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Some Cool Ideas for Algae Fuel Enthusiasts

September 15th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Algae, Uncategorized

An interesting article written by Narsi of Oilgae providing some cool ideas for the algae fuel enthusiasts who are interested in digging up the possibilities to venture into this field.

An algae biofuel specialist’s job today is not exactly easy, whether she/he is in R&D, marketing or investing.

So I thought, why not have a bit of fun. Fun? Well, sort of. I thought I might as well throw up a few interesting possibilities (some might be tempted to call them cool)

  • *Closed Loop Power Generation Using Algae as Fuel
  • * Biomass Based Power Generation Coupled with Algae-based CO2 Capture
  • * Using Algae for Capturing CO2 from Vehicle Tail pipes
  • * Using Algae in CO2 Capture for Ships
  • * Macroalgae-based Gasification for Oil and/or Power
  • * Algae-covered Buildings for CO2 Capture and Oil Production
  • * Harvesting Algal Blooms from the Oceans
  • There is little doubt that there could be many more possibilities, but I will try to dig into each of the above seven for this newsletter.

    Closed Loop Power Generation Using Algae as Fuel

    Visualize this: A power plant that grows algae using its emissions in turn uses the algae biomass as the feedstock instead of coal. And the whole process is self-sustainaing. Sounds too good to be true? Don’t be too sceptical.

    Biomass Based Power Generation Coupled with Algae-based CO2 Capture

    There are about 200-odd power plants worldwide exploring using biomass instead of coal for power generation. This results in a net reduction of CO2 emissions when compared with the case where coal is used as fuel.

    Now, consider using algae to capture the CO2 and partially sequester it. This results in a process in which the net emissions could even be negative, and still presents a sustainable process.

    Using Algae for Capturing CO2 from Vehicle Tail pipes

    Now, this is cool. Algae can grow anywhere, right? So, why can’t we have a little contraption hanging at the back of our cars, which could capture and use the CO2 emissions to feed and grow algae?

    Using Algae in CO2 sequestration for ships
    Many species of algae grow well in marine habitats (especially macroalgae). Is there some way by which these algae could be grown trailing ships where they are fed the CO2 emissions from the ship?

    Macroalgae-based Gasification for Oil and/or Power

    This is not so exotic after all. Indeed, there are a couple of companies trying this out (actually, they are using microalgae, not macroalgae, to be precise). The highlights of this process are obvious: macroalgae require much less care for its growth, and harvesting is much less costly as well. Gasification process is, to a large extent, feedstock agnostic, and the whole process could scale well as well.

    Algae-covered Buildings for CO2 Capture and Oil Production

    I’m sure you have read about this. It sounded exotic when I first read it, and it still does. ( http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/09/08/algae-covered-buildings-to-boost-biofuel-production/ )

    Harvesting Algal Blooms from the Oceans

    This is not an exotic idea either, but it belongs to this list because few, if any, companies are actually trying it out. This path seems to be a cool one – take off the problematic algal blooms and get valuable biofuel from them.

    Adapted from the Oilgae Newsletter written by Mr. Narsi Santhanam, Oilgae

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