Algae fuel, impressive, it seems.

Discuss life, the universe, and everything with other members of this site. Get to know your fellow polywell enthusiasts.

Moderators: tonybarry, MSimon

Robthebob
Posts: 383
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Auburn, Alabama

Algae fuel, impressive, it seems.

Post by Robthebob »

Throwing my life away for this whole Fusion mess.

kunkmiester
Posts: 887
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:51 pm
Contact:

Post by kunkmiester »

This is one of the preferred ways to do renewable fuels. It has a high enough yield to be positive, and does not require massive processing. It'll be perfect when they figure out a way to let it sit in a tank and skim the oil off the top.
Evil is evil, no matter how small

KitemanSA
Posts: 6114
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 3:05 pm
Location: OlyPen WA

Post by KitemanSA »

Personally, I'd love to see it happen. Algaeoleum, not petroleum.

Maybe we can combine the Polywell with a photo-bioreactor and get bio-diesel.

Mike Holmes
Posts: 308
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:15 pm

Post by Mike Holmes »

And, contrary to the situation with bio-fuel from something like corn, instead of decreasing the food supply, it increases it... since you can eat whatever you don't use for fuel.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirulina_ ... upplement)

OK, maybe not as apetizing as a good ear of corn... but it's supposed to be better for you...

Mike

MSimon
Posts: 14332
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 7:37 pm
Location: Rockford, Illinois
Contact:

Post by MSimon »

The question as always is how well does it scale? How much surface are does it require per BTU of fuel?

Oh, yeah. What is the conversion efficiency? Watts of sunlight vs joules from the fuel. And $$ per joule.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

kunkmiester
Posts: 887
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:51 pm
Contact:

Post by kunkmiester »

The answers to those questions, Simon, are "a whole heck of a lot better than ethanol." Algae fuels promise to actually have a break even, once the technical issues are worked out.
Evil is evil, no matter how small

KitemanSA
Posts: 6114
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 3:05 pm
Location: OlyPen WA

Post by KitemanSA »

I have read somewhere that it is up to ~11%, but I have not had that verified.

kunkmiester
Posts: 887
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:51 pm
Contact:

Post by kunkmiester »

http://alfin2100.blogspot.com/2009/03/a ... k-oil.html

http://alfin2100.blogspot.com/2009/04/g ... e-oil.html

Al has some other resources on algae, but I didn't bother looking them up, the real thing with algae is getting the oil out.
Evil is evil, no matter how small

MSimon
Posts: 14332
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 7:37 pm
Location: Rockford, Illinois
Contact:

Post by MSimon »

Latest News:

*

http://seekingalpha.com/article/149477- ... iofuel-bet

*
Earlier this week, the world's largest oil major announced a five-year, $600 million partnership with Synthetic Genomics Incorporated [SGI], a California-based genetic engineering firm, to develop next-gen transportation fuel-from pond scum.

This algae-based bio-oil would so closely resemble the hydrocarbons in petroleum that it could be processed by refineries, be transported through pipelines and fill up car and airplane gas tanks without any upgrades or replacements needed. Sounds pretty fanciful, eh?
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

Skipjack
Posts: 6103
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:29 pm

Post by Skipjack »

Yikes 32 USD per gallon?
That is insane! In order to be somewhat successful it would have to come down to at least 4 USD per gallon. That would still be quite pricey. Otherwise it would not be economic, even with lots of government subsidies.
So I hope that their research will help reduce the cost to 1/8th of the current. I do have a very strong believ in the power of genetic engineering, so I do think that it could be possible.

MSimon
Posts: 14332
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 7:37 pm
Location: Rockford, Illinois
Contact:

Post by MSimon »

Skipjack wrote:Yikes 32 USD per gallon?
That is insane! In order to be somewhat successful it would have to come down to at least 4 USD per gallon. That would still be quite pricey. Otherwise it would not be economic, even with lots of government subsidies.
So I hope that their research will help reduce the cost to 1/8th of the current. I do have a very strong believ in the power of genetic engineering, so I do think that it could be possible.
It has to do a lot better than 1/8th if it is going to include road taxes.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

D Tibbets
Posts: 2775
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 6:52 am

Post by D Tibbets »

[EDITED]
About a year ago there was a reference (from PhysicsNews?) where on a small scale, algae was grown with waste heat and CO2 from a coal plant. The alge was dried and fed back into the incinerator. This has to be substantially cheaper since the apparently expensive oil extration step can be eliminated. This operation does not yield a transportation fuel (except through batteries), but if the alge farming process can produce biodiesel at an energy profit, then direct incineration at a coal plant should be scalable (especially with vertical farming) to such an extent that eventually the coal could be eliminated from the plant entirely.
The capital and maintance costs of the farming portion of the plant might significantly increase the cost over that of mining and transporting the coal.

How much land would be needed to replace the coal in a 500 MW plant, Or at least provide a significant suppliment?
No idea, except, if you can grow 20,000 gallons of alge oil per year, it might be reasonable that you could grow 40,000 gallons of dried algae biomass (all burnable) per year/ acre. If a typical coal power plant is surrounded by ~ 1 square mile and most of that land area was used to grow algae, then ~ 25 million gallons could be produced. Convert that to dry weight, enter the difference in BTU per ton... One thing that might help in this application is that the waste heat could be used as process heat to help grow the algae and dry it.

Concerning the cost, I don't know how difficult it is to extract the vegitable oil from alge comparred to corn oil or soybean oil, but there is certainly alot more oil per pound of feedstock (~50%), so I assume it would be comparable if not cheaper per pound of oil extracted (once production was scaled up). Biodiesel from soybeans is already competative with petrolium diesel.

Some interesting information-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodiesel

Dan Tibbets
Last edited by D Tibbets on Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
To error is human... and I'm very human.

MSimon
Posts: 14332
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 7:37 pm
Location: Rockford, Illinois
Contact:

Post by MSimon »

D Tibbets wrote:About a year ago there was a reference (from PhysicsNews?) where on a small scale, alge was grown with waste heat and CO2 from a coal plant. The alge was dried and fed back into the incinerator. This has to be substantially cheaper since the apparently expensive oil extration step can be eliminated. This operation does not yield a transportation fuel (except through batteries), but if the alge farming process can produce biodesel at an energy profit, then direct incineration at a coal plant should be scalable (especially with vertical farming) to such an extent that eventually the coal could be eliminated from the plant entirely.
The capital and maintance costs of the farming portion of the plant might significantly increase the cost over that of mining and transporting the coal.

How much land would be needed to replace the coal in a 500 MW plant?
No idea, except, if you can grow 20,000 gallons of alge oil per year, it might be reasonable that you could grow 50,000 gallons of dried alge biomass (all burnable) per year/ acre. If a typical coal power plant is surrounded by ~ 1 square mile and most of that land area was used to grow alge, then ~ 30 million gallons could be produced. Convert that to dry weight, enter the difference in BTU per ton... One thing that might help in this application is that the waste heat could be used as process heat to help frow the algee and dry it.

Concerning the cost, I don't know how difficult it is to extract the vegitable oil from alge comparred to corn oil or soybean oil, but there is certainly alot more oil per pound of feedstock (or is it just that there is alot more feedstock?), so I assume it would be comparable if not cheaper per pound of oil extracted ( once production was scaled up). Biodesel from soybeans is already highly competative with petrolium desel.

Dan Tibbets
Dewatering is going to cost you. Unless you want the capital expense for land for air drying. And don't forget you have to store enough to get you through the winter.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

MSimon
Posts: 14332
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 7:37 pm
Location: Rockford, Illinois
Contact:

Post by MSimon »

Biodesel from soybeans is already highly competative with petrolium desel.
With or without road taxes?
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

Post Reply