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Blogs under tag Algae Oil

Latest Researches on Botryococcus braunii Posted by Mathumitha on Wed April 28 2010 03:43:48 AM 41

Botryococcus is a genus of green algae. Botryococcus braunii species has gained lots of interest among the scientific community and biofuel industries due to its ability to synthesize and accumulate huge amount of lipids. Many researches had demonstrated that the biodiesel produced using the oil extracted from these microalgae is identical to diesel fuel. I have summarized some of the latest algae biofuel researches using Botryococcus braunii.

Researchers at Tsukuba University, Japan, have studied the oil yield of algae using Botryococcus algae. They have found that Botryococcus can produce fuel that is almost identical to diesel. They have achieved a production target of 1,000 metric tons per hectare a year in a laboratory experiment. They have planned to reproduce that outcome at a 1.5 billion-yen ($16 million) open-air pilot project starting in September, 2010.

Korean researchers have done a project on "selection of microalgae for lipid production under high levels carbon dioxide" using Botryococcus braunii, Chlorella vulgaris, and Scenedesmus sp. The results of the project suggested that Scenedesmus sp. is appropriate for mitigating CO2, due to its high biomass productivity and C-fixation ability, whereas B. braunii is appropriate for producing biodiesel, due to its high lipid content and oleic acid proportion (nearly 55%).

University of Bologna, Italy, had proposed a new procedure to extract hydrocarbons from dried and water-suspended samples of the microalga Botryococcus braunii by using switchable-polarity solvents (SPS) based on 1,8-diazabicyclo-[5.4.0]-undec-7-ene (DBU) and an alcohol. The high affinity of the non-ionic form of DBU/alcohol SPS towards non-polar compounds was exploited to extract hydrocarbons from algae, while the ionic character of the DBU-alkyl carbonate form, obtained by the addition of CO2, was used to recover hydrocarbons from the SPS. DBU/alcohol exhibited the highest yields of extracted hydrocarbons from both freeze-dried and liquid algal samples (16% and 8.2% respectively against 7.8% and 5.6% with n-hexane).

Pressure-Cooking Algae into Better Biofuel Posted by Mathumitha on Thu April 22 2010 03:38:51 AM 2

Researchers at the University of Michigan are examining a method to pressure-cook algae at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, and thereby break down oils, proteins and carbohydrates into a crude bio-oil, which can be converted into fuel.

The high temperature and pressure allow the algae to react with the water and break down to release the native oil. Apart from oil, the proteins and carbohydrates also decompose and increase the fuel yield.

The hydrothermal process has two advantages over the large-scale algae-to-oil conversion techniques:
1.The method can be used to extract bio-oil from algae which contain less oil content.
2.It eliminates the drying process

The project was funded with $2 million from the National Science Foundation under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and is aimed at producing acceptable fuel yields from low-oil content algae strains, as well as eliminating the need for water extraction in algal fuel production.

Report Says, Algal Biofuels May Not Cut Carbon Emissions Posted by Mathumitha on Wed April 07 2010 03:24:05 AM 1

Algae- based biofuel production and carbon capture are the hot-topics of research all over the world. On the other hand, a new study published in American Chemical Society journal, Environmental Science and Technology, suggests that the overall CO2 emissions to produce biofuel from algae may be worse than those from first and second generation biofuel feedstocks such as corn, canola (rape-seed) or switch grass.The report says though the algae-based biofuel production is advantageous than the above mentioned land-based crops when we grow algae in wastewater or near powerplants, algal fuels could cause an overall increase in carbon emissions when we grow them in freshwater(using additional nutrients and compressed CO2 source).

On closer inspection, the report is in fact very positive about growing algae. Read positively, the data are only in opposition to making fuel from algae if nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients are added in their mineral forms, and if the CO2 has to be injected into the system (transported as a compressed gas) as made mainly by the process of steam reforming methane, along with most of the world's available hydrogen:

(Overall) CH4 2H2O --> CO2 4H2.

That H2 is used to make nitrogen (ammonium sulphate and nitrate) fertilizer by reacting it with N2 via the Haber Bosch process to make ammonia (NH3), and so there is in a way a symbiosis between the production of CO2 and NH3. The phosphorus would likely come from mining "rock phosphate", which requires energy too.

The US Algal Biomass Organisation has claimed that the study contained "faulty assumptions" and was based on "grossly outdated data". Even if there remains some dispute over the exact figures used, what the study does highlight is the importance of developing an integrated paradigm of production and recycling for algal fuel production.

Source: http://ergobalance.blogspot.com/2010/04/report-says-algal-biofuels-may-not-cut.html

Green Algae + Human Waste = Green Power Posted by Mathumitha on Tue April 06 2010 03:24:09 AM 2

An algae-based wastewater treatment project is planned to be started in May, at Laguna wastewater treatment plant in the city of Santa Rosa, California.The pilot plant relies on native algae and marsh plants to purify sewage and produce methane.The methane gas will run a generator that charges a fleet of four electric maintenance vehicles.

The project is co-ordinated by Sonoma State University biologists. They have constructed six algae ponds at Laguna to clean a small portion of the wastewater stream, meeting state standards for nitrates and phosphates.Laguna serves a population of 250,000 people, and it would require more than 100 acres of algae ponds to purify the entire waste stream of nitrates.The current project measures only 800 square feet. Treddinick, the project development manager for the city's Utilities Department, plans to scale up the project to an acre.

Michael Cohen, the Sonoma State biologist who oversees the algae operation said they planned to extract oil from the algae, though they are aware of the fact that extracting oil from algae is a tough process. This is because of the variation in oil content of algae species and difficulty in extracting oil due the tough cellwalls of algae.

"We knew going in that we were going to be fighting a losing battle, but we thought we would see if we could make it work", said Hare, who is Cohen?s student at Sonoma State.

Source: http://www.miller-mccune.com/science-environment/when-sewage-is-not-a-dirty-word-12563/