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Shankar's Blog

Japan rejoins the algae race !

Strangely, Japan had a # 132 m project in the 90s ie around the end time of ASP /NREL which wound up in 96.

Japans project mentioned above closed for the same reason why NRELs project was closed. Crude Oil price fell.
Below $ 10 per barrel.

NOW, Japan is restarting research in algae to find oil.
I think the race is truly on.


Japan abandoned a $132 million algae project in the 1990s, when oil prices dropped below $10 a barrel and climate change took a back seat to promoting economic growth during the country?s ?Lost Decade.?


Now oil majors led by Exxon Mobil Corp. are turning to the experimental technology as pressure grows to find less-polluting alternatives to crude oil.



?A tug of war may begin among industrial nations for a new way of making algae-derived fuel in the years ahead,? Hidetoshi Shioda, a senior energy analyst at Mizuho Securities Co. in Tokyo, said before the announcement. ?Japan may need strong political leadership to compete for algae-oil hegemony.?


At least 75 developers globally are studying algae, which has the potential to generate more energy per hectare than any other crop used for making fuel, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report in February.


The technology has attracted the U.S. Department of Energy and companies including Exxon Mobil Corp., which plans to spend as much as $600 million on research over five years.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-06-18/toyota-r-d-unit-hitachi-join-algae-biofuel-study-update1-.html
Sat June 19 2010 03:39:33 AM by Shankar japan and algae to oil

Regulations on the Use of Genetically Modified Algae

" This is very important to our club. This article too goes over my head. Not as much as second law of thermodynamics.
David Glass, Ph.D. is a veteran of nearly thirty years in the biotech industry, with expertise in industrial biotechnology regulatory affairs, patents, technology licensing, and market and technology assessments. This blog provides back-up and expanded content to complement a presentation Dr. Glass made at the EUEC 2010 conference on February 2, 2010 entitled ?Prospects for the Use of Genetic Engineering in Biofuel Production.? "


Impact of Biotechnology Regulations on the Use of Genetically Modified Algae for Biofuel Production
By dglassassociates

In the preceding entry of the blog, I discussed how the regulatory programs of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S Department of Agriculture might affect the use of genetically modified algae for biofuel uses. It would appear that the EPA Biotechnology Rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was more likely to be applicable than the USDA?s biotechnology rules under the Plant Protection Act. But I?ll briefly comment on how algal programs might be handled under each of these programs, and discuss the need to develop a common understanding between regulators and the industry about how these regulations would affect companies developing modified algae for biofuel production and other uses.

Possible Requirements under EPA Regulations

As is described in more detail elsewhere in this blog, under the TSCA Biotech Rule, EPA regulates certain industrial uses of ?new microorganisms?, which are defined as those that contain coding nucleic acids from more than one taxonomic genus. Although most R&D uses are exempt from reporting under TSCA provided the microorganism is used in a ?contained facility?, the use of a new microorganism for a commercial purpose (in an industrial field subject to TSCA) would require the filing of a Microbial Commercial Activity Notification (MCAN) 90 days before the intended commencement of commercial use. (Please refer to that earlier blog entry for a great deal more detail on this regulatory program).

It is likely that any regulatory review of engineered algae would be subject to the same data and procedural requirements as has been the case for modified bacteria that have so far been subject to TSCA regulation. Specifically, this would include the need to submit a detailed description of the construction of the modified organism, a description of the manufacturing process in which it is intended to be used, description of the controls that would be put into place to minimize possible dissemination of the microbe outside the facility, and whatever data is in the applicant?s possession regarding the possible health or environmental effects of the organism. EPA?s review would focus on balancing the potential risks of the project against the potential benefits, and although one wouldn?t expect most algal strains to pose unusual environmental risks, the issues EPA addresses may be different for algae than they have been for the modified bacteria and fungi that have been the subject of all prior MCANs submitted to date.

For any algae projects subject to EPA authority under these rules, one potential area of concern would be the design of the bioreactors to be used with the algae. In current practice, algae are often grown in open-air reactors, or in other reactor designs that may differ considerably from traditional bacterial fermentation set-ups. If a reactor was judged by EPA not to be sufficiently ?contained? as defined in the regulations, EPA would consider any use of such reactor with live algae to be an outdoor use, triggering the need for regulatory oversight (e.g. requiring submission of a TSCA Environmental Release Application) at the research level and possibly a greater level of scrutiny at commercial scale. Aside from such possible heightened concerns about issues like containment, controlled access to the facility, handling and inactivation of spent biomass and other wastes, one could expect that EPA review and handling of an MCAN for an engineered algae under the TSCA regulations would proceed in much the same way as prior reviews of MCANs for engineered bacteria. With proper planning, advance consultation with the Agency, and given sufficient time to develop the needed data package, algae projects that might fall subject to TSCA should not encounter too much difficulty in being cleared for commercialization.

http://dglassassociates.wordpress.com/2010/06/16/impact-of-biotechnology-regulations-on-the-use-of-genetically-modified-algae-for-biofuel-production/

Biofuels Engineering Process Technology

Biofuels Engineering Process Technology


A book review
" I am neither familiar with organic chemistry, second law of thermodynamics, Process tech etc.,
I thought many erudite members of this club would be wellversed with many of the above. That is why I am posting it here.
If some of you have already read this book, may be we could have a healthy discussion"
Shankar

Biofuels Engineering Process Technology
A book review

The authors begin by explaining the justification for alternative energy. The reasons set forth are:


o diminishing oil reserves and the increasing difficulty and cost of extraction

o global climate change considerations

o increasing fuel prices

o the need for energy independence

The largest oil reserves are in Saudi Arabia, Canada, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, UAE and Venezuela. Geothermal and solar energy have less than 20% efficiency at the current technological learning curve but zero emissions.


Biofuels are substantially carbon neutral according to the authors. There was a considerable presentation on fuels derived from fermentations; such as, ethanol, hydrogen, microbial oils and methane.

The strategy for a bioreactor design is based upon the maximum rate of production formation, biomass production or substrate utilization. Fuel treatments to reduce fire hazards can contribute 54 MT ( million tons) of bio mass yearly.


Muni solid waste has the potential for biofuel production. Vegetable based fuels capture solar energy through plants and photosynthetic pigments. These veggie-based fuels sequester CO2 from the atmosphere as a primary carbon source.


The carbon is biologically converted to greater energy starches, celluloses, proteins and oils as storage and structural compounds. Some algae can convert CO2 to 60% - 70% of their dry weight in the form of storage oils.

Microalgae have very versatile growing conditions dating back to the earliest eukaryotic organisms on the earth.


Algae can inhabit many different environments as long as water and micronutrients exist alongside. Algae have been shown to accumulate a high level of lipids consisting of over 80% of their dry weight.

The microbial fuel cell or MFC is a specialized biological reactor where the electrons processed during microbial metabolic activity are intercepted to provide useful electric power.


In an MFC, the oxidation of the electron donor compound is physically separated from the terminal electron acceptor. The microbes are grown in the anode chamber where the electron donor compound is oxidized, with the electrons transferred to the anode instead of oxygen or an external electron acceptor.

MFCs convert chemical to electrical energy.

Emissions from biodiesel in combustion engines are greatly reduced compared to the petroleum diesel. Nonetheless, nitrogen oxide emissions constitute a drawback.


Decreases in NO emissions are possible with corrections in injection timing and combustion temperatures. These incremental costs may add more steps to the process and (by implication) more costs.

The thermodynamic properties with respect to temperature of biodiesel fuels compared to diesel are higher for biodiesel. Higher flash points result in a safer fuel for handling. Density and viscosity of biodiesel is higher than for petroleum fuels and alcohols. Electricity from gasification of biomass has a low production cost at 5 cents per KWH.


Simultaneous esterification of free fatty acids to alkyl esters will occur due to increased biodiesel yields from lower quality feedstocks.

Esterification involves two reactants (alcohol acid) to form an ester product. Esters are common in organic chemistry and may smell like fruit. This characteristic leads to the application of esters in fragrances.

Ester bonds may be found in polymers. The yield of the product in esterification may be improved by using Le Chatelier's principle.

Esterification is a reversible reaction as opposed to an irreversible one. Hydrolysis or "water splitting" is the addition of water and a catalyst like NaOH to an ester to arrive at the sodium salt of the carboxylic acid and alcohol.


As a result of this reversibility, many esterification reactions are equilibrium reactions. These reactions go to completion by Le Chatelier's principle.

An irreversible process is a process that cannot return both the system and the surroundings to the original state(s) assuming a reversal of the original process. Most processes, of course, are irreversible processes (or nonequilibrium processes). Letting air from a balloon released into a room is an irreversible process.

Overall, these irreversible processes are a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics, which is frequently defined in terms of the entropy or disorder of a system.

There are several ways to phrase the second law of thermodynamics. There is a limit on how efficient any transfer of heat can be.


According to the second law of thermodynamics, some heat will be lost in the process. This loss explains why it is not possible to have a completely reversible process in everyday life.

For example, a car engine doesn't give back the fuel it took to drive up a hill even if the car coasts down a mile long hill thereafter.

The authors concentrate efforts substantially on biofuels. Ultimately, the "Artificial Sun" may prove to be the game changer. Shortly, a scientific team will begin attempts to ignite a tiny manufactured star inside a lab and trigger a thermonuclear reaction.


Its goal is to generate temperatures of more than 100 million degrees Celsius and pressures billions of times higher than those found anywhere on earth, from a tiny speck of fuel.

The National Ignition Facility (NIF) in Livermore will utilize a laser that concentrates 1,000 times the electric generating power of the United States into a billionth of a second. The result should be an explosion in the reaction chamber which will produce 10 times the amount of energy used to create it.

Until now, such fusion has only been possible inside nuclear weapons and highly unstable plasmas created in incredibly strong magnetic fields. The work at Livermore could change the historical applications mix. Source: NIF, Livermore

Overall, the authors provide a very thorough rendition of biofuels engineering with excellent reference materials at the end of each chapter.

Readers who are conversant in organic chemistry, materials science structure of matter and thermodynamics will appreciate the superior technical presentation embodied in this text. There is an extensive scientific presentation of conversion factors and constants at the end of the book.

Caye M. Drapcho, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and the Graduate Coordinator in the Department of Biosystems Engineering at Clemson University. She has over 13 years of experience in bioprocess and bioreactor design.

Nhuan Ph? Nghi?m, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Biochemical Engineer in the Crop Conversion Science and Engineering Research Unit at the Eastern Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Clemson University. He has more than 20 years of experience in bioprocess engineering in industrial and federal research laboratories.

Terry Walker, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biosystems Engineering at Clemson University. He has over 10 years of experience in bioprocess engineering, specializing in fungal fermentation, bioproduct separations, and bioavailability studies.

Joseph S. Maresca Ph.D., CPA, CISA, MBA: His significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences. He holds membership in the prestigious Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society and Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society. In addition, he blogs and reviews many books for Basil & Spice. Visit the Joseph S. Maresca Writer's Page.
Fri June 18 2010 02:46:01 AM by Shankar 2 Biofuels Engineering Process Technology

Breakthrough tech to convert CO2 to methane

Carbon Sciences Inc. has developed a breakthrough technology that can convert carbon dioxide emissions directly into liquid portable fuel such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.


Carbon Science proposed to use large amounts of low-quality algae to capture the emissions, digest the algae into methane and produce liquid fuels through the new gas-to-liquids process.


This will help eliminate the world?s dependence on petroleum.

http://www.ecoseed.org/en/general-green-news/greentech-news/emerging-technologies/7380



The clean technology company?s gas-to-liquids fuel technology takes inspiration from a natural life-support process found in some microorganisms, which involves the transformation of carbon dioxide into fuel molecules such as methane, methanol and butanol.

However, the company found this process slow and inefficient as proteins expire after a few cycles of transforming carbon dioxide molecules into fuel molecules.


The microorganisms need to exert a good amount of energy to produce new proteins.
Fri June 18 2010 02:30:43 AM by Shankar 7 methane from algae

4th generation bio fuels

I thought algae is the third generation bio fuel.
What is this 4th generation bio fuel ?
Thu June 17 2010 05:21:24 AM by Shankar

The algae powered lamp

The design consists of a conical jar with a spout and a cross between a handle and a built-in straw at the top. Water is added through the spout, CO2 is added by breathing through the handle, sunlight enters from all sides and everything is in place to harvest energy from the algae.

More http://www.gizmag.com/algae-power-light/15361/
Mon June 14 2010 02:28:14 AM by Shankar 2 algae lamp

First Plane with 100% algae fuel !!

The first airplane to fly on a 100-percent algae fuel will take to the air in Berlin this week, reported the news service AFP. EADS, a European aerospace conglomerate that operates Airbus and other aviation subsidiaries, has developed a plane that will run on pure algae-based biofuel and will be showing it off at the Berlin Air Show (ILA) that runs from June 9 to June 13.

http://www.heatingoil.com/blog/algae-powered-plane-will-debut-at-berlin-air-show612/
Sun June 13 2010 02:37:46 PM by Shankar

Oil from Algae at $ 80 a barrel !!!

"We've produced tens of thousands of gallons, and by the end of 2010, I hope I can say we've produced hundreds of thousands," Wolfson, 39, says. "In the next two years, we should get the cost down to the $60-to-$80-a-barrel range."


Harrison Dillon, chief technology officer of startup Solazyme Inc., says.


At that price, algae fuel would compete with $80-a-barrel oil.

Wanna read more ! http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20100613/BUSINESS/6130325/1003/Investors-bet-on-algae-as-green-diesel-alternative
Sun June 13 2010 02:35:34 PM by Shankar 1 solazyme