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Algae biofuel PBR at $ 4000 3

Algae biofuel process set up cost

An interesting write up by an algaepreneur. Ron Brown has given his costing. It is in contrast with the academic costing given by EBI. I wish he could be invited along with the authors to discuss the algae biofuel costs and costing.
Go ahead read on a short note by Ron Brown on how he set up his own algae farming to oil extraction.

"Last year,  I became a founding director and Chief Technical Officer of Aquatic Resource Farming, Inc. in a scheme to grow algae for its oil for use as a renewable fuel feedstock."

He seems to have started all this almost solo. I admire the initiative.

" We built a 300-gallon concrete raceway for  $300.00.  (Plastic raceways of about the same size are  commercially available for $7,000.00.)

 I designed, built, and patented a bio-reactor at a cost of about $4,000.00, as opposed to at least tens of thousands of dollars for its equivalent.  "

He has been cost conscious all along.

"We tried four different techniques for harvesting the algae from the water (flocculation, foam flotation, electrophoresis, and centrifugation), finally implementing a harvesting strategy that uses two 60-liter-per-hour cream separators from Ukraine, bought through eBay at a cost of $135.00 each, saving thousands of dollars. "

Meticulous planning.

 "To extract the oil from the algae, we tried solvent extraction, with some success.  Searching for a more cost-effective solution, I bought a hand-operated screw expeller press from Rajkumar Engineering for $100.00.  After some false starts, we were able to use it to extract oil from the dried algae. 

Larger units are available from China for $3,000.00.  Prices for expeller presses specifically designed for use with algae start at $9,000.00.

Although we were able to surmount all the technical obstacles, there were a few surprises:

 We discovered that the bioreactor was not even necessary after the first batch.  If we could just save five gallons of dense culture or a couple of kilos of algae paste from  the current batch, it could easily be preserved in a refrigerator.  Although we had arranged for $80,000 in capital, this never materialized, leaving the company with an uncertain future

We are poised to set up a 1/10th acre pilot plant to demonstrate the scalability and commercial feasibility of our process, but there is no money.   We found a grant opportunity with the National Science Foundation which would allow us to continue, but the deadline is fast approaching, and it is not clear whether we will be able to get everything set up properly in time to meet the deadline."

By Ron Brown


More about algae biofuel cost and algea biofuel costing at
Fri November 19 2010 09:13:20 PM by Shankar algae biofuel cost 2702 views

Comments - 3

  • Sat November 20 2010 05:42:08 AM


    Where are you located at?  In the USA?

    Alan Schaefer

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  • Sun November 21 2010 12:17:57 PM

    Hi Ron, 
    email me at jb.ramada@u-nergy.com to chat about your project. We have a similar situation, maybe we could join forces and exchange valuable information. 
    Or give me a call at 34-697609374 (I'll be in Spain until March 2011)
    Juan Ramada

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  • Shankar wrote:
    Mon November 22 2010 09:41:47 PM

    Ron Brown is not a member of this club, I guess.
    I got the article when I was browsing the internet. 
    So, we need to make an effort outside of the club to reach out to Ron Brown.

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