The Cost of Farming Algae as a Biofuel Must be Cut by About 90 Percent if it is to Become
Algae-based biofuel will become commercially viable! But the major obstacle ahead is the high production costs associated. Algae biofuel production costs 10 times that of palm oil, according Rene Wijffels, a professor at Wageningen University, the Netherlands, who also holds the position of scientific director at an experimental algae farm run by several scientists at the university. A lot of work has to be done to bring the algae fuels to the market. He also predicts that the algae biofuel industry will take another 10-15 years to attain commercial success.
In the viewpoint of some Dutch scientists the algae biofuel production costs should dramatically be reduced in the order of about 90% if the industry has to become commercially viable. Some biggies like Exxon Mobil Corp, Finnish refiner Neste Oil and Dutch vitamin maker DSM are investing in algae production technology in order to develop biofuel.
Algae fuels help face the demand for fuel and the rise in price of food crops used for biofuel production could be reduced.According to a research conducted in the Wageningen University, the oil content in algae ranges from 20 to 60 percent and about 20,000 to 80,000 litres of oil can be produced per hectare of algae a year, while a hectare of palm oil plantation produces about 6,000 litres of oil per year.
Prof Wijffels monitors growth of microalgae produced in laboratories and then grown at the farm in vertical plastic tubes or in plastic panels filled with water.
According to Rafaello Garofallo, an executive director of the European Algae Biomass Association, the European Commission has allotted funds for three algae production facilities, which should start operating in the next two to three years. He opines that algae as a biofuel feedstock hold a huge potential and there are some efforts to have seaweed in the offshore wind parks but the technology is the real issue.
Rene Klein, another professor at Wageningen University, is of the view that the development of such technology could require investment in Europe of as much as 1.5 billion euros in the next few years.
ExxonMobil, Neste Oil and DSM are among the investors who have put up a part of the funding for the 6 million euro ($8.48 million) trial project.
Neste Oil, which is expected to launch Europe's largest biodiesel refinery in the Dutch port of Rotterdam this summer, said previously that 80 percent of its 40 million euro annual research budget is spent on new technologies including biofuel production from algae.
Researchers from the Faculty of Agricultural Engineering of the University of Concepci?n (UdeC), based in Chill?n, will begin a project that focuses on the cultivation of oleic microalgae for the manufacture of biofuels tomorrow.
According to Jose Fernando Reyes, academic and director of technology and research at UdeC, this is 'a project whose concept does not exist in Chile at this time.'
The initiative 'Development of high conversion reactor for microalgae cultivation and oleic biodiesel production' is funded by Innova B?o B?o of the Corporation for the Promotion of Production (Corfo), the Regional Industrial Development Corporation of B?o B?o (Cidere B?o B?o) and the Institute for Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship (ITE).
The total project cost will exceed CLP 300 million (USD 600,000)
The new technology allows for 'scaling of highly efficient photobioreactors.' This means that from microscopic photosynthetic algae culture (Scenedesmus spinosus), oil is generated which can then be used in the manufacture of biodiesel.
Jose Fernando Reyes, academic and director of technology and research at UdeC. (Photo. UDEC)
'For this we developed and are evaluating photobioreactors with improved engineering that enable the production of microalgae, manufacturing costs and operating economically attractive for the production of biodiesel,' said Reyes.
The concept behind the project is to improve the efficiency of using natural light, covered by high light transmissibility and methods of highly turbulent air agitation to prevent the adhesion of microalgae to the inside walls of pipes, as well as maximizing efficiency from light-shade exposure, reports La Discusion.
The pilot plant located in Chill?n has seven photobioreactors of 1.5 cubic meters each. In the course of the experiment, experts expect a productivity gain of no less than 10 cubic meters of biodiesel per hectare.
The team consists of Wilson Esquivel, Johannes de Brujin and Alejandro Hern?ndez, as well as Reyes.
According to Marcos Delucchi, the manager of Cidere B?o B?o, at a national level, through this initiative, they aim to improve the relationship between biology and engineering in the development of a new alternative energy for the country.
By Analia Murias
A nice ppt from Arizona univ
Sapphire Energy, one of the world?s leading innovators in creating algae-based fuel from Green Crude, today welcomes Dean Venardos into the newly created role of Vice President, Operations, for the fast-growing company.
With more than 30 years in the oil industry,
enardos brings a wealth of experience in refinery operations and processes and will use his rich knowledge base to ensure Sapphire's facility operations are managed perfectly as the company continues on its growth trajectory.
'Dean's experience fills a critical role for Sapphire as we move into commercialization of our Green Crude production' says CJ Warner, president, Sapphire Energy.
'He'll oversee operations for all of Sapphire Energy?s facilities including the Integrated Algal BioRefinery (IABR) in Columbus, New Mexico and the Las Cruces, New Mexico research and development facility. We are thrilled to have Dean?s leadership.'
The Dutch company Evodos B.V. will provide the Australian CO2 Storage Program with Algae Harvesting systems.
MBD Energy has already committed to building test facilities adjacent to their power stations using the Algae synthetizer, which consists in capturing smoke-stack CO2 emissions and reusing them to grow oil-rich algae in solar bioreactors.?
The system will be improved with Evodos B.V ability to harvest algae in a very concentrated way and at low energy requirements.?
Evodos B.V. technology is a centrifugal system which consists in a Spiral Plate Technology (SPT). It separates solids with great sharpness, leading thereby to low energy usage as says Larry Sirmans, Technical Director of MBD Energy, in the Newswire Today.
This technology is described as highly sustainable, given the positive energy balance of the harvesting process, the small footprint of the machines, the low level of noises and of necessary maintenance. The algae produced is further turned into biofuels and animal feed.
Evodos B.V will supply MBD Energy with Algae harvesting centrifuges for its three Algal Synthesizer power station projects in Australia: Tarong Energy (Queensland), Loy Yang A (Victoria) and Eraring Energy (New South Wales).
?The combination of MED Energy technology with Evodos B.V will reduce the costs of harvesting algae and stimulate the commercialization of both technologies.
Nonetheless, Tone Knudsen from Bellona points out that 'the technology is inaccurately described as BIO-CCS whereas it cannot be assimilated to BIO-CCS since the CO2 captured is not actually stored but reused.?
Indeed, the algae biofuels produced from fossil CO2 are likely to emit CO2 when burned, so it is not carbon negative.' ?
Algae has large potential to grow quickly and can be one of the futures most important sources of sustainably produced and highly needed biomass.
'We will need true Bio-CCS solutions in the future, i.e. carbon negative solutions where more CO2 is absorbed from the atmosphere than is emitted.
The Evodos and MBD Energy system would be carbon negative for example if part of the biomass was used for co-firing in the power plant and combined with geological storage of CO2 'Knudsen concluded.
An Indiana company is using algae to address the nation's dependence on overseas energy sources. Indianapolis-based Stellarwind BioEnergy LLC is commercializing algae oil to be used as a clean-burning fuel or refined into a high-octane gasoline or aviation fuel, which can be stored and transported through current infrastructure. President and Chief Executive Officer William Kassebaum says algae oil is also more efficient than corn-based ethanol.
Kassebaum says the company is currently awaiting patent approval of its farming technology and is raising the funding to build out its pilot demonstration system, as well as its commercial system.
He says both projects should be complete next year.
Source: Inside INdiana Business
PMC BioTec is an interesting selection. Frank Sinton, Jr., CEO of PMC BioTec said "This award demonstrates the importance of the company's disruptive and highly efficient anaerobic conversion of bio-residuals to methane and clean water.
This process will transform back-end bio-refinery economics, enable economic algae to methane carbon sequestration, and provide onsite sludge conversion to energy at waste water plants around the world."
Biotech, Biofuel, and Agriculture
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The Biomass Program welcomes interested stakeholders from industry, academia, research institutions, government, non-profits, other organizations, and the general public. Presenters include Joanne Morello of DOE?s Biomass Program and representatives from the National Alliance For Advanced Biofuels and Bio-Products (NAABB), the Center for Algae Biotechnology Commercialization (CAB-Comm), the Sustainable Algal Biofuels Consortium (SABC), and Cellana, LLC.
You will receive the URL, password, and phone number via e-mail prior to the Webinar. You will need this information in order to connect. Shankar of our group has been harping on the need for regulation, regulation and regulation. Regularly :-)
Now read this news about how genetically modified canola escaped out into the world !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The threat is for real.
It is believed that there are about 100 universitites working on GM algae besides Craig Venter and ExxonMobile.
Hope this news brings about some sensible regulation.
One of the concerns about working with genetically modified crops has been that vegetation growing in agricultural fields might escape out into the world. Now, for the first time in the U.S., researchers report a large population of GM crops beyond the farm.
Transgenic canola plants in North Dakota had received genes making them resistant to herbicides, such as the weed killer Roundup.
Researchers collected and tested 406 canola plants along thousands of miles of state roads. They found 347 carrying at least one resistance gene. There were also indications that the inserted genes were being passed on to new generations, producing some plants in the wild with multiple transgenes.
The findings were presented on August 6th at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Pittsburgh. [Meredith Schafer et al., University of Arkansas]
The transgenic canola plants are not about to take over the world. But researchers are obviously curious about how these particular plants managed to make it in places like the edges of parking lots rather than pampered fields.
Any answers they find will likely affect future biotechnology regulation.
For the podcast go here
http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=transgenic-canola-plants-break-free-10-08-06&sc=DD_20100806 September 27 ? September 30, 2010
JW Marriott Desert Ridge, Phoenix, Arizona