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Algae fuel forecast for the decade 7

Algae biodiesel could soon be at par with oil in terms of price if given adequate tax benefits. The Head of the Algal Biomass Organization predicts that this would happen in the next seven years. The big hurdle for the industry is strain identification. This would not be a problem given the rapid advances in genetic and molecular screening techniques. The industry is mature with 170-strong membership and would soon cross the nascent issues. One more reason to smile for oilgae.


Tue January 18 2011 11:31:22 AM by Srividhya price parity  |  algae fuel 2242 views

Comments - 6

  • Shankar wrote:
    Wed January 19 2011 01:57:16 AM

    Mary Rosenthal saying that oil from algae willbe viable in 7/8 years is saying a lot. 

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  • Shankar wrote:
    Wed January 19 2011 01:58:22 AM

    I am surprised that there are only 100 start ups the world over !!

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  • Richard wrote:
    Wed January 19 2011 02:04:02 AM

    The EBI report has done more harm to the industry than good.

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  • Sat January 22 2011 09:08:52 PM

    I apologize that this is a bit of a "rant" and less polite than I usually am in public, but my frustration level is very high when I see yet another who set of pronouncements that implementing algae biofuels will take "decades".  
    Sometimes I think that algae oil is not just a case of "the blind leading the blind" but a case of the blind leading the stupid.  I'm sorry to be so blunt, but I am tired of listening to these "conservative" estimates who primarily want to avoid being disappointing, or setting expectations too high.  I have found Mary Rosenthal of ABO to be both very smart and energetic, and this is not aimed at her, nor even the EBI report, except that almost everyone's interpretation of the "problems" are ignoring some of the real major breakthroughs that have already taken place, and are putting vast efforts into "problems" that do not need to be solved.Production of high yield species is not nearly as important as fast reproduction.  Give me a species that produces 10 or 15% lipids (extractable %) but that reproduces at 6 times a day, as some species do, and I will happily show you the math that demonstrates this is vastly more output than a species that reproduces 1 time a day and contain 70 or 80% lipid.  (in fact, here's the math right now: 2 times 80=160 while 2 to the  6th power x 15 is 960, so the benefit of fast growth far outweighs "rich" lipid content)  How stupid do you have to been not to understand that?

    Nor is it such a bad thing that 85 or 90% of the algae that remains is a form of food.  Yes, really.  It is a rich supplement for livestock fodder, but it also is high in proteins (especially alginic acid which is a very "cool" ingredient that is used in dentristry, but is also a "foaming" ingredient in "Gaviscon" antacid that prevents acid reflux from the stomach, but therefore also has tremendous potential as a "diet" food ingredient to make you "feel full".)  It also an be a human food supplement.  It has already been used as such in anti-starvation projects in Africa.

    OriginOil (and my company too, for that matter) have long since solved the basic "extraction" problem using ultrasonic disruption of the cells and vacuoles to free the oil, and gravity does the separation of oil, water and biomass, as the video on the front page of OriginOil's website shows.

    Oh, yes, and the "years and years" to develop sufficient capacity is nonsense too.  Okay, you can't really just manufacture 300 billion plastic buckets to grow the stuff in, but it is hardly more complicated than that.  Even if you are dealing with a species that only doubles it's biomass every 24 hours, given sufficient nutrients and sunlight, it takes less than 90 days for ONE kilogram of algae to duplicate its way to weighing more than the entire planet.   The geometric progression of doubling every day actually produces a number so large (after 90 days) that it is not only unbelievable, but we have no words to describe a number that is 500 billion times the weight of the whole planet Earth in metric tons.

    If the petroleum companies of the world realized how easy and how imminent algae could be to implement at a green SUPPLEMENT to their existing business and business infrastructure, we could easily have converted to mainly biofuel sources in a matter of a couple of years.  If they don't Cargill and ADM may actually "discover" what I have been saying for the past few years, refocus from ethanol to algae oil, and usurp Exxon and BP are principal suppliers of liquid transportation fuels to the world.  
    Stafford "Doc" Williamson
    please visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/Re-Upholster-Africa/172677209429356


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  • Sun January 23 2011 11:18:34 PM

    Thanks for the interesting note Doc .

    I thought the problem was in cultivating the algae that has grown every day ?

    1kg becomes 2kg in 6 hours or 24 hours. How do u cultivate the algae that has grown.

    In your model you dont cultivate at all. Wait for 90 days as one becomes 2, 4, 8 etc

    I agree with you in principle. Doubling rate is more important than lipid content. 

    After taking out the oil, the remnants can be fodder for mankind as well as animals.

    So, then why are nt scale productions happening ?

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  • Srividhya wrote:
    Mon January 24 2011 04:04:48 AM

    At last a something that is a food and a fuel. Algae have a bright future in the human world. But such exponential growth is seldom approached in a batch culture due to toxin buildup and nutrient depletion.

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