Oilgae Comprehensive Report

Best Way To Extract Oil From Algae???

All aspects of extraction of oil from algae are discussed

Re: Best Way To Extract Oil From Algae???

Postby DR Johansen » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:53 pm

Algae Maffiosi wrote:Im a student currently doing some algae research myself for my master thesis. Ive had no luck so far with sonification:
Does your college have a supercritical CO2 refiner? They are often found in chemistry labs and "beauty labs" as well as nutritian labs.

If it does, I've been trying to find someone to experiment with SC CO2 extraction of oil from algae. I am not even sure one needs to break the cell wall to extract it. I've seen reduced-fat peanuts that had oil extracted from half way thru the peanut. If the SC CO2 can get that far, it SHOULD make it into the algae, no?

And even if it doesn't do as well as I hope, releasing it to atmospheric should cause the cell to explode from the CO2 turning back to gas.

If you can try this and it works, please let us know.

PS: What I would REALLY like to see happen is for the alae to give up 50% to 80% of the oil but survive the process to grow again! Imagine, the only photosynthesis needed would be to refill the algae with oil! Talk about your efficiency!
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Re: Best Way To Extract Oil From Algae???

Postby kdalgae » Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:25 am

I am a student who would like to do my science fair project on the algae biofuel process. I was wondering if someone could explain to me how I am supposed to extract the oil from the algae.
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Re: Best Way To Extract Oil From Algae???

Postby DR Johansen » Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:45 am

I was wondering if someone could explain to me how I am supposed to extract the oil from the algae.
Greetings kdalgae,

At the top of this page under the green banner line there are 5 tabs that constitute a VERY short course on how to follow the “algae to fuel” path. The path has a number of alternate routes, oil being only one possible fuel from algae and there being a large number of ways to extract the oil. However, that actually leads to the 64 Million dollar question, "what is the best way to extract the oil ECONOMICALLY?" I say 64Million cuz that is the least someone will make if they answer that question.

For your purposes, the middle tab, “Harvesting and Extraction” contains some basic info on your issue. It can also lead to ideas for further internet searches. Good luck.

DRJ
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Re: Best Way To Extract Oil From Algae???

Postby hogg » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:33 am

I'm personally glad to see DR (not PhD) on the job again. I look forward to his input.

I'd just about forgotten the whole idea of "Algaeolium" and nobody around me, in the Farming community is willing to risk any money or property on the issue.

I'm copying DR's instructions and will follow and will report back. I sincerely hope there is some help there.
You wouldn't believe what happend when I went to the Sheriff's office and asked for a Meth Cooker! :lol:
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Re: Best Way To Extract Oil From Algae???

Postby afreeman1984 » Thu May 10, 2012 10:04 pm

I think there are several great DiY techniques for extraction...
Pressing, by far the most "garage chemist" viable. Make a press using 5 or 1 micron steel mesh filter, a hydrolic car jack, and a metal bracket built for a containment for your press system. Dry the algae first, press when ready. Run butane through your cylinder to reclaim stubborn oil residues. Butane will evorate so your pure in oil once your done. Plus manual labor drives your extraction.

Ultrasound... I am familiar with. I have no experience with it though. Using ultrasound to deliver pulse frequency modulation is something awesome though. It can be used for electrolysis! If it can break covalent bonds of water it should certainly break through a cell wall! I need this kind of equipment if someone can help me obtain it.

I am not a fan of heating or chemical extractions as this is primitive synthesis and I don't see it as a method offering "green" extraction. Or efficient methodology!

I like enzymatic extraction though! Some enzymes, on the hush for science based reasons due to patents and all that capitalistic BS, are able to target plant cell walls. Bacteria can be used to efficiently make these enzymes, then these enzymes can be used to eat the cells wall and leave you with you good stuff. I am working with some enzymes. They are going to change industry in a variety of ways!

I live in the San Francisco bay area and am working with many methods right now. I would like to reach out to others working on this stuff to assist with speeding up the protocol for extraction and/or helping my company get some equipment that will help with our endeavor. Be in touch if your interested!
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Re: Best Way To Extract Oil From Algae???

Postby DR Johansen » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:09 pm

afreeman1984 wrote: I am not a fan of heating or chemical extractions as this is primitive synthesis and I don't see it as a method offering "green" extraction. Or efficient methodology!
Now you see, everyone has an opinion. Mine is actually the opposite of yours. I opine that hydro-thermal carbonization MAY be the most energy efficient method for extracting usable carbon/hydrocarbons from algae. It is so efficient since it works on WET algae! It is a fairly low pressure process (and the pressure is recoverable) and it is a sligthly EXOthermic reaction so it should be self-sustaining.
What you get out is an aqueous solution of the nutrients, the lipids in liquid form, and the rest in solid carbon form (charcoal). Some of the lipids will be free and others will be adsorbed into the charcoal.
Skim the free lipids, dump the nutrients back, hexane extract the adsorbed lipids, and use the "charcoal" for any of a dozen uses. (Fischer-Tropsch process anyone?)
Just my opinion. :D
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Re: Best Way To Extract Oil From Algae???

Postby DR Johansen » Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:23 am

FYI:
Hydrothermal Carbonization: An Innovative New Process for the Extraction
of Algal Oil

Kenneth Valentas, BioTechnology Institute, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
S. M. Heilmann, Biotechnology Institute, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN


Harvesting the oil produced by algae is a major technical problem that has yet to be economically resolved in an energetically favorable manner. Many research groups are presently engaged in developing techniques to extract lipids from algae and integrating the oil extracts into conventional petroleum processing to produce diesel and jet fuels. The default process for recovering algal oil consists of first drying the algae and then extracting the oil with organic solvents. Most industrial operations that involve drying algae require a significant amount of energy to remove water. This can result in an overall negative energy balance, depending on the algal oil content and often more energy is required for this drying operation than can be obtained from the recovered oil.

Algal slurries as harvested contain 2-3% solids. They can be concentrated through centrifugation or other methods up to as high as 30% solids with expensive equipment and expenditure of energy. To extract the oil effectively the conventional approach is to dry the algal concentrate to about 10% moisture.

Various hydrothermal processing methods for conversion of biomass have been reported. All have an advantage over many conversion processes in that the starting biomass does not need to be dry, and thus the significant energy input required to remove water by evaporation is eliminated. Hydrothermal gasification (HTG) is the most thermally severe process and has been conducted both without catalyst at 400 – 800°C (Matsumura et al. 2005) or with Ni and Ru catalysts at 350 – 400°C (Elliott et al. 2008). Gaseous products from HTG include hydrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide, and this process has also been extended to the use of microalgae (Haiduc et al. 2009). Hydrothermal liquefaction, which is generally conducted at 250 - 450°C (Zhang et al. 2008), provides liquid bio-oils as well as gaseous products and has also been extended to microalgae (Patil et al. 2008).

The mildest reaction conditions, in terms of temperature and pressure, are employed in hydrothermal carbonization (HTC). Lignocellulosic substrates have been extensively examined as reactants at temperatures from 170 – 250°C over a period of a few hours to a day (Titirici et al.2007), and this process has been the subject of a recent review (Titirici et al. 2010). The HTC process takes place effectively only in water, is exothermic, and proceeds spontaneously in the absence of catalysts. In many hydrothermal processing methods, the desired objective of increasing the carbon-to-oxygen ratio (commonly referred to as“carbonization”) has been accomplished by splittingoff carbon dioxide from the reactants (Schumacher et al. 1960). However, this mechanism is undesirable because carbon and oxygen are depleted, as carbon dioxide, and the creation of gaseous products causes even greater reaction pressures. This increases the complexity and cost of reaction equipment. With the HTC process, however, the carbon to oxygen ratio is improved by removing water instead of carbon dioxide, and at the same time, the chemical integrity of lipids is maintained. Thus, the HTC process can be used to separate lipids and oils from the starting biomass.

The HTC process, which is straightforward and environmentally sound, involves heating algal biomass water slurries to temperatures of 190 – 210°C in a confined system at equilibrium pressure for relatively short times on the order of 15 minutes. In the HTC process, oxygen and some hydrogen are removed from the biomass due to the formation of water, even in an aqueous medium. This process occurs through the thermodynamically favored reaction path (Peterson, et al. 2008).

Three valuable product streams have been thus far created by HTC using algae as the starting biomass: (1) a char that is similar compositionally to a very clean coal (algae biochar) but with a highly porous surface and interior morphology, (2) an algal “crude” oil that is “bound” to the biochar, and (3) an aqueous fraction containing soluble products that have utility as a fertilizer to be recycled to support continual algal growth, or for other agricultural applications. The solid and aqueous phases are easily separated by filtration. The algal oil is separated from the char and aqueous fertilizer phase by standard solvent extraction practice.

Consequently, this simple, environmentally friendly, and low energy-requiring process can provide a powerful tool for the economical recovery of algal oil from algal biomass.
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