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Scumming surface for fuel
www.denverpost.com ^ | 12/07/2006 | Steve Raabe

Posted on 12/15/2006 11:16:07 AM PST by Red Badger

Inexpensive and abundant diesel fuel from an unlikely source - algae - is getting a Colorado boost toward commercial production.

Colorado State University and Solix Biofuels Inc., a Boulder start up company, unveiled a plan Thursday to develop a prototype bioreactor at the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, possibly leading to wider commercial production within two years.

Researchers at CSU and Solix are billing the renewable technology as a way to help wean the United States from imported oil.

An additional benefit could be using carbon dioxide from power-plant emissions as a feedstock for the algae. Carbon dioxide is a suspected contributor to global warming.

The researchers said experimental production at CSU shows that the process can make fuel at a cost close to current retail prices. Colorado diesel sold at an average of $2.68 a gallon Thursday, according to AAA.

"We're facing two global challenges: depletion of our petroleum reserves and a buildup of greenhouse gases," said Bryan Willson, director of CSU's Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory. "This process harnesses photosynthesis to turn carbon dioxide and energy captured from the sun into an economical petroleum substitute."

By the end of next year, Solix plans to open a 0.4-acre bioreactor at New Belgium that will produce 3,000 gallons of diesel per year.

The brewery will use excess carbon dioxide to test the biodiesel process.

Solix officials declined to disclose the projected cost of the new prototype bioreactor but said they expect commercial-scale plants to cost $50,000 to $70,000 per acre. The process is expected to yield 8,000 gallons of biodiesel per acre.

The technology isn't new. The Golden-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory studied the concept from 1978 until 1996, when funding was cut, and several firms across the nation are experimenting with variations on algae-to-diesel techniques.

"The technology is pretty straightforward, and we think there's tremendous potential," said Eric Jarvis, a biofuels researcher at the NREL.

But Jarvis said major hurdles remain, including developing algae strains that maximize oil production, improving processes to extract water and oil from algae, finding investment capital to develop a broad network of production sites and building out a much larger retail distribution network.

Better known as the scourge of swimming-pool and aquarium owners, algae is viewed by scientists as a good candidate for fuel production because it is much more efficient than canola and soy, currently the two major sources of biodiesel.

Solix founder Jim Sears said algae can produce as much as 100 times more oil per acre than soy and canola.

Algae researchers have been stumped by two problems: invasion of high-oil-content algae by low-oil indigenous versions, and the costs of regulating temperatures in ponds.

Solix officials believe they've solved both problems by developing closed plastic growing containers that keep out undesirable algae types and a low-energy temperature-control system that optimizes growth.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; News/Current Events; US: Colorado
KEYWORDS: algae; biodiesel; diesel; energy; fuel
Now when someone calls you scum, you just say, "Thank You!" and smile........
1 posted on 12/15/2006 11:16:09 AM PST by Red Badger
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To: sully777; Fierce Allegiance; vigl; Cagey; Abathar; A. Patriot; B Knotts; getsoutalive; ...

Rest In Peace, old friend, your work is finished.......

If you want on or off the DIESEL "KNOCK" LIST just FReepmail me........

This is a fairly HIGH VOLUME ping list on some days......

2 posted on 12/15/2006 11:16:47 AM PST by Red Badger (New! HeadOn Hemorrhoid Medication for Liberals!.........Apply directly to forehead.........)
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To: Red Badger

They're going to make something at the brewery and only charge $2.68 per gallon for it? Where's my straw?


3 posted on 12/15/2006 11:25:51 AM PST by WideGlide (That light at the end of the tunnel might be a muzzle flash.)
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To: Red Badger

I wonder if diesel fuel can be made from the stock certificates of bankrupt IPOs?


4 posted on 12/15/2006 11:27:18 AM PST by Attention Surplus Disorder (When Bubba lies, the finger flies!)
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To: Red Badger

So when big diesel SUVs are non-net-carbon emitting, do you think the enviro-weenies are going to cut them a break?

Puhleez. They'll just move the goal-posts again.


5 posted on 12/15/2006 11:27:42 AM PST by gridlock (We just got dumped. McCain and Rudy are Rebound Guys. Let's not marry the Rebound Guy.)
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To: Attention Surplus Disorder

Cellu-losers to diesel?.........


6 posted on 12/15/2006 11:28:42 AM PST by Red Badger (New! HeadOn Hemorrhoid Medication for Liberals!.........Apply directly to forehead.........)
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To: Red Badger
"We're facing two global challenges: depletion of our petroleum reserves and a buildup of greenhouse gases," said Bryan Willson, director of CSU's Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory.

Might as well play along. There's gold in them there lies.

7 posted on 12/15/2006 11:36:05 AM PST by Jeff Chandler (Barack Hussein Obama)
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To: Red Badger

"Soylent Green is PEOPLE!"


8 posted on 12/15/2006 11:38:39 AM PST by Argus
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To: Red Badger

BTTT


9 posted on 12/15/2006 11:43:47 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Red Badger

Algae to Diesel fuel - how extraordinary.

Now it is not unheard of that Diesel fuel can get bacterial infestations, that turn the fuel back into some sort of gunk that absolutely cannot be sent through injector needles, or burn well if it does ignite.

Thermal depolymerization still has a lot of positives to recommend it. Even the extraction of oil shale seems to be a less difficult way to obtain energy. But this method of using algae to create the Diesel fuel might have some marginal value as a way to utilize what would otherwise be discarded byproducts (CO2 and heat).


10 posted on 12/15/2006 11:51:10 AM PST by alloysteel (A battle cry of the Crusaders: "Denique caelum!" (Latin, "Heaven at last!))
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To: alloysteel

http://www.greenstarusa.com/products/photos8.html

http://www.greenfuelonline.com/index.htm


11 posted on 12/15/2006 11:56:32 AM PST by Red Badger (New! HeadOn Hemorrhoid Medication for Liberals!.........Apply directly to forehead.........)
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To: Red Badger
The process is expected to yield 8,000 gallons of biodiesel per acre

... per ... what? year, month, week, hour?

annually I suspect. Now lets see, the estimated demand for diesel is 2 to 3 million barrels per day. At 55 gallons per barrel that would give us a rough working number of about 125 million gallons per day (or roughly 45 Billion gallons/year). At 8,000 gallons per acre per year... we would need about 5.6 million acres to replace the exiting production.

That would be covered by a space of 100 miles by 100 miles (6.4 million acres - assuming some loss due to pipes, roads, power lines, etc). You could fit that inside Kansas or Oklahoma and still have room to spare. Heck, with some additional work I'm sure you could even put up some locations in the desert southwest and not cut into valuable farm land.

Not bad, at least far better than turning a land mass the size of Texas into soybean or peanuts for oil production.
12 posted on 12/15/2006 11:56:43 AM PST by taxcontrol
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To: taxcontrol

There are much better yields from other algae diesel technologies, in the order of 10-15k gallons per acre per year, and that's just to start......


13 posted on 12/15/2006 11:59:32 AM PST by Red Badger (New! HeadOn Hemorrhoid Medication for Liberals!.........Apply directly to forehead.........)
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To: alloysteel
Don't laugh, this IS important news.

If you don't drive a diesel now you will soon.

Much of the Southwest desert is now useless, at 8,000 gallons per acre (@ $2.50 a gallon that is $20G's), it will become the most valuable farm land in the country. Once everybody starts getting into it the price of that diesel oil will come way down. Middle eastern oil will be near useless and pollution will not come from cars since they will now be green.

Already half of Europe drives on diesel much of it home grown vegetable oil, this is a much bigger news item than many of us think. I am watching it closely!
14 posted on 12/15/2006 12:05:10 PM PST by JAKraig (Joseph Kraig)
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So the production equipment costs $60k for an acre, and by their estimates an acre could produce about 6,000 gallons of diesel per year. That is $10/gallon for a year, or $1/gallon even spread over 10 years. That is just the cost of the reactor. Add in maintenance, overhead, labor, transportation, and there is no way, even over 20 years that it could cost-efficient.


15 posted on 12/15/2006 12:05:58 PM PST by wacko rightwinger
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To: Red Badger
I had not heard of those. Do you have any references you can point me to? 15 to 16 thousand per year per acre would make the technology almost efficient enough to start to replace gasoline production... assuming a 40 mpg plus diesel vehicle was the standard.

It might even be possible to go back and revisit some of the steam car, external combustion engines to boost the mpg even further.
16 posted on 12/15/2006 12:09:05 PM PST by taxcontrol
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To: taxcontrol

see # 11......


17 posted on 12/15/2006 12:15:26 PM PST by Red Badger (New! HeadOn Hemorrhoid Medication for Liberals!.........Apply directly to forehead.........)
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To: taxcontrol

http://journeytoforever.org/biodiesel_yield.html#othercrops


18 posted on 12/15/2006 12:16:54 PM PST by Red Badger (New! HeadOn Hemorrhoid Medication for Liberals!.........Apply directly to forehead.........)
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To: taxcontrol
"...we would need about 5.6 million acres to replace the exiting production."


That would be nothing. We already devote a lot more acreage than that to producing corn for ethanol. We'll soon have 20 million acres of corn being cultivated for ethanol production. If these guys can really produce 8,000 gallons of biodiesel per acre with reasonable production costs, the biodiesel industry will explode. One acre would be enough fuel for 32 of the standard 10,000 mile a year drivers if they drove 40 mile per gallon diesels. Ten million acres would be enough for 320 million of these drivers, or half that many who drive twice as many miles in a year or who drive big trucks that get half as many miles per gallon. This would be huge, a massive improvement over the 40 or 50 gallons or so of biodiesel they are currently getting from soybeans.

The problem with this technology will be production costs. The startup costs will be high, and my guess is ongoing costs will be high as well. Then again, it probably isn't easy or cheap to grow 200 acres of soybeans, which is about what you'd need to grow to equal just one acre of algae that produces 8,000 gallons of biodiesel a year. Super high yielding biofuel feedstocks probably will end up having much higher per acre production costs, but per gallon costs could be much lower in the end because it will take far fewer acres to produce a lot more fuel.
19 posted on 12/15/2006 12:34:35 PM PST by TKDietz (")
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To: TKDietz

Seems to me the cost analysis is incomplete - what will the coal-fired power plant pay you to scrub all the C02 out of their emissions? Also, the exhaust gas from the smokestack provides all the free heat you need, even in CO.


20 posted on 12/15/2006 12:49:16 PM PST by patton (Sanctimony frequently reaps its own reward.)
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To: JAKraig

Diesel primary power plus an on-board electric power generation with a discharge-recharge electric cell array, using individual drive motors at each wheel, would seem to be an even better engineering "elegant answer" than the gasoline-powered units now on the road. Presently, the weak point is the deep-cycle batteries necessary to take full advantage of regenerative braking and "burst" power demands of acceleration. The best current designs are still prone to overheating during charge or discharge, and potential catastrophic failure (exploding or bursting into flame).

One alternative I have sort of mulled over, is instead of an electrical component being used to transmit power from the primary power unit to the wheels, is to use a hydrostatic system, with an accumulator tank, some form of compressed gas over the hydraulic medium. The primary power unit would drive a hydrostatic pump, which would first build pressure to the accumulator, then from the accumulator, meter out the power to each individual hydrostatic wheel motor. By reversing the valving in the hydrostatic motor, it could be used for its braking effect, pumping the pressure back to the accumulator.

Because of the great flexibility of the system, the center of gravity could be placed quite low, without consideration for transmission or axle clearances, as the hydrostatic motors would be placed near the wheel hubs. In fact, each hydrostatic motor could be fitted with a planetary gearset, allowing both low-speed, high-torque application, and high-speed cruising with minimal power input. Everything would be controlled with electronic sensors that would increase or decrease the pressure applied to each of the wheel motors as conditions warrant.

All this with a small Diesel engine, running at a near-constant speed, staying within a very narrow RPM band. The engine could be fine-tuned for maximum economy in this very narrow band (excessive engine output would seem sort of redundant with this design), and the overall economy is much less affected by "heavy-handed" driver characteristics. If you want more power for a burst of acceleration, let the accumulator build a little more first. Rather like getting up a "head of steam" on an old steam locomotive. The throttle would control how much pressure is being sent to the hydrostatic motors, not engine speed. When the pressure has accumulated to a sufficiently high level, the engine could even be shut off for varying periods of time, and restarted as the pressure dropped below a certain point.

We are not done inventing personal transportation yet.


21 posted on 12/15/2006 12:50:51 PM PST by alloysteel (A battle cry of the Crusaders: "Denique caelum!" (Latin, "Heaven at last!))
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To: alloysteel
I already get 45MPG on my 97 Passat TDI. Who knows what new inventions will do to that; it will only get better!
22 posted on 12/15/2006 12:55:15 PM PST by JAKraig (Joseph Kraig)
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To: patton
What cost analysis? They aren't giving any clue as to how much all of this will cost except their estimate on the initial start-up costs. Hopefully they will be able to produce thousands of gallons per acre at a reasonable cost, but we won't know if that is possible with algae until they do it or at least get pretty close to doing it. So far that hasn't happened yet in any of these experiments. We'll just have to see how this one turns out.
23 posted on 12/15/2006 1:35:45 PM PST by TKDietz (")
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To: TKDietz

Yep.


24 posted on 12/15/2006 1:41:39 PM PST by patton (Sanctimony frequently reaps its own reward.)
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To: Red Badger

Ironically, phosphates were removed from laundry soap, in large part because they're such good fertilizer for algae.


25 posted on 12/15/2006 1:57:33 PM PST by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: Red Badger

This algae to diesel stuff is strictly vanity projects. If you want diesel then dig up clean Western coal and via liquefaction convert it into diesel, jet fuel and heating oil. Other heavier products come out too such as tar.


26 posted on 12/15/2006 4:54:40 PM PST by dennisw
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To: dennisw

Yes, coal is the biggest possible source for diesel in the future, but then you have to go thru the enviro-nazis to get it. At least with the Algae diesel you can call it "green" technology............


27 posted on 12/18/2006 5:22:24 AM PST by Red Badger (New! HeadOn Hemorrhoid Medication for Liberals!.........Apply directly to forehead.........)
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To: Red Badger

Check out the price for algae in the health food store. It's $25/lb. Thus diesel will never be made from algae even if they get it down to say $5/lb for non food grade algae

Algae to diesel is a pure waste of time. Who funds this crap?


28 posted on 12/18/2006 12:13:04 PM PST by dennisw
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To: dennisw

http://www.greenstarusa.com/index.html


29 posted on 12/18/2006 12:21:30 PM PST by Red Badger (New! HeadOn Hemorrhoid Medication for Liberals!.........Apply directly to forehead.........)
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To: Red Badger
Solix founder Jim Sears said algae can produce as much as 100 times more oil per acre than soy and canola.

I've followed the health food biz for decades and there were claims that spirulina would feed the starving world. Building algae ponds just doesn't seem to compute. Spirulina is never less than $25/lb. So much for a mass solution to starvation.

Algae researchers have been stumped by two problems: invasion of high-oil-content algae by low-oil indigenous versions, and the costs of regulating temperatures in ponds.

This must plague those who grow health food store algae. Lots of which is grown in Hawaii

30 posted on 12/18/2006 1:35:27 PM PST by dennisw
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To: dennisw

The diesel algae is grown in sealed tanks, not open ones.......


31 posted on 12/18/2006 1:46:06 PM PST by Red Badger (New! HeadOn Hemorrhoid Medication for Liberals!.........Apply directly to forehead.........)
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To: Red Badger

Sealed reactors? Maybe they have something but algae needs sunlight as far as I know. Maybe they have a few tricks up their sleeve. Good luck drying out that algae slop for a diesel conversion


32 posted on 12/18/2006 2:28:38 PM PST by dennisw
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To: Red Badger

Sounds good. Along with solar energy, wind, coal, and our own oil drilled wherever we can (no thanks to envirowhackos), and other things, we can kick the Middle East terror-funding oil habit. And the Hugo Chavez oil habit while we're at it. :-)


33 posted on 12/18/2006 8:49:19 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Dont overestimate the decency of the human race. H. L. Mencken)
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To: dennisw
THIS IS JUST ONE PROCESS, FROM ONE COMPANY, GreenFuel Technologies, Corp. THERE ARE OTHERS

http://www.greenfuelonline.com/technology.htm

How it works:

The Emissions-to-Biofuels™ process is a flexible platform for converting CO2 emissions into a range of renewable fuels. The process is designed to be retrofitted to flue stacks with minimal impact to ongoing operations. The process schematic diagram is shown in the following figure:

Process Flow - Power Generators Flue gas or other CO2-rich gas streams are introduced to the bioreactor, in which algae are suspended in a media with nutrients added to optimize the growth rate. A portion of the media is withdrawn continuously from the bioreactor and sent to dewatering to harvest the algae. The dewatering operation uses two stages of conventional processing. Primary dewatering increases the algae concentration by a factor of 10-30. Secondary dewatering further increases the algal solids concentration to yield a cake suitable for downstream processing. Water removed from the dewatering steps is returned to the bioreactor, with a small purge stream to prevent precipitation of salts. Make-up water is added to maintain the media volume. A blower pulls the flue gas through the bioreactor. Using an induced draft fan provides several operating advantages, including ensuring minimal disruption to power plant operations, simplifying retrofits to existing facilities. The process steps from the flue gas inlet through end of dewatering comprise the "front end" of the GFT process. The unit operations for algal oil extraction and conversion of the dewatered algae into final fuel products is the "downstream processing" portion of the flow sheet. In contrast to the front-end unit operations, the downstream processes are conventional technologies currently practiced on a large scale, e.g. biodiesel is currently produced from vegetable oils via transesterification (several algae species have lipids, starch, and protein compositions similar to soy and canola beans). Consequently the same facilities can be adapted to produce biodiesel from algae and conventional agricultural feeds. Some downstream processing options are listed in the following table:

34 posted on 12/19/2006 5:10:35 AM PST by Red Badger (New! HeadOn Hemorrhoid Medication for Liberals!.........Apply directly to forehead.........)
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To: dennisw; Red Badger

"Check out the price for algae in the health food store. It's $25/lb. Thus diesel will never be made from algae even if they get it down to say $5/lb for non food grade algae

Algae to diesel is a pure waste of time. Who funds this crap?"

Dennis, you are forgetting the economie of scale. The algea in your health food store is from limited sources and supply is limited mostly because of a lack of demand.

IF this technology works and they overcome the issues outlined in the article, then the volume of production will increase and the price will fall.

Or don't you believe in the fundamentals of supply & demand?

So what if they will be funded to over come the difficulties and start-up costs. Big Oil got vast tax breaks on upgrading their refineries to produce Ultra Low Sulphur fuels 10 years later than Europe, and that's why you can't buy diesels in several key states (there is no way high sulphur diesel will pass the emmissions test).


35 posted on 12/20/2006 1:35:21 AM PST by Diggadave
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To: Argus

Cool idea! Let's ban burials and cremations....It's for the children.


36 posted on 12/20/2006 1:51:27 AM PST by Uriah_lost (We've got enough youth, how about a "fountain of smart")
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To: alloysteel

You are obviously an expert, try blacklightpower.com for a high energy density electric battery.


37 posted on 12/20/2006 2:06:12 AM PST by timer (n/0=n=nx0)
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