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Algae 101

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 7:46 pm
by Howard
To help me and others out, for those of you who have been messing with this, what happens with the algae? (Sorry....but beyond the hype, there is precious little information out there that I've been able to find).

My basic understanding of the concept is, the culture is introduced to water, grows and dies. Pretty simple so far. Does the oil stay with the algae or, as I seem to recall someone mentioning, the algae cell itself sinks to the bottom and the oil separates and floats? All of it, or some of it? From that, I can start thinking of ways to grow and harvest the stuff.

Re: Algae 101

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 1:24 am
by Dieselguy
good question.
I think there are allot of misunderstandings when it comes to this stuff.
Someone should do a "Do it yourself" article on this with details, and post it on here.

Re: Algae 101

PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 5:59 am
by tarik37
Hi Howard,

Hi Howard, my name is tarik a biomedical Engineer and establishing biodiesel business in Turkey an dmy main objective is to produce my own alage feedstock.

Loks like you havea a lot info abou it , please email me or call me at the flowing or Cell 001 416 518 9465 I lived and work in Torornto for the time being and going back and forth to turkey.

Thanks and hope hear from you soon


Re: Algae 101

PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 8:55 pm
by asavedlabrat
I'm new to this, but I would think that the oil would remain in the algae unless one heated it up to a fairly high temperature. I remember someone mentioning doing this, but this would drastically increase the energy input and thus up the cost of the process.

The cell must be lysed. Placing the cells in a hypotonic solution would place stress upon the cell wall. If one could first use enzymes to weaken the walls and then place these algae in a hypotonic solution, extraction might be more easily accomplished. I'm even thinking that if after the hypotonic solution the cells could be further subjected to a vacuum, this in itself may cause the cell to lyse. After cell rupture the oil can easily be removed simply by adding water and letting the oil float to the top.

Extraction could also be utilized somewhere in the above procedure. I'm not a proponent of hexane extraction but it can also be employed. I'm thinking ethanol would be chemically effective in extraction. Does anyone know if ethanol can be used in place of hexane?

I am glad this forum is up and running. However, unlike some here, while I would like to see a commercial process instituted nationwide, politics and greed must be taken into consideration. I much more like the idea of seeing a grass roots movement where local co-ops and individuals sprout up and supply the demand. If this can be cost effective let the commercial guys compete and put everyone out of business with the warning and knowledge that if greed grows and prices go up, there is the possibility that local production will again ensue.

Other possible ways to possibly remove oil from algae:

high speed blender (maybe)

Re: Algae 101

PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:08 am
by alg1
Algae created most of the oil in the ground,in a 10 gallon aquarium,you can see the algae die and release the oil which floats,the spent cells stratify on the bottom,in nature this may form coal?Oil and water don't mix, skimming oil is easy with little water.The oil is refined by heating,then condensing the vapor at 250-300c it is no different from light sweet crude oil,you won't get heavy oil like tar etc. ... &_Hydrogen

cnet and livefuels video is excellent explaining this,it is not like ethanol,it is oil that can run in an oil refinery,a net energy gain.
Hope this helps,GOOD LUCK!!!!

Re: Algae 101

PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:38 am
by asavedlabrat
Appreciate the response. The procedure you have mentioned-- have you done it yourself? I plan to make a shallow open pond and attempt this.

I believe the procedure is as follows-- Grow algae until it overpopulates and dies. In the process it will release the oil and fall to the bottom. The oil will float to the top where one can easily skim off. Take this and heat at 250 to 300. At this temperature it vaporizes. When the distillate is collected what you have is akin to a light sweet crude oil.

Do you think it would be possible to use this product directly in a diesel engine? I know that some individuals have burned straight vegetable oil in their diesel engines once certain modifications were made. Any thoughts?

Re: Algae 101

PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:28 pm
by alg1
Yes gasiification is cheaper and gasoline,diesel can be produced.I've produced several gallons using the gasification process and realized i need more algae production,so I built a 12x12 pond from a pondliner.Hope this ... uels/helps

Re: Algae 101

PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:47 pm
by asavedlabrat
Yes, thanks for your continual input. I'm sure I'll have more questions as I try to make this process work. I was also wondering if the algae that sinks, the spent algae, may still contain much of the sugar and carbohydrates. If the oil is released I would imagine the carbohydrates are still contained in the algae body. One could easily use this material in ethanol fermentation.

Re: Algae 101

PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:04 pm
by alg1
I don't know what the c/n ratio is,but I thought of an anaerobic digester with a way to skim the oil ,methane production may be compatible in this application.If you need algae,i've got plenty.NREL has a great cost breakdown on algae oil production.Keep up the research!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Re: Algae 101

PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 5:09 am
by DanB
Couldn't the oil just be extracted with a press?