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Open Pond is the most Viable option - Carbon Trust. 10

Open ponds have a lot of contamination issues, excessive space requirements and limited location possibilities due to climate etc. However, the UK based algae biofuel research will be extensively carried out in open-ponds.These open ponds systems are cheaper to construct, at the minimum requiring only a trench or pond.Importantly, open pond cultivation can exploit unusual conditions that suit only specific algae.

For instance, Spirulina sp. thrives in water with a high concentration of sodium bicarbonate and Dunaliella salina grow in extremely salty water. Open culture can also work if there is a system of gather the desired algae and inoculating new ponds with a high starting concentration of the desired algae.

About 20 years back, DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory concluded in its Aquatic Species Program that open raceway ponds were the most viable solution for the mass production of algae for conversion into biofuels, but that it was much too early to determine whether open, closed or hybrid designs of growing algae would ultimately prevail.

Algae researchers of the UK have decided to go by the aquatic species program and hence have targeted pond as its source for biofuels. The leader of this pond-algae cultivation is Carbon Trust, collaborating with eleven leading institutes such as Manchester, Newcastle, Southampton and Plymouth Marine Laboratory aiming to develop biofuels from pond-algae.

Carbon trust believes that the leading bioscience expertise UK possess will pave way for developing sustainable biofuels using algae as a feedstock . They expect that this could provide up to 80% carbon savings compared to diesel savings in car and jet fuel.

Carbon Trust claims it can analyse these different strains to identify those which can produce algal oils.The project will be funded by the Carbon Trust themselves who in turn will be funded by UK businesses, amounting to 8 million pounds and employing over 70 leading scientists.
Sat April 10 2010 04:56:57 AM by Sumukhi Carbon Trust  |  algae  |  biofuels 1715 views

Comments - 5

  • Parkavi wrote:
    Sat April 10 2010 05:16:46 AM

    No question that open pond will significantly reduce the algae cultivation cost, thereby reducing the cost of algae fuel. The two major constrains which i see with open systems are:

    1. Contamination, and
    2. Yield (cell density achieved)

    Finding a marine species rich in oil will address the contamination issue in a similar way as spirulina does. More focused research on increasing the cell density in open pond is what is required, I think.

    Thanks for the news!

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  • AlgaeNova wrote:
    Tue April 13 2010 09:20:53 AM

    I have been in contact with CARBON TRUST and we have a exchange of views and technology. Their idea of "only" producing in hotter climates has off course some advantages and we are discussing this right now. We have plans to co-operate with a spanish power plant operator for just this reason, - but on the other hand are we quite happy with the yields of our PBR-system here in Germany and - what is more important we are helping to bring down the CO?emission here in our country! That is somethong that counts! Besides we have a "covered pond system" which can be driven very economical. See:
    Contamination is not the issue any more and a, after our experiance, necessary light management can be undertaken easily.AA

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  • Algal wrote:
    Sat April 17 2010 06:28:35 AM

    The most cost effective system to date can be viewed on www.algalsolution.com

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  • Karthic wrote:
    Wed May 19 2010 01:43:58 PM

    I think the land requirement is one of the major issues. Open ponds could be cultivated in the US where there is large availability of lands, but, in developing countries and countries where land is not easily available, this could be a challenge.
    I said developing countries because land would be required for food production than production of biofuels.

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  • Manohar wrote:
    Thu May 20 2010 03:36:23 AM

    You hit the nail on the head Karthic !
    In India in particular, I would like to look at a home made / low cost pbr preferably a vertical pbr that can be used at home. Imagine a solution that every household in a town grows algae at home and we are able to collect it thru an agent everyday/ two days/ week etc
    Given that 30 % of indians live under 0.5 $ per day ie BPL Below poverty line, this will be a great solution. US can afford lot of land. India can afford lot of manpower.

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