Skip to comments.If you cant beat em match em, another 600 million bucks to Green Algae research and development.
Posted on 09/30/2009 6:37:49 PM PDT by larry hagedon
A month ago oil giant BP announced a 600 million dollar investment in green algae research. Exxon did not stand still for that. Now they are matching that with their own 600 million bucks.
Green algae is a very versatile crop. You can literally and inexpensively make anything from Green Algae that you can make from petroleum or from corn.
Hundreds of companies world wide are already hard at work building infrastructure; hundreds of thousands of jobs will result as the Bio Tech Age and the green algae technologies mature over the next few years.
Our defense department is supporting this on a large scale as green algae is cutting military and aircraft fuel costs dramatically, on a demonstration project scale. This will again reduce our foreign oil imports, and increase our American security.
Our military will make millions of gallons of aircraft and battlefield fuel and lubricating oil from algae on old oil tankers a few miles off shore from war zones like Iraq, or in friendly ports.
Green algae, unlike petroleum is also set to become a major food and feed source.
This will benefit starving 3rd world countries and American livestock feeders, but all America will profit from the jobs created and the bounty of food made available.
This is a Conservative American's dream come true. Made in America companies, products, jobs, and profits.
Exxon to Invest Millions to Make Fuel From Algae By JAD MOUAWAD Published: July 13, 2009
The oil giant Exxon Mobil, whose chief executive once mocked alternative energy by referring to ethanol as “moonshine,” is about to venture into biofuels.
On Tuesday, Exxon plans to announce an investment of $600 million in producing liquid transportation fuels from algae
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Hmm. Is this what was behind the recent rash of recent stories about the dead area off the Mississipi Delta and the algae-killed lakes in the northern states?
So now we not only burn algae to save the Earth, but we burn Killer Algae to save it twice over?
Maybe just a coincidence. I don’t know.
If they can reduce costs (ie make it commercially viable) and it’s not wholly supported by government subsidize....I’m all for it.
I’ve been more eager about this sort of alternative than any other, because it has the most potential.
This actually has some PROMISE. Doesn’t waste crop land to grow oil instead of food.
“hundreds of thousands of jobs”....how many will have to be government-subsidized?
Green algae bio diesel makes sense. Solar ad wind power do not.
Ethanol does not.
Aw hell, quit making sense. Ethanol subsidies for fuel, sending food costs through the roof are part of the plan. We can’t have some simple algae disrupting the flow. Exxon is big oil and must be taxed beyond recognition - this is heresy!
Amazing how free enterprise can overcome adversity. Watch and wait for some SWEEPING changes made to regulatory or tax implications of this by the idiots at the helm.
Green algae is one, and maybe the only one, of the alternative energy possibilities that seems to make sense for really large scale production. When this was discussed months ago, someone posted links to companies that had pilot projects going, and it looked promising, renewable and a truly new source of energy that wouldn’t compete for food crops to use as raw material.
The other main "food" is concentrated sunlight.
Algae can be processed into ethanol and the carbon dioxide by-product of the distillation process can be piped back into the algae tanks.
Agreed. There are a number of chlorophytes that contain large oil-filled vacuoles. In other words, this has promise.
The hundreds of thousands of jobs is likely wrong, as this is a mix between aquaculture and an automated laboratory process in real life.
Holy hell, you’ve been relegated to Chat. Perhaps it wasn’t breaking, but it’s news. Whatever.
Wish I had the link I followed months ago, but it showed a project that was inside, with long plastic tubes, about a foot in diameter, filled with water and growing algae. The tubes were arranged horizontally and stacked very high, showing how vertical arrangements could produce a lot of output and not require so much surface area.
Finally, Salton City, California has a reason to arise from the muck.
That’s another interesting method. The site I saw months ago had a video which showed their operation. Their indoor operation had large plastic tubes arrranged roughly like venetian blinds, growing the algae inside all the tubes.
The primary characteristics of ANY transportation fuel are energy content (based on an oxygen atmosphere) and transportability. These must be balanced by considerations of safety and cost to produce, plus other factors of diminishing importance.
The lower energy density of ethanol versus gasoline or diesel raises your cost of driving and makes you fill up more often. But it makes it worthless as aviation fuel, because planes are largely designed around their engines and their fuel capacity. However, BUTANOL, a 4-carbon alcohol, could work, if it could be produced at a reasonable cost. It has been used to power a single engine (on a multi-engine jetliner) and it did work. However, its energy density is about 5% lower than standard jet fuel, meaning a reduction in maximum operating range. Also, it can be mixed with petroleum in any ratio, and does act as both an oxygenate and an octane booster. And it is NOT hygroscopic. Unlike ethanol, it does not mix with water.
Hydrogen works for the space shuttle, where weight matters but cost does not. And nuclear works for big ships and submarines, where weight is almost totally insignificant.
Which brings us back to light liquid hydrocarbons - gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel - all of which are just about perfect for their applications.
My belief is that the transportation fuels of the future - decades to centuries - will be indistinguishable from today’s versions. What WILL change will be the feedstocks.
We know from our astronomers, their telescopes, and their spectrometers that hydrocarbons are found throughout the known universe. We know that Titan - a moon of Saturn - has more hydrocarbons than we expect to find on (or in) our own planet, which calls into question the whole idea that all hydrocarbons are organic in origin.
However, all of the hydrocarbon deposits that we have been able to find and exploit so far ARE biological in origin - but not the dinosaur remains of popular myth. Crude oil comes from KEROGEN, and kerogen is the result of ALGAE BEDS (and perhaps some additional plant material) being buried by silt, subjected to subterranean heat and pressure, and eventually migrating toward the surface until trapped by various geologic formations.
“Green crude” from cultivated algae short-circuits the process, and can be fed directly into the same refineries we use for crude oil today. The inputs needed are CO2, both atmospheric and waste CO2 from industrial processes, breweries, and coal power plants; a MINISCULE amound of water (compared to land plants) that need NOT be pure or clean, since many types of algae thrive in seawater, and crop runoff or sewage would provide most of the needed micronutrients; and finally, copious sunlight. NO irrigation with precious potable water would be required.
I SUSPECT that we will eventually use bio-engineered algae in closed bioreactors, but many researchers are investigating wild algae in open ponds,as well. I don’t know the final answer, but that is my best guess now.
One of the amazing things about the Age of Bio Technology is the sheer number of ways you can manipulate the processes. There is now a company setting up at a coal plant to take the CO2 from the stack, and sunlight and a proprietary process and produce industrial chemicals, which I understand are worth more than ethanol.
CO2 is a very valuable bi product of electrical generation that can be converted into any of thousands of chemical products. As the technologies grow, CO2 and the products made from it could become more profitable than the electricity from the coal combustion.
Exciting time we live in.
I have been messing up my posts, putting my comments in the box for the excerpts. I gotta pay more attention to that.
I dont know about that, but Green Algae will soon rival corn and soy beans in volumes and values. I just found out that several months ago a Japanese oil company committed to invest 800 million dollars US into an algae venture in Papua New Guinea.
That news is just now hitting American bio tech news sites.
There are thousands of varieties of green algae, and it grows in fresh water, sewage water, brackish water, salt and brine water, hot springs and arctic cold water.
A lot of green algae grows so fast if can double its weight daily.
The South Koreans were planting 85 thousand acres of a large type seaweed, which is considered green algae too, off their coasts. I have not heard any news about that project for a while.
There are varieties of green algae which consist of 50 percent raw crude oil by dry weight. This can be refined into petroleum type gasoline in regular petroleum refineries.
The algae cake with the oil removed has a high protein value and can be eaten. might not taste too good, but animals eat it and it can be made into protein powder and added to many human food recipes. As production ramps up, there will be millions of tons of it produced and used to feed starving nations. World side food production can expand tremendously. We can also double our current corn production totals anytime we have markets to sell it.
One of the technical problems in green algae utilization was that the best oil producing algaes are not the fastest growing algaes, so a lotta plant breeding is going on to produce better varieties, just as with corn and beans.
I’m a petroleum engineer. I thought this belonged in breaking. What the hell do I know?
Good post. Thanks.
I am about as solidly Conservative as anyone, but subsidies are a part of life today. Every level of government uses them to promote just about any project you can imagine, and thousands you and I never even thought of. It would take a lot to stop them.
Yes, if we could stop all of them I would vote for that.
One thing to remember is that for the DOD, the stakes are very high. They will be spending very heavily to develop military bio fuels, before China and Russia do, and it is a bitterly fought race right now.
Actually, we are making both food and fuel from our corn and beans. This is much better than only using them for food. If we have to stop making corn and beans based ethanol, bio diesel, pharmaceuticals and industrial chemical products, American agriculture will have to cut back millions of acres of corn planting.
For years soy beans were crushed to make high protein soy meal for livestock feeding. They wanted the soy oil out of the feed, as it was bad for the animals to eat that much.
We made soy oil into cooking oils, pharmaceuticals and odds and ends, but millions of gallons were being stored, looking for a use and a market. Then we started making bio diesel. It took years to use up the backlog of stored soy oil, but now we make any surplus into bio diesel and we have a happy balance, marketing all of the products of soy bean processing.
Corn is much more complex and is processed into any of thousands of food, feed, chemicals, plastic, pharmaceutical products, and fuels too, as markets demand them. More corn based products are being developed daily.
America has the capacity to double current corn production, as we develop the markets to sell the stuff.
Judging from local South East Iowa bio tech employment, not many jobs will need to be subsidized. There are several thousands of bio tech employees within 50 miles of my home, many are well trained technicians trained in our local community college.
There is lots of competition for the jobs and they seem to be well paid and stable employment.
Here is a link;
There is no way all of teh pilot plants started will end up being the winning technologies, there is a continueing winnowing of technologies, and management skills too.
That said, many of those pilot plants are now being expanded into demonstration plants and full sized production plants.
Other bio feedstocks that will succeed are; garbage, in fact landfills will be outlawed, sewage, animal manures, much of the nutrient rich runoff from agricultural fields will grow green algae instead of feeding the ocean dead zones. Storm and demolition debris, office and factory wastes, waste plastics, leaves and lawn clippings and road kill will all be processed into various chemicals and fuels.
Water is another co product that will be separated from bio feedstocks, purified and sold.
That was nice to read, thanks.
“One thing to remember is that for the DOD, the stakes are very high. They will be spending very heavily to develop military bio fuels, before China and Russia do, and it is a bitterly fought race right now.”
For security reasons, I do think a level of investment is appropriate. But it shouldn’t be sold as a way to make jobs or help the climate. We do have valid concerns in our national security and I think the best ones can be funded to a very limited amount. RESULTS being key.
I agree, though, subsidizes are a ‘way of life’, but I figure one of these days they’ll be more limited and accountable.
Here are some links referring to container grown algae. I make no recommendations as to any of them. There are many more companies not listed here.
Several major airlines have test flown bio fuels. They have indicated they will order them as production ramps up.
The DOD is contracting for bio fuel right now, including aviation fuel, see links below.
I dont know where this belongs either, breaking news or where. The Assyrians used bio technology to produce gas to heat their baths thousands of years ago, so bio tech is not new.
Your opinion, but thousands of entrepreneurs world wide are betting billions of dollars you are wrong.
For the record, I am as strongly against the wacked out theory of man made climate change as anyone.
Please note that “Green Crude” is absolutely biological in origin, and thus products made from it certainly qualify as green. Butanol (which I mentioned) can be made from either crude oil or biological sources using the ABE (Acetone- Butanol- Ethanol) fermentation process invented nearly a hundred years ago by Chaim Weizmann, the first president of Israel. Today there are many variations and improvements on the process that increase the butanol yield.
But hydrogen, ethanol, and other such direct substitutes are simply not up to the task, for the reasons I listed earlier.
All that will be shaken out as the Age of Bio Technology matures. Sure, lots of products, processes and companies will fail to compete. Time will tell which ones succeed.
Several ethanol plants have gone broke due to poor management, wildly gyrating oil prices or speculation on corn futures, Now a large company is buying some of them up and converting them to bio butanol.
The DOD just ordered 600,000 gallons of jet fuel from several companies using several feed stocks. It will be used for testing and writing military bio fuel specs.
Green algae will be grown all over the world, from Iowa for animal manure clean up to Papua New Guinea where Cosmo oil from Japan is investing 800 million dollars US, to the Canadian oil sands for oil spill clean up.
Many different algae varieties, including lots of GM types, will be used in various climates and processes used around the world.
Which fuels and processes succeed and which fail will be determined in the future, based on future technologies ans markets, not on history. We do not know yet that hydrogen and ethanol will succeed or will fail.
True, only time will tell. However, chemistry, and the potential energy of various molecules, provides several clues about what that future might hold.
Hydrocarbon molecules offer BY FAR the best combination of energy density, practicality, and safety as a storage medium for hydrogen. And compared gallon for gallon to, for instance, liquefied H2 in dewar container at its critical temp and pressure (-400F, about 200 PSI), the $5 Walmart red plastic container holding $2 to $5 worth of gasoline actually contains more than 50% MORE HYDROGEN than the pure H2, and almost FOUR TIMES the potential chemical energy!
Still, H2 might make some sense IF it were freely available
- but it simply cannot be found in that state, on this planet, in more than trace amounts, although we literally have OCEANS of the oxide covering more than half the Earth.
Ethanol comes closer to a realistic substitute, but again, it loses on energy density and cost. And as I stated before, NOT for aviation.
One of the factors ushering in the Age of Bo Technology is that thru bio technology we have so many choices.
We have huge numbers of choices in bio feed stocks and we have lists of numerous products we can make from them, with new ones being developed daily.
All of this will be sifted thru and the most appropriate feedstocks will be selected to make the products most in demand.
Hydrogen and Ethanol will have their niches, as will thousand of other products.
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