Oilgae Comprehensive Report

Home algae production

All aspects of extraction of oil from algae are discussed

Re: Home algae production

Postby deepsun » Thu Sep 04, 2008 8:21 pm


I have now my first little Bioreactor.
I use the strain chlorella vulgaris.
For the Airfloww i use a airpump from a aquarium shop with a power of 120l/h.
Now is time to wait and hope that de algaes grows fast ;-)
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Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:58 am

Re: Home algae production

Postby kados06 » Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:17 pm

Chlorella Vulgaris is a great strain of algae to grow, I am with GRO-PEC inc. and we are growing large quantities of chlorella in closed-loop photo reactors that is extremely healthy.Because of our unique harvesting system it has a concentration approx. 100 times that of what you can get from UTEX (www.utex.org). We also offer contract growing on large volume orders. In the very near future we are going to offer a small reactor that replicates our 100 gallon plus reactors for the start up learner/grower. We suggest that you get your orders in early to GRO-PEC as this freestanding reactor is going to be in high demand. Also let us know what kind of algae your thinking about growing in it in advance or at least upon ordering the reactor. No order is to large or to small. if you are interested in purchasing some algae of any strain please contact me, Hugh Morris at 281-808-8727 or contact Katon Morris by email at khdm2006@yahoo.com and he will get you in touch with me. Thank you and happy growing!
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Re: Home algae production

Postby dobry » Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:03 am

Make sure you are a clear about your goals in growing your own algae. If you want to have a little hobby biology project, then have fun but don't think you are going to crack the algal oil conundrum. Just getting a milliliter of algal oil requires a tremendous amount of effort, and not to mention expense. And then it is nothing but oil, you still have to convert it to useful fuel or have a car that runs on straight vegetable oil.

First you have to pick the right algal strain for your temperature, light, and water conditions as well as ability to grow oil.
Now you need to have the know-how to get a pure strain from the testtube to the pond or bioreactor without killing or contaminating the culture. That requires knowing about nutrients, C02, pH, and mixing as well as sterilization and stopping algal predators from eating your algae.
Assuming you've grown up a culture successfully and it's ready for harvest. For the home enthusiast, lets just assume batch culture (as opposed to continuous) and you don't have a centrifuge or dissolved air flotation system. That leaves you with settling pond. Leave it in the sun until it cakes. Hopefully it dries quickly enough to stop the algal predators from eating it all.
Now you've got an algal cake. Well hopefully it is still algae and that it contains some oil. Now you need a degree in chemistry (or meth lab experience...j/k), some nasty solvents, and a sohxlet extractor. Good luck. Try not to blow up your kitchen.
Assume the extraction works. Now you've got a solvent mixed with algal oil. Separating these two requires nothing more than a backyard whiskey still (assuming you don't want to recycle the solvent and let it escape into the atmosphere)...or a fancy distillation column.
Voila, you have algal oil. Might as well put in on your salad because you ain't gonna be able to make enough to power a lawnmower. The oil is biodegradable and will breakdown before you have enough time to collect a significant amount to power anything. That is unless you have a backyard acre algae pond.

Right now the best algal oil companies in the world can produce at ~$32/gal oil. Unless you have a team of scientist and engineers working for you, your best hope is $10,000/gal. Now that's an expensive hobby.
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Re: Home algae production

Postby hogg » Thu May 14, 2009 9:35 am

Dobry, it reads like you know what your talking about. You are sort of a 'hole in the boat' though. ;)
I wanted to make about 50 Gallons of burnable Diesel (not Bio-diesel) a month!
I want to be able to pour it into my Pickup and use it just like the stuff in the local Fuel station pump.

Around here we have plenty of Chicken litter. Is there something in that we can use to grow Alga with Lipids in it?
To dry the Alga, lets run it through a 'press' made of two rubber belts with a grid that will allow the water to escape.
That in lieu of the Setteling pond.

Assuming we have some dry alga now....and the Lipids are in the 'cake' we just came up with?

The Dangerous Meth lab is next. (Do I have to go find a criminal to help me? :| )
I'm going to assume we need to re-constitute the Cake with a Solvent.
Then Distill the solvent away from the lipids.

When you said; "You might as well use it on your salad cause you aint gonna get enough to power a lawn mower..."
You reminded me of some things they did during the Depression and during WWII.
To run a car, they'd start it on Gas, and when it got hot and ready, they'd switch over to a Gas/Kerosine mix.
Kerosine dont smoke. You could still get Kerosine, but not Gasoline.
There are people in my area that still use Kerosine mix in thier lawn mowers, Tillers et al!

Biodegradable????? Does that mean it will turn to gooey oily thick stuff after awhile?
Even if we kept in covered in a Capped Tank?

I hope you come back and answer. I need to know this stuff.
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Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:50 am

Re: Home algae production

Postby gerrelli » Sun May 17, 2009 2:29 am

Howard wrote:http://www.global-greenhouse-warming.com/making-algae-biodiesel.html?gclid=CJyeoti60ZQCFQlqsgodyT7qkQ

Just found reference to this book. Does anyone have this book or have you seen it? Maybe at a public library?

I have this book, it's a good basic guide to the beginnings of Biofuel production and has reams of information and patents from third party sources. Unfortunately it falls short at the refinement stage, in terms of a step by step guide. Hence my post on how to refine Algae Oil, unforunately there forums are not as active as I thought they would be so no answer as yet. I've had to research alternative processes for drying alage and am still researching the best way to refine algae oil into biodiesel.

It's not worth $100 but I got it cheaper then that, the author says it's a complete guide, but it is not. Basically he's pulled together all of the various sources and compiled them into a book. What it says on the front cover is fairly accurate. I could be wrong about the refinement stage, if you can press biomass and pure the resulting oil directly into a diesel engine them I am wrong, but I suspect it is more complicated then that. I am investigating organic chemistry to determine the best way to refine the oil.
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Re: Home algae production

Postby WVOuser » Mon Jun 08, 2009 7:56 am

I bought the book and it is not good at all. He shows things vague and collected the info from research. None was done by him at all. Just a book on research that does not show if it works. Says use a press, but never tried it for himself. Oh and does not answer emails that I have asked him. Be warned.
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Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:17 am

Re: Home algae production

Postby gerrelli » Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:29 am

WVOuser wrote:I bought the book and it is not good at all. He shows things vague and collected the info from research. None was done by him at all. Just a book on research that does not show if it works. Says use a press, but never tried it for himself. Oh and does not answer emails that I have asked him. Be warned.

Thanks for the heads up, I was going to mail him around the lack of refinement information in his book. I will no longer recommend. I am developing my own Wiki site with free PBR and Biofuel development information. Should be available end of this year and will be more comprehensive then the book and completely free, the idea to is to encourage people to get more involved in Biofuels and share knowledge and findings.
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Re: Home algae production

Postby BioBert » Tue Jul 07, 2009 7:38 am

I'm at the begining stages of producing algae for biofuel.
I like the closed system,not a pond for my photobioreactor. I live near the warm gulf and will attempt to use the poly tubing that I am purchasing from www.interplas.com/polytubing-film to float (4) 20ft long tubing filled with 1/2 saltwater and some sugar cane,tied at the ends and twisted in the center.I am going to use the algae already in the saltwater and just cultivate it.
After a few weeks I will put fresh carbon dioxide in to help it grow.If needed??If I can grow algae in my fish tank and pool without any problem, I'm sure my algae will be a boom crop.
After 6-8 weeks I will pull it ashore by the twisted center and on an incline open the ends to flush the algae into the mesh bags from
:roll: Here is where it gets tricky, the algae needs to be dry but not too dry.
The oil press from www.croplandbiodiesel.com is the perfect oil extractor, they have the complete system of what is needed for 2,950.00(chemicals can be purchased at www.dudadiesel.com/biodiesel_chemicals.php)
it is the CLB-100 extruder complete system.This system takes it from pressing the oil to adding the catalyst to producing biodiesel to go into your diesel engine.
In talking with the folkes at croplandbiodiesel, they are having trouble with the algae at the right moisture level. (too dry and the press stops,too damp and it produces mush).These guys are producing biodeisel from nuts and seeds for farmers and the algae is new.
I'm going to chat with the local tabacco farmers to see how they dry the tobacco perfectly.

If you want something a little more stylish for your garage and you dont mind spending another 2,950 the guys at www.myfuelpod.com have the coolest system, just add the oil after it is out of the press and this does the rest(introducing the catalyst etc.)and it looks like a gas pump.
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Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2009 9:00 pm

Re: Home algae production

Postby DR Johansen » Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:53 pm


I have not tried the baggie process, but if I were to do so, I think I would start by using ETFE (ethylene tetraflouroethylene) which is a very strong, light, heat-weldable, UV resistant, and clear plastic sheet that is used for long term green-house type purposes. What is being suggested here is basically a greenhouse for pond scum. Seems to be a match made in ... (do algae have a heaven?)
DR Johansen
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Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:03 am
Location: Northern VA

Re: Home algae production

Postby hogg » Fri Jul 17, 2009 7:23 am

I want to make the Diesel at home.
If I wind up with "BIOMASS" (the cake from the dried Algae) I'm gonna press it with something similar to a Wringer from a washing machine that's older than me. :lol:

Spending $3000 to beat the pump price is not the reason for me. I want to make some of my own, here on my hilltop.
If it works out, I'll buy a diesel vehicle.

I'm not buying a book from a Snake oil sales man. If you know how I can do this, and will guarantee your book will lead me to the finished product....I'll consider your price.

Up to now, I just don't see anything I can make use of!
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