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Grow Your Own? American Scientist Online

Here is a balanced article on the possibilities of (and problems with) algal biodiesel…Author: David Schneider, Magazine: American Scientist Online.

Useful read.

Summary & excerpts

1. …ethanol, which contains only two-thirds the energy of gasoline gallon for gallon, whereas biodiesel ends up being only 2 percent less fuel-efficient than petroleum-based diesel.
2. Conservationists have been warning that palm oil production poses a dire threat to the dwindling population of orangutans, for example, which exist in the wild only in Borneo and Sumatra.
3. Some varieties of algae can contain 50 percent or more oil, and grow much more rapidly than ordinary cultivars—with doubling times that can be as short as several hours.
4…challenges involved in devising a bioreactor that costs little and supports sufficient productivity that excessive land use is not a factor.
5. …productivities of about 100 grams of algae per meter squared per day (about three times what was demonstrated during the Aquatic Species Program) is needed to achieve commercial viability…
6. “It’s no real difficult feat to turn nutrients into algae,” says Kent SeaTech’s director of research, Jon C. Van Olst, “but how do you get it out of the water? They are almost impossible to harvest.”
7. “Growing algae is cheap…but certainly not as cheap as growing palm oil.”
8. …”In the laboratory, you can create some very efficient bioreactors, but it just isn’t scalable”…Asked whether biodiesel will ever be made this way: “Not from microalgae—I just can’t see it.”

Companies & individuals mentioned:
Cos/organizations: US EPA, US DoE & Aquatic Species Program, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Veridium Corp., GreenFuel Technologies, Kent SeaTech Corporation, John R. Benemann, Cyanotech Corporation
Persons: Michael S Briggs, David J Bayless, Isaac Berzin, Jon C. Van Olst, John R. Benemann, Gerald R. Cysewski

Read the full article here

Oilgae – Biodiesel from Algae
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algOS – Biodiesel from Algae Open Source

Oilgae.com – Oil & Biodiesel from Algae provides links, provides directory and web links resources for the algae-based biofuels & biodiesel. It is intended to be useful for research, information, inputs, news for buyers, sellers, manufacturers, traders, suppliers, producers, exporters and importers of algal oil and algal fuels. It will make an effort to provide info on biofuel feedstock, algal feedstocks, algae oil info and link, details on fuel from algae, bio-fuel, bio-diesel, bio-fuels, algal oils production and uses, and biofuels trade & market resources, data, statistics such as price, prices, demand-supply for buyer, seller, manufacturer, trader, supplier, exporter and producer

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One Response to “Grow Your Own? American Scientist Online”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Please please please, someone direct me to suppliers of rack mount plastic bags for algae growth to produce oil for bio-diesel? Why is this so hard to find?

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