put thus expelling cleaner water & algae out the exhaust side. so there was a continous flow?

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  • Wed November 17 2010 11:14:53 PM

     

    Larsyn wrote:

    Wed November 17 2010 12:56:01 PM

    Would there be a possibility of building a PBR attached to a pond system & used as a thru put thus expelling cleaner water & algae out the exhaust side. so there was a continous flow?

    Larson that is a very good idea.

    Our PBR is a contineous flow machine.  Our 1,000,000 gallon PBR would have a contineous fluid change evey 24 hours if the inflow and out flow were 700 gpm.  We could starve the algae from N and then they might increase their oil content.  What do you think?

    Alan

    <!-- Only author can edit -->

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  • Larsyn wrote:
    Thu November 18 2010 02:23:36 AM

    Sounds like the best of all worlds. The PBR could act as the Algae recovery unit also. This would eliminate the open pond problem of algae recovery.

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  • Larsyn wrote:
    Thu November 18 2010 02:25:14 AM

    Alan I think your baiting me  HAHAHA

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  • Thu November 18 2010 03:18:41 AM

    Larsyn,

    I don't know very much about ponds or sewage treatment facilities.  How much is the outflow discharge for a sewage lagoon?  If it is less than 700gals a minute then that is OK.  It just takes longer for the travel time from input end till the algae slurry is harvested on the output end of the PBR.

    What don't you understand about my post?  The 700 gpm flow through rate?

    1440 minutes in a day divided into 1,000,000 gals equals 694.4 gallons per minute.......round off to 700 gpm.

    I am not trying to bait you.

    Alan

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  • Thu November 18 2010 03:37:44 AM

    You know one thing really bothers me about using municipal waste water as food for algae and it is this; think of all the medicine and vitimins those people are taking.  Most of that is strained from the bloodstream by the kidneys and goes right down the drain. 

     I wonder how often people clean out (not often enough) their medicine cabinates and dump the old pills down the toilet?

    'You are what you eat', and I don't think I want any part of that medicine cocktail.  I don't think I would want to feed any protien meal from that medical soup to any livestock either.

    Maybe I'm wrong but I wonder if anyone has tested algae grown in sewage water for contamininates from medicine and how about heavy metals?

    Alan Schaefer

     

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  • Anna wrote:
    Thu November 18 2010 04:41:41 AM


    Firstly I am glad that Alan has sorted his over capacity problem.
    Even i used to get itonce ina while.
    I am not sure if it is because of me being logged in for long.

    I get logged out often.

    I dont post regulary, but i  read regularly and I read blogs and comments from
    Alan, Richard, mia, natalia, larsyn, algae nova, shankar etc

    How can 1:1200 acres be possible? Is the PBR very tall? What happened to the vertigro PBRs - no news from them?

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  • Thu November 18 2010 05:55:16 AM

    Alan confesses???? Dear FOA,

    It occurs to me that I have been designing open ponds all along.
    Our pond is 60' wide 20' deep and 124' long. The top of the sides are only about 2 feet out of the ground. We do cover this open pond with an economical hoop and canvas building and provide positive air pressure with steril air so it will leak to the outside.

    Sorry about this, I guess I have been one of "them" all along!

    I better go watch some TV, I've been thinking again.

    BYE

    Alan

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  • Thu November 18 2010 11:38:20 AM

    Algae Bill,

    Really now, you would evan consider eating something that was grown directly in 100% human wastwater?  To me that is several steps below cannabalism.  Here in the USA the EPA would NEVER  allow such a practice.

    Yes, there are companies that pump out lagoons when the solids get too high and there is not enough volumne at the top of the "solids" layer for the 'bugs' to work the 'stuff' properly. 

     This sludge is hauled by 7,000 gallon tanker trucks to farm land that is fallow and plowed in at least 8" deep.  The application rate is carfully monitered and records are kept.  The spreader rigs evan have GPS guidence systems.

    After the soil microbes have a chance to eat the goodies out of the sludge (BTW, the solids % in the hauled material is hardly ever over 5%, mostly 2-3% solids) a crop can be planted.

    Just a few thoughts before breakfast.

    Alan

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  • Larsyn wrote:
    Thu November 18 2010 02:40:47 PM

    Alan I never advocated eating algae from wastewater. I have read where certain algae even absorb heavy metals. Biofuel should not have a problem with this. My major interest is in Human & animal waste remediation. By the way vertigro(Valcent) is in england growing lettuce to feed zoo animals.

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  • Larsyn wrote:
    Thu November 18 2010 02:49:14 PM

    Alan our local small town wastewater treatment plant flows 250,000 gallons per day(175gpm) but they feel that algae is too experimental to invest. They are being fined for there effluient by the state.

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  • Thu November 18 2010 05:59:08 PM

    Larsyn,  what state is this town located in and what is the 'lay' of the land around the plant?

    Do you know the make up of the discharge waters?

    What is the population of this town?

    Thanks for any information you can relay.

     

    Alan 

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  • Larsyn wrote:
    Thu November 18 2010 07:05:20 PM

    Its the town I live in. Flat as a pancake 50 miles north of mexico 50 miles west of New Mexico border. 4200' elev.. Not aware of the of discharge makeup. Pop. 1800. Local state representitive had promised $1,000,000.00 grant but that was election promise. I bid on wastewater contract last year in association with Algae Cake but was turned down. Algae too experimental. Surrounding area has 7000 head dairy that Arizona University is doing studies on its wastewater. Also have feed lot next door to large electric generating plant. Both are great possiblities. 

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  • Manohar wrote:
    Thu November 18 2010 11:29:25 PM

    Vertigro is an interesting concept, to have tall pbrs like the one's Alan designs, next to a coal plant to consume the CO2 and grow algae  24 hours. IN once acre we can have the effect of a 1200 acre raceway pond ( or ditch as Alan calls it after 12 midnight :-))

    If they can grow lettuce profitably, can they grow algae in a large pbr like that of Alan's next to a coal power plant or a cement plant and may be they will make the ratio go up even further at
    1: 2400 acres !!

    Am I just dreaming ! Or is it plyable !? Alan ! Richard ! Larsyn ? Mia !

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  • Larsyn wrote:
    Fri November 19 2010 01:01:16 AM

    Manohar .... I like vertigro"s system although I think it can be built with off the shelf parts. To the best of my knowledge there atempt at a semi commercial unit is still setting North of El Paso never having been used since it was built.

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  • Shankar wrote:
    Fri November 19 2010 09:03:36 PM

    Algae biofuel process set up cost

    An interesting write up by an algaepreneur. Ron Brown has given his costing. It is in contrast with the academic costing given by EBI. I wish he could be invited along with the authors to discuss the algae biofuel costs and costing.
    Go ahead read on a short note by Ron Brown on how he set up his own algae farming to oil extraction.

    Last year,  I became a founding director and Chief Technical Officer of Aquatic Resource Farming, Inc. in a scheme to grow algae for its oil for use as a renewable fuel feedstock.

     We built a 300-gallon concrete raceway for  $300.00.  (Plastic raceways of about the same size are  commercially available for $7,000.00.)


     I designed, built, and patented a bio-reactor at a cost of about $4,000.00, as opposed to at least tens of thousands of dollars for its equivalent.  We tried four different techniques for harvesting the algae from the water (flocculation, foam flotation, electrophoresis, and centrifugation), finally implementing a harvesting strategy that uses two 60-liter-per-hour cream separators from Ukraine, bought through eBay at a cost of $135.00 each, saving thousands of dollars.

     To extract the oil from the algae, we tried solvent extraction, with some success.  Searching for a more cost-effective solution, I bought a hand-operated screw expeller press from Rajkumar Engineering for $100.00.  After some false starts, we were able to use it to extract oil from the dried algae. 

    Larger units are available from China for $3,000.00.  Prices for expeller presses specifically designed for use with algae start at $9,000.00.

    Although we were able to surmount all the technical obstacles, there were a few surprises:

     We discovered that the bioreactor was not even necessary after the first batch.  If we could just save five gallons of dense culture or a couple of kilos of algae paste from  the current batch, it could easily be preserved in a refrigerator.  Although we had arranged for $80,000 in capital, this never materialized, leaving the company with an uncertain future

    We are poised to set up a 1/10th acre pilot plant to demonstrate the scalability and commercial feasibility of our process, but there is no money.   We found a grant opportunity with the National Science Foundation which would allow us to continue, but the deadline is fast approaching, and it is not clear whether we will be able to get everything set up properly in time to meet the deadline.

    It has been an exciting year or so, and lots of fun.  Time will tell whether we can pull through the present crisis.

    By Ron Brown

    http://www.marketingbydeepak.com/?p=4392&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=road-renewable-energy-bumpier-expected

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  • Sat November 20 2010 05:55:26 AM

    Mia, this thread which you started has wondered so far off the track of your orginal idea of comparing  open race way sun powered algae systems with modern PBRs, that I can hardly remember where we are in that discussion.  Would you like me to go back through the whole stack and and pull out the revelant conclusions and put them in a somewhat logical order so we can look at those conclusions on one blog entry and go forward from that point?

    Regards,

    Alan

     

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  • Sat November 20 2010 11:37:58 AM

    Alan?


    YOur idea is good. The post was by one Jacintha and she is missing since.

    It will be great to pull out what you think are relevant.

    Pl go ahead Alan.

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  • Erika wrote:
    Tue November 23 2010 03:47:36 AM

    Re: Alan's Nov. 17 query "Maybe I'm wrong but I wonder if anyone has tested algae grown in sewage water for contamininates from medicine and how about heavy metals?"
    AlgaRhythms Inc. has lab analysis data available online for algae harvested from a municipal wastewater treatment system.  The company website is algarhythms.com and the link for the analysis page is http://algarhythms.com/beta_analysis.php 
    FOA, what a great debate you have going! I have some opinions but would like to wrap my head around the points made all of you a little more thoroughly before I jump into the fun.  But 68 comments are quite a few to go through, what with links and all.
    Alan, if you could be so gracious, I would be grateful for a recap
    Best,
    Erika

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  • Tue November 23 2010 08:45:10 AM

    Erika,

    Thanks for the leads!  I'll check them out.

    Alan 

     

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  • Natalia wrote:
    Wed November 24 2010 11:55:19 AM

    Algae biofuel cost to reach price parity with fossil fuel within the next 3 to 10 years. Mary Rosenthall says in about 7 years.

    EBI, the BP sponsored study said recently that it will take atleast 10 years and that the current price of oil from algae will vary from $ 140 to $ 900 per gallon.

    There are many who claim that it is not possible after so many years of research you still dont have scale to get 100,000 gallons of algae oil at $ 140.

    You can read more here from algae biomass organisation.http://www.algalbiomass.org/news/1963/algae-fuel-inches-toward-price-parity-with-oil/


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  • Fri November 26 2010 03:12:44 PM

    November 25 2010 03:00:15 PM

    Hello FOA,

    I will spend some time and see how far I get along the road looking for an answer for the question: Which is better a modern PBR system or an outdoor raceway or ditch system?  I will go back to Jacintha's orginal question and follow up the trail from there, putting sign posts along the trail with everybodies concerns and questions and try to answer them to the best of my ability.

    So, on 11-3,  Jacintha sited :   

    Algae biofuel costing - Questionable ?!? 71

    Energy Biosciences Institute  in partnership with BP, the University of California, Berkeley; the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and the University of Illinois have arrived at an estimate for algae biofuel production.

    The estimated capital costs for a 250-acre biofuel production system emphasising oil production were about $21 million, with annual operating costs at around $1.5 million, to produce about 12,300 barrels of oil, giving a break-even price per barrel of oil of $330 (based on an 8 percent capital charge).
     Increasing the scale of the system to 1,000 acres reduced the break-even price to about $240 per barrel.
     
    I thought some of the figures our FOA ( ie Friends of Algae) and oilgae club members were quoting  making algae biofuels were way too less as compared to  $ 240 per barrel. 

    * Do we have a proven model of producing algae biofuel using a PBR ? 
    * How much does it cost ? 
    The numbers quoted by our members made me believe that Open ponds are out and PBR is the way to go? 
    * Are the numbers quoted by Energy  Biosciences Institute questionable or the numbers quoted by our members questionable ? 

    So there we have one of the questions.  " Who do we believe?"


    I think that many PHDs had a hand in putting this report together.  I am sure their math is correct. The point I might question is their annual operating cost.  I just wonder if they added in their depreciation cost.  If their construction cost is $ 21,000,000 for 250 acres of ditch or raceway or pond, we really don't know exactly what they are spending that money on, all we know is they are spreading this out over 250 acres.  Any plastic will have a limited life out in the sun.  I will be kind and give it a life of 12 years.  So lets say of the 21 million spent 18 million went into plastic ditch liners.  So, 18 divided by 12 years equals 1.5 million per year for depreciation cost.   Hmmmmm?

    They claim that their system will produce 12,300 barrels of oil per year. 

    An emitter of 25,000 scfm of CO2, will produce 912,500 barrels of oil per year if it is processed through 6 modern bioreactors  of 1,000,000 gallon capicity each and each one is processing 4,000 scfm of CO2,   24/7/365.

    6 reactors  times $3,000,000 each  = $18,000,000 For an enclosed system that works 24 hours every day.

    912,500 barrels/year (our system)  divided by 12,300 barrels/year ( UCB et.al.) = 74.18 systems

    Now we get down to the 'nitty gritty'.  

    FOOTPRINT:

    acreage covered by the ditch system:  250 acres/system  X  74.18 systems (to equal 6 one million gallon bioreactors)  =  18,545 acres.

    acreage covered by bioreactors 1 bioreactor covers .4166 acres X 6 reactors = 2.5 acres.

     

    CONSTRUCTION COST:

    Ditch system, their cost estimates.  Remember it will take 74.18 of their 'systems' to produce the tons of algae to "eat up" 25,000 cfm of CO2.  This is their figures. 

    74.18 systems  X  $ 21,000,000 each = $ 1,557,780,000. to equal the output of our 6 bio-reactors.

    6 bio-reactors X $3,000,000 each        = $ 18,000,000

     

                                                   SUMMARY 

     Cost for 25,000 cfm                   cost                       land footprint

    modern bioreactor                $18,000,000                  2.5 acres

    outdoor ditch system       $1,557,780,000             18,545 acres

     

    Now where is the problem?

    Alan

     

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