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Algae could be fuel of the future

October 19th, 2006 | No Comments | Posted in algae oil production, Algae-Biodiesel

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Algae could be fuel of the future – Slimy stuff used in experiment to cut greenhouse gases

Mark Shaffer, The Arizona Republic, Oct. 13, 2006 06:03 PM


1. But algae absorbing vast quantities of carbon dioxide from smokestacks at Arizona Public Service Co.’s Redhawk electric plant is being billed as an answer for greenhouse gases and a source for biodiesel and ethanol.

2. A yearlong experiment has been so successful that it’s about to expand into greenhouses on the plant grounds.

3. There is hope that algae fuel will replace more than one-third of the natural gas used to power the Redhawk plant.

4. The idea is the brainchild of Isaac Berzin, who was experimenting with growing algae on the International Space Station three years ago when he came up with the idea of using it to clean up power-plant exhausts.

5. Algae ingests carbon dioxide and releases oxygen in the photosynthesis process. Algae is laden with oils that can be used to produce biodiesel, starches that can be transformed into ethanol and protein that could have a market niche in cattle and fish feed.

6. Berzin founded GreenFuel Technologies of Cambridge, Mass.

7. GreenFuel went to the desert west of Phoenix after the company struck a deal with APS to conduct a demo project beginning last year

8. Some problems faced were: (1) How to give it enough light to maximize its growth. Algae thrives on the surface of water and other moist surfaces, but the growth rate slows considerably at more than a centimeter beneath the surface. (2) How to get the carbon dioxide, which is a byproduct of electric generation, into the water rapidly enough to spur maximum growth.

9. One of the problems Japanese researchers faced was that the algae would attach to the microfibers that were necessary to produce more light for growth inside the growth containers.

10. One algae cell can produce seven others within a 24-hour period in optimum growing conditions

11. The GreenFuel CEO reckons that they could get maybe even 200 tons of algae per acre annually during mass production

12. Commercial production is expected to begin in 2008 in Arizona

13. One of the challenges is getting the right strain fast in order to be the dominant culture against its predators

14. Algae is a tremendously large resource base compared to that and other vegetable oils because you don’t have to worry about a growing season

Full article here

Personalities mentioned: APS senior engineer Ray Hobbs; Cary Bullock, GreenFuel’s CEO, Qiang Hu, an assistant professor of applied biological sciences at Arizona State University; John Sheehan of Denver, who led a research project for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the early 1990s examining smokestack emissions for algae production

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algOS – Biodiesel from Algae Open Source

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

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