Oilgae Comprehensive Report

Introduction to this topic

All aspects of extraction of oil from algae are discussed

Re: Introduction to this topic

Postby alg1 » Tue Jul 01, 2008 4:24 pm

Vertical
Just a thought before work,my experience with the 10 gallon aquarium is that mature algae settles to the bottom,while new algae is lighter,less dense,and floats to the top.My outdoor tank has a covering on the bottom of dense cells and I'am using a 12volt bilge pump to pump this into a shallow metal pan painted flat black,water level is controlled by a float switch.I think a high tech ,high yield,system with co2 injectors,etc is too expensive.Growing algae in a 6mil plastic sheet ,water,algae and some aeration will produce plenty of algae.
Any thoughts on High/Low tech?Dan
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Re: Introduction to this topic

Postby StormWalker » Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:53 pm

It’s an interesting question if you can use the natural nature of the algae to do the work for you then you will save resource. It’s just an idea but if you had a slow moving river and you introduced the algae at one end could you wait a couple of weeks open a slews gate or something and skim of the algae as it moved past you. I remember about 10 years ago the river Ouse in Bedford England was completely covered in algae. The local council had to use special stuff on it to kill the algae because it smelt quite bad, it did the fish a power of good one local angler told me (the algae that is).

The other thing that is interesting from what Alg1 has said is that the old stuff sinks, maybe that could be used to the advantage. If you had a mechanism that you could turn by hand even once a day that scraped the bottom by did not disturb the growing algae on the top.
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Re: Introduction to this topic

Postby alg1 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:59 am

That's the truth,algae is tenacious,anyone who has a swimming pool knows it needs little fertilizer and is hard to kill!After shutting off the aerator on one 125gallon tank,algae and oil floats to the top,maybe a batch process instead of a continuos growth?Let the water evaporate,clean with a cheap solvent(ethanol?),then distill,or use a skimmer?I 'm using a shallow metal pan to dry algae and it works.
Maybe instead of a government planned Manhattan project,a grassroots Victory ponds?
Good info and thoughts here!Dan
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Re: Introduction to this topic

Postby Howard » Mon Jul 07, 2008 6:41 pm

New guy here. I want to thank the host for getting this forum started. Finding current information on this topic is tough and this will be a great place for it.

I'll premise what follows by stating that in my opinion, Peak Oil is real, and if civilization is to survive as we know it, we had better get busy and find alternatives to fossil fuels. Solar energy is where it is likely to come from. Even a horse is powered by solar energy (stored in the form of grain and hay). Whatever method can be used to harness solar energy is what will win out. Right now, the best fit to our current engines and infrastructure is liquid transportable fuels......biodiesel or ethanol. With advances in small diesel powered cars (I hear Honda has introduced a Civic in Europe that is getting 70 MPG plus!), we really might achieve the dream of running on locally produced, renewable fuels.

I am an appraiser by trade and recently appraised a commercial biodiesel plant, which will use soy oil and animal fats as it's feedstock. Don't mean to dwell on that, but what I concluded was that biodiesel is the way to go in renewable fuels. Far, far superior to ethanol in my opinion. But not from soybeans or other oilseed crops. We can't produce enough of those. If the algae can be made to work, we really do have a shot at renewable fuels. Not only transportation fuels (cars, trucks, trains, planes) but home heating oil too.

I think what you folks are doing is laying the groundwork for commercial scaled operations. Imagine taking the outfall of every city's sewage plant...every commercial dairy, every cattle feedlot......and running it through a series of algae ponds? The possibilities are staggering!

In conclusion, I'm going to start monitoring this forum and chime in when I can to help out. We really need to get this going.
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Re: Introduction to this topic

Postby alg1 » Mon Jul 07, 2008 9:24 pm

I agree,algae competes better than crop based biofuel,however I think it will be smallscale.Most biodiesel is homebrew,I've made hundreds of gallons from VO,thanks to a catfish eatery!I really think if everyone bought a 10 gallon aquarium and saw how easy and fast the algae grows they would go onto a backyard scale,grow your own.I have over 1000 gallons of production from an old pondliner and two leftover animal water tanks,solar dryer,and a simple essential oil distiller,the cost?About the price of filling up my dually!Anyone needing algae,i'll give them some,I'm trying to get pictures,none of it is rocket science!Research is done,NREL stated it was price based.Carbon is all most algae need,nitrogen is fixed in the air column.
Oilgae has a simple starter system described in their data,Hope everyone tries it,algae farmer,coop bioefineries,green gas stations................??
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Re: Introduction to this topic

Postby Howard » Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:10 pm

alg1 wrote:I agree,algae competes better than crop based biofuel,however I think it will be smallscale.Most biodiesel is homebrew,I've made hundreds of gallons from VO,thanks to a catfish eatery!I really think if everyone bought a 10 gallon aquarium and saw how easy and fast the algae grows they would go onto a backyard scale,grow your own.I have over 1000 gallons of production from an old pondliner and two leftover animal water tanks,solar dryer,and a simple essential oil distiller,the cost?About the price of filling up my dually!Anyone needing algae,i'll give them some,I'm trying to get pictures,none of it is rocket science!Research is done,NREL stated it was price based.Carbon is all most algae need,nitrogen is fixed in the air column.


Alg:

I agree, in the past, most biodiesel (at least the homebrew variety) has been made from vegetable oils. Your catfish place probably is using peanut oil. But that is a limited supply. As you have found out, lots of folks are now wanting this stuff. The problem is getting a supply of feedstock oils that ramps up to millions of gallons per day (if this is to be a viable source of transportation fuels).

Algae is the only source I've heard of that offers this potential. Hopefully, the commercial folks will work it out.

In the meantime, I checked into your essential oil distiller. A sample of how those work is found here:

http://www.heartmagic.com/EssentialDistiller.html

Roll down to the bottom. What you find though is that it needs a heat source. That is one of my problems with ethanol. It requires almost as many BTU's of energy to make as it produces. Why not burn the LP gas as fuel and skip the ethanaol? But with BD, there are options. The biodiesel process produces glycerin as a byproduct and perhaps that could be burned in a boiler? Or depending on how much heat is needed, perhaps a solar still could do most of the heavy lifting with glycerin or a little of your BD juice taking you over the top? As long as you net more BTU than you use, it may not be the most efficient, but it may work.

Your comments about doing this at home on a modest scale tripped my trigger. :idea: Imagine a "Victory Garden" of sorts. If the potential oil from algae number of 50,000 gallons of oil per acre is a real possibility, and an acre is 43,560 square feet, then each square foot of area is producing 1.15 gallons. A 24' x 24' garage is 576 square feet. Convert the roof of your garage to a shallow algae pond and these numbers convert to about 660 gallons per year. This can be stored in a tank for BD as transportation fuel or in a tank as a replacement for heating oil for the home (or both).

If the algae cells left over after the oil is extracted can be fermented as some have suggested, then the subsequent ethanol could be used in the esterification process. The CO2 from the fermentation pumped back to the algae, etc. etc, etc.

Once perfected, this might even be automated to the point where kits could be assembled and sold to homeowners. A Mr. Biodiesel? :?:
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Re: Introduction to this topic

Postby alg1 » Thu Jul 10, 2008 11:09 am

Howard,
I saw the Science Channel's Invention Nation when they visited Old Dominion U,they used the same system as oil refineries do to extract the oil.I live north of Robinson,Il. and they have a Marathon refinery,a retired chemist from there helped me build a simple distiiller,he thinks algae oil could be ran through an existing refinery.No lye,methanol,and I think the glycerin percentage is lower,the byproducts fuel the process.
I will be retiring soon and plan to build a shallow pond and produce oil on a larger scale as a hobby.
Good info here,Dan
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Re: Introduction to this topic

Postby asavedlabrat » Sun Jul 13, 2008 12:14 am

I like the idea of an essential oil distiller to drive the oil from the algae. Does anyone know how long it will take and at what efficiency. As to the initial cost of heating up the water, large solar ovens or even large black plastic bladders filled with water can, after several hours, heat up to around 150 or 160 degree F. This could be used to eliminate much of needed energy. In addition since all one needs is a heat source, cellulose such as wood could be used as a fuel stock as it applies to small scale production. Just another thought- if it is only 60 or 75 percent efficient, instead of using an energy intensive process to glean the rest of the oil from the algae one could simply use it as part of the fuel source in the next batch. (Burn it)
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Re: Introduction to this topic

Postby alg1 » Sun Jul 13, 2008 10:21 am

Go to Pesiwiki,algae videos,the one from Livefuels explains how the oil floats to the top,they won't mix.This oil is close to light sweet crude minus the ground contaminates in crude,like sulfur,etc.Livefuels explains it the best.Just put this oil in a distiller,at 250-300centigrade you will get diesel,thiis is no different from fossil fuel distillation,they use the waste byproducts to fuel the process,your diesel will be cleaner.Livefuels vs. Fossilfuels!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good Luck,it is EASY!
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Re: Introduction to this topic

Postby asavedlabrat » Sun Jul 13, 2008 9:09 pm

Am I understanding this right? Are you saying that after you extract the oil using the essential oil distiller that all you have to do is to subject this oil to 250 to 350 degree heat and it will convert to a diesel product. Don't mean to be dense-- just born that way. Ha.

While this would be energy intensive and most commercial utilities would not be able to do this, small scale could use cheap waste sources and would be doable. I've made fuel ethanol in the past- not much- but I was able to able to ferment donuts and use the oil contained in the donuts to actually make the energy process almost cost free. Small scale can utilize many different resources to curtail energy expense whereas commercial units cannot.

I'll look at the livefuels website and see if I can understand the process better. Thanks for your input.
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