Oilgae Comprehensive Report

Algae 101

All aspects of extraction of oil from algae are discussed

Re: Algae 101

Postby Howard » Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:05 pm

From what I've seen posted so far, looks like a small scale operation like an aquarium is a good place to start with experiments, so you can see what happens below the surface.

If the algae grow on the surface of the water, with the oil that is released from dead cells, seems like a constant "skimmer" might be beneficial, along with a way to harvest dead algae off the bottom. Perhaps two siphon tubes? One on the top and one on the bottom and a stead drip of water (Water level regulated by a float system...perhaps a toilet float valve?) to replace what is lost with the oil and algae? Siphon volume regulated by a valve in the system. Get it out of the tank where it can be processed (oil - surface) and dried and processed (dead cells - bottom)? That might work as a continuous flow system on the production side anyway.

On the processing side, at the "home brew" level, some way to rupture the cells to get the oil to separate from the water based cells is needed, and from there, either fractional distillation or depending on the oil type, normal processing as biodiesel. At the "home brew" level, it would seem that solar stills might find a place if heat is needed.

At the "home brew" level, scaled up may be nothing more than a child's wading pool. Those come in various sizes and afford some measure of control once you get a process going. If dead cells sink, gravity might be used to concentrate dead cells in the deep end of a sloping "pond". We used to build shallow ponds for skating rinks in the winter with nothing more than clear plastic sheathing and hay bales as berms. Cement blocks or sand bags could also be used as berms.

I should point out that my interest in this is ultimately see this scaled up to commercial production that can provide a significant portion of the world's transportation and heating fuel needs. But it may be somebody like one of you working in a garage that figures out how to do it. The more people working on it, the more likely a solution will be discovered.
Howard
 
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