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Biofuel Made from Power Plant CO2

October 15th, 2006 | No Comments | Posted in Algae-Biodiesel, Algae-Cultivation-Power-Plants

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Biofuel made from power plant CO2

A New Scientist Article


1. Two of the world’s greatest energy users are electricity generation
and transport. Both are responsible for huge quantities of greenhouse gas
emissions. Now companies such as GreenFuel Technologies are hoping to marry the two together with an emerging technology that uses a by-product of one to supply fuel to the other. Doing so could dramatically reduce their overall carbon dioxide emissions.

2. At the heart of the technology is algae, which literally sucks the CO2 out of a power plant’s exhaust. The algae can in turn be converted into biofuel, creating a cycle that takes the carbon from the smokestack to the gas tank before it enters the atmosphere.

3. If successful, the technology could capture all of a power plant’s CO2 emissions.
4. CO2 is fed into bioreactors where they help in the growth of algae.

5. The algal oil can then be converted into biodiesel through a routine process called transesterification

6. GreenFuel is testing a pilot facility at the Redhawk power station in
the Arizona desert.

7. The main energy requirement is recovering the solvent from the oil once it is extracted

8. GreenFuel has so far received more than $18 million in venture capital funding, and hopes to install a full-scale algal farm by 2009.

9. The idea of producing biofuel from algae is not new. The US Department of Energy began investigating algae in the 1970s during the global oil shortage.

10. GreenFuel is not the first to use algae to produce samples of biofuel from power plant exhaust. In March (2006) Laurenz Thomsen and his team at the Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Project at the International University Bremen in Germany used microalgae to produce 10 millilitres of biodiesel.

11. Another company building a pilot algae reactor is New York-based Greenshift.

12. Instead of exposing the algae directly to sunlight, Greenshift uses an array of mirrored troughs and fibre optics to carry sunlight to the plants. By diffusing the sunlight, the utilisation of solar energy could be maximised.

13. Indeed, one key advantage of algae farms over other sources of biofuel such as corn and soybeans is that they need much less space. In Germany, where rapeseed is the primary crop used for biodiesel, it would take up to 33 times as much land as is needed by the algae bioreactors to produce the same amount of fuel

14. Algae can also to munch on the organic matter in human waste, producing a carbon-rich oil. Aquaflow Bionomic of Marlborough, New Zealand, is extracting oil from the algae that grow naturally in wastewater treatment facilities.

Article from current issue of New Scientist

Personalities mentioned: Michael Berzin of GreenFuel Technologies; Laurenz Thomsen and his team at the Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Project at the International University Bremen in Germany; Barry Worthington of the US Energy Association in Washington DC; Nick Gerritsen of Aquaflow, New Zealand

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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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