This article gives quite a different idea of the prospect of algea for biofuels. The US Navy expects to get 336 Million gallons by 2020!
"The U.S. military’s interest in developing algae biofuels dates back at
least three years, when the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
(DARPA) began to assess the technical capabilities needed to produce
JP-8 grade jet fuel. By the end of 2008, DARPA awarded separate
contracts to San Diego’s General Atomics and SAIC, now based in McLean, VA, to make jet fuel from algae and cellulosic feedstocks."
Our minister of economics calls for proposals for small entrepeneurs to develop viable seaweed farming techniques for open sea or ocean connected rivers. This because the expertise is not developed yet while Holland does have great expertise regarding offshore technology and land is expensive compared to space in the north sea. Holland also has a developed biorefining industry. This ties in with the currenly implemented ?bio-based economy? and ?climate change? policies.
Everybody will be doing it
From a recent article on a new startup Sapphire Energy's CEO Jason Pyle: "This isn't the 1990s anymore. You can't just get lucky, found a company and accidentally make a lot of money. You have to be laser-focused and relentless with an incredibly clear plan. And at one point, I didn't have any of those skills.". He is doing a classic misdirection to competitors. He is leaning his hand against one of his plastic bags in which he has common algae growing at record speed. Its the typical one day setup tried many times. The opposite of his words is true. Anyone can start in algae, true it is not easy to make a lot of money, but algae yields are immense compared to other fuelcrops. The goal of riches is only for those wanting to milk investors with a bold plan, and for them any competition shoudl be discouraged. If the dollar loses its oil peg and oil will be at 100 USD, that will be an excellent market for algae grown in any contraption, even labour intensive ones. In such environments centralized growing may not be the most commercial option, and we are likely to see algae grown by basically anyone. But see how Jason tires to get rich.
Accelergy Corporation and A2BE Carbon Capture LLC today announced the formation of the Carbon Cycle Technology Alliance at the 2009 Algae Biomass Summit. The Alliance will commercialize a platform for Integrated Carbon to Liquids™ (ICTL) fuel production technologies that incorporates recycling of process CO2 using algal biomass to produce additional fuel production feedstock. More here.
Los Angeles-based OriginOil Inc. has finished phase one of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the U.S. DOE’s Idaho National laboratory. The goal of the three-step agreement is to develop a process model for the commercial production of algae for biofuels. More here
One of Scotland's best known whisky distilleries is taking part in a scheme to cut carbon dioxide emissions using oil-producing algae. More here.
W2 Energy Inc. (PINKSHEETS: WTWO), a developer of green energy, is pleased to announce its marketing arm has begun negotiating with several organizations and governments in the
By Sam A. RushingNew methods of carbon sequestration are essential to meet the changing political and environmental tone set by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. EPA. Algae can be a partial solution for greenhouse gas reduction as CO2 is an important ingredient used by algae for normal growth, during photosynthesis. A range of 1.5 pounds to 3.0 pounds of CO2 is required for every pound of algae cultivated. There is also strong interest in using algae as a source of feedstock material for biodiesel, and perhaps fermentation. Algae cultivation as a carbon sink is fast becoming a popular consideration among those in the power generating business.More here.
There are two approaches to algae farming. One is the high tech sexy investment appoach. It touts plexiglass tubes with circulating fluid and algae, artificial lighting, greenhouse environment. Not likely to become profitable except maybe for pharmacuetical purposes. The other approach is low budget, using sunlight of highly tuned to a specific environment (a clean CO2 source or a source of manure for example). The first approach is meant to catch investors and fail, the second is meant to succeed. Make sure you invest in the second! What is shown above has been done a dozen times, and give me 1000 USD and I'll do it for you. The trick is to make it profitable, and if a company starts by making the standard unprofitable installation, you know they'll be wasting your money.
Continue reading "China Steps into Algae"
AlgaeBase is a major resource for the phycological community. While this service is ‘free’, it is not without cost, and a great deal of time, expertise and money goes into maintaining and updating this
critical algal database. In my own work I consult algaeBase at least
as often as I turn to an issue of any phycological journal. For many phycologists, it is the first place to go for information on taxonomy, nomenclature, literature and images for teaching and presentations.
Perhaps it has always been possible to make a financial contribution, but on several of the main pages of the algaeBase website I have just noticed that there is a link to Paypal to make a donation. It is easy to do.
While I have no inside knowledge of the financial situation of algaeBase, one can only guess based on the state of Ireland’s economy, and the downturn that must have occurred in government funding and the constraints of their industrial sponsors.
It is time for phycologists to step up and recognize the importance of algaeBase to their work. My suggestion is to treat algaeBase as the equivalent of a society membership or journal subscription, and to make a donation on this basis.
David J. Garbary
Professor of Biology
The mandatory babe!
Bill Gates is supporting a patent the proposes to place barges pumping up cold water in the path of hurricanes. The cold water will stop the hurrican in its tracks, as it needs 80 degrees (fahrenheit) oceans to grow in strenght (watch below).
There is a nice side effect to the proposed system, which brings up water from 700 feet below the surface: It also pumps up nutrients to where they are needed. Actually, a research group already tested the viability of fertilizing surface waters (report here) some years ago. That project called OPPEX-1 did exactly the same, but on a small scale.
A plastic tube was suspended to a depth of several hudred feet (here still floating)
The Goal of OPPEX-1 had been to assess the effects of the deep sea nutrients on life on the surface. The materials used did not prove very sturdy, and effects on the open ocean can be hard to measure, still the results seem to support the theory that surface waters lack some critical nutrients that are available in deeper waters. This could explain mysterious algae blooms as a result of dust blown off land or storm related upwellings.
It is important to refertilize parts of the oceans that have now gone dead for lack of them on the surface. It would increase oceannic absorption of CO2 and the living biomass in every shape. Dead zones are spreading fast, so intervention is direly needed. If not for the CO2 absorption, it is a low tech way to boost the fishstock.
Micro algae cultivation for biomass outperforms the yield of traditional biocrops by a factor 3-6. On top of that they don't need fertile land or fresh water to grow. They also provide an effective carbon sink for pure carbon dioxide producers, potentially making pure carbon dioxide a commodity.
This is the Library page. You can find may articles and slides of past research and projects looking at the potantial of algae.
To suggest or submit a publication send it to email@example.comLibrary Carbon Emissions to Biofuels
Societies and Journals
An old Foe
Stemrust is a historic fungus affecting wheat since biblical times. Recently in 1999 a new strain popped up in Uganda, hence the name UG99. This strain wipes out 100% of the corps affected, and has caused serious crop losses in Africa, Syria, Iran, Asia. This fact showd up in the news in june 2008, and now seems to be raised again.
Wheat consumption rose since the 70´s because of low carbohydrate diets, and is now on the rise again since 2000. Wheat also competes with corn for feeding livestock when its quality is low or corn is not yet available. Major markets are Sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt, Pakistan, Algeria, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Brazil. Wheat is staple food in India, a country likely to be hit soon according to below scenario. More on wheat use here.
UG99 spreads easily as its spores clings to exported materials. Experts agree it is only a matter of time until it will reach the US. To counter it a new strain of wheat must be developed, but that requires time (usually about 12 years) and has not been succesfull until now. If the fungus hits it can wipe out 80% of a harvest, perhaps the next harvest. This means there is not much time to find alternatives, if they exist.
What if wheat drops would fail 100% due to infestations with the ug99 wheatrust? Most investors worry about the increase in commodities prices. It fuels speculation, which can be even more destructive to supplies. It also creates a (financial) dependency on the genetically modified crops, e.g. the companies that make those. A plague of ug99 would mean less food supply in the US, but also much less food supply in the regions mentioned above. If it where necessary to quickly replace this source of nutrition one could look to the sea.
Seaweed and Algae
This could be a chance to introduce more widespread use and farming of seaweed and algae. They can be used as feedstock, food, fertilizer and fuel. Production can be ramped up in months and the nutritional value of algae and seaweed is excellent. For more on growing algae and seaweed look here.
Today, a post in the Scientific American was higlighting a deteriorating vital resource, phorsphor. It stated a few bullets:
This analysis is politicized. It wants to ensure perpetuation of the current approach to the use of phosphor and related industrial cycle. In the proces it damages the image of the most viable solution.
Mining operations are big business, whether it is gold, zinc, aluminium, you name it. People often forget mining operations are hugely energy intensive. If the price of oil increases or oil runs out, many mining operations other than for coal will become a problem. In all there should be a moratorium on any extraction form the earths crust of materials that can not be kept out of the ecological system (that get lost in it), starting with carbon.
The big mining companies however make materials easily available, and whatever it is, it all ends up in the oceans. Because all ores and minerals in the ground will eventually run out mining has no long term future.
Dead zones and Aglae Blooms
In the chain of cause and effect the order is : incresed phosporization > algae growth > oxygen reduction > dead zones. The negative factor here is the phospohor in the waterways, not the algae, in fact, algae can be harvested and minerals can be extracted from them. Large algae/seaweed are used as fertilizer. A smart shift of the mining companies would be to grow seaweed to fuel, fertilizer and food. This would also replenish the oxygen and reduce the acidity of the oceans.
The irony is that mining compnaies strip entire mountains of their soil. Industrialization has reduced the amount of moisture in the air because of dust and sooth particles, making the environment dryer. THis has led to less growth and easier erosion.
Connecting Algae blooms may be functional because algae blooms have a negative sentiment attached, but it politically prevents future benefit from algae and seaweed. The matter should be seen seperately, to much mineral runoff in the oceans is just a bad thing.
The smart thing to do
To future proof agriculture there should be a push to harvest the algae or seaweed that so abundantly grows due to lots of phoshor. That growth means it absorbs it, so instead of mining the ground one could mine the oceans.
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