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Cultivating Algae for Liquid Fuel Production

October 23rd, 2006 | No Comments | Posted in Algae-Cultivation-Biofuel

You are at: Oilgae Blog (Oilgae – Oil & Biodiesel from Algae Home Page)

See also: Oilgae Blog Article Directory for a complete listing of all Oilgae blog posts – covering news, research and updates on biodiesel from algae & other plant feedstock, ethanol, and other renewable energy such as wind energy, hydrogen, hydro-energy, tidal/wave energy, geothermal, solar energy & nuclear energy

This article is about a year old I reckon, but is a useful read


Cultivating Algae for Liquid Fuel Production, Thomas F. Riesing, Ph.D.

WITH THE INCREASING INTEREST in biodiesel as an alternative to petrodiesel, many have looked at the possibility of growing more oilseed crops as a solution to the problem of peak oil. There are two problems with this approach: first, growing more oilseed crops would displace the food crops grown to feed mankind. Second, traditional oilseed crops are not the most productive or efficient source of vegetable oil.

Micro-algae is, by a factor of 8 to 25 for palm oil. and a factor of 40 to 120 for rapeseed, the highest potential energy yield temperate vegetable oil crop.By some estimates, only 15,000 square miles could produce enough algae to meet all of the USA’s ground transportation needs.

Summary of Results form the Aquatic Species Program

Some results listed in the Close Out Report of the ASP are:

· Under optimum growing conditions micro-algae will produce up to 4 lbs./sq. ft./year or 15,000 gallons of oil/acre/year. Micro-algae are the fastest growing photosynthesizing organisms, can complete an entire growing cycle every few days.

· One quad (1015 BTU or 7.5 billion gal.) of biodiesel could be produced on 200,000 ha of desert land (equivalent to 772 sq. mi., roughly 500,000 acres). (To produce one quad from a rapeseed crop would require 58 million acres or 90,000 sq. mi.)

· The outdoor race-track pond production system is the only economically feasible approach given the cost of petroleum in 1996.

· Some of the micro-algae contain up to 60% fat. Once the fat is ‘harvested’— some 70% can be harvested by pressing—what remains becomes a good animal feed or can be processed to produce ethanol.

· The desert test location in New Mexico had sufficient sunlight, but low nighttime temperatures limited the ability to achieve consistently high productivity.

· There were problems getting lab-cultured algae to grow in the outside pond environment.

· No tests were carried out on mechanisms and procedures for harvesting the algae nor on the extraction of oils from the algae.

The article also provides inputs on large-scale and small-scale algae production.

Full article can be read from here.

Oilgae – Oil & Biodiesel from Algae
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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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