Skip to comments.A Biofuel Process to Replace All Fossil Fuels_(ahm, just a pesky large scale issue again)
Posted on 07/27/2009 8:05:09 PM PDT by Flavius
A startup based in Cambridge, MA--Joule Biotechnologies--today revealed details of a process that it says can make 20,000 gallons of biofuel per acre per year. If this yield proves realistic, it could make it practical to replace all fossil fuels used for transportation with biofuels. The company also claims that the fuel can be sold for prices competitive with fossil fuels.
(Excerpt) Read more at technologyreview.com ...
Magical words from story
“The firm is about to start a new round of financing to scale up the technology. “
Maybe if they promised something do-able - like gold from lead.
It sounds like the alternate fuels crowd been hittin’ da happy smoke again!
Dude you missed the point see its green man green magical fuel of the future.
As long as you pay through your nose for the algae to grow.
20,000 gallons per acre per year? That ain’t much.
>> The firm is about to start a new round of financing to scale up the technology.
Yeah, that was my first question too.
Are they selling biofuel? Or are they selling stock?
guess it’s stock.
Someone’s granny is going to power my Yugo.
“It’s people dammit!”
But if each person could grow 1/6 of an acre that would be 2500 gallons of fuel. That would be enough for you and your neighbor if you ran 20 gallons a week each for a year.
From the article, “The microorganisms use energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide and water into ethanol or hydrocarbon fuels (such as diesel or components of gasoline).”
Let’s see...sunshine, plus CARBON DIOXIDE, plus water then will become hydrocarbon fuels. Does Algore know about this, and is this one of those winners in the crap and trade scam.? Just think of all that carbon dioxide that would be gotten rid of. On second thought, does Algore have a piece of the action here?
Is Bakken that big? I bet a lot of folks in ND are getting rich.
Between Bakken, all the shale oil in other areas, coal diesel we have at leats 4 times the Saudis. This does not count offshore.
Funny, the USGS says you're off by an order of magnitude. Their estimates are about a year of oil at our current consumption rate.
What you talking about Willis...?
Current corn based ethanol is - just guessing - 500 gallons per acre (please correct me here). 20,000 gallons per acre is only 40 time more energy per acre.
Being able to generate 20,000 gallons of say gasoline per acre means that Iowa could produce 717 billion gallons of gasoline per year. Given that the US uses about 400 million gallons of gas per day, that means that one Iowa's area worth of this magic could produce enough gasoline per year to meet our national gasoline usage demands for approximately 5 years.
By the way - haven't seen any date regarding this so won't pull the BS flag just yet - but smell something funny about that much energy being produced on a per acre basis from a biofuel...
I have a 1/6th acre, but would have to tear down my house for planting.
This is such a great idea that it must be the brainchild of that noted inventor and visionary - Algore! With the potential of this new technology, it will have to turn away private investors; no need to plead for gummint funding.
Resources are a lot more than reserves and they will run out of rate and reserves long before running out of reserves.
Did i mention it was green.
Welllll, that makes all the difference. You mean algae is really Al G.?
At $3 agallon it beats corn.
“The microorganisms use energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide and water into ethanol or hydrocarbon fuels (such as diesel or components of gasoline).”
It looks like ethanol, diesel and gasoline could be generated with these organisms. It looks like these same organism behave the same way algae would without the requirement for sunlight. Also, they need CO2 to make it work. Now where is there a large supply of CO2? Correct, coal fired electric plants.
What is very exciting is that this process might be created for the home system. You would not need much area to brew 800 gallons, which would give you 20,000 miles of driving at 25 miles/gallon. The home heating system would provide the CO2.
Man, that is just plain funny!
Exxon-Mobil just dropped 600 million on this....I don’t think you all should be laughing....this is algae oil and it works.
well everyone needs tax write off
LOL! A little creepy.
Seniors will have to go to Obama “counselors” each year to ask them if they feel it is time. If they have a good sized retirement portfolio these counselors may actually be IRS agents looking for money and granny may need a little “push.”
We need Chuck Heston yelling “Soylent Green - it’s people dammit!”
>What is very exciting is that this process might be created for the home system. You would not need much area to brew 800 gallons, which would give you 20,000 miles of driving at 25 miles/gallon. The home heating system would provide the CO2<
That would never happen.
Government couldn’t allow that kind of empowerment to the masses.
Valcent Products says they could yield 100,000/acre of diesel fuel from their little green organisms.
How many gallons of gas do you use a year? take that and divide it into the gallons per acre and that would give you how much space you’d need. I can not imagine what could be grown to give that kind of return per acre 20,000 gallons. I have the book Alchole can be a gas and they do not have anything that has that large of a return and that includes giant sweet beets that weigh around 100 pounds each.
If this is legit, it will be more illegal than cocaine. No way they can let people become free of their tentacles. Some sort of horrible side effect will have to be invented to justify the ban but of course.
The DOE says the average house that burns home heating oil uses 730 gallons per year. Assuming that the 20,000 gal/acre number is correct then the typical homeowner wold need 0.0365 acres or 1,590 sq ft for the photobioreactors. Not bad at all.
Algal Fuels and Massive Scales
Guest post by John Goetz
I keep an active watch of the news for progress being made in the areas of renewable and alternative energy sources. One area that has caught my eye is algal fuel (biofuel produced by algae). One company that has been in the news lately is Sapphire Energy, which claims to be able to produce ASTM compliant 91-octane biogasoline. Sapphire Energy says their technology requires only sunlight, CO2 and non-potable water and can be produced at massive scale on non-arable land.
I am not trying to pick on any one solution or Sapphire Energy in particular. I simply wondered how massive a scale of CO2 and non-arable land is needed to make a noticeable dent in our gasoline demand.
First, how much CO2 do we need? The IPCC guidelines for calculating emissions require that an oxidation factor of 0.99 be applied to gasolines carbon content to account for a small portion of the fuel that is not oxidized into CO2. To calculate the CO2 emissions from a gallon of fuel, the carbon emissions are multiplied by the ratio of the molecular weight of CO2 to the molecular weight of carbon, or 44/12. Thus, the IPCC says the CO2 emissions from a gallon of gasoline = 2,421 grams x 0.99 x (44/12) = 8,788 grams = 8.8 kg/gallon = 19.4 pounds/gallon.
Now lets assume Sapphire Energy simply reverses the process and consumes the CO2 to produce gasoline. In other words, we take 19.4 pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere for every gallon of gasoline we produce. This seems like is a nice carbon neutral process.
What is the cubic volume of atmosphere required to make 1 gallon of gas? Lets assume for the moment an efficiency factor of 100%, meaning our process will consume 100% of the atmospheric CO2 it is fed. This is unrealistic, but it is unrealistic on the optimistic side. According to the EPA, one cubic meter of CO2 gas weighs 0.2294 lbs. At an atmospheric concentration level of 385ppm, one cubic meter of atmosphere contains 0.000088319 lbs of CO2. Thus, 19.4 / .000088319 = 219658 cubic meters (yes, I am ignoring the atmospheric density gradient as one moves from the ground upward, but hang with me). This equates to roughly 4553 gallons of gasoline per cubic kilometer of air.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, US gasoline consumption is currently averaging (4-week rolling) 9.027 million barrels of gasoline per day, or about 379 million gallons (42 gallons per barrel). Thus, to completely replace US gasoline consumption, Sapphire Energy would need to scrub, at 100% efficiency, just over 83000 cubic kilometers of air per day. Certainly there is plenty of air available this volume represents less than 0.02% of the volume of air in the first 1 km of atmosphere. Nevertheless, it is an enormous amount to process each day.
Of course, Sapphire Energys near-term goals are much more modest. As CEO Jason Pyle told Biomass Magazine, the company is currently deploying a three-year pilot process with the goal of opening a 153 MMgy (10,000 barrel per day) production facility by 2011 at a site yet to be determined. Using my fuzzy math above, that equates to a minimum of 92 cubic kilometers of air a day. Still seems like a lot.
So where will all of the CO2 come from?
Presumably the answer is coal-fired power plants. But lets see if that makes sense. According to Science Daily, the top twelve CO2-emitting power plants in the US have total emissions of 236.8 million tons annually, or 1.3 billion pounds per day. Now, if that can be converted completely to gasoline, it would amount to 67 million gallons per day, or roughly 1/6 of the daily gasoline consumption.
(Science Daily refers to the twelve as the dirty dozen, which I found somewhat humorous given that CO2 is colorless and odorless, and is presumably needed to sustain some forms of life. But then again, so is dirt.)
Sounds great, except that a lot of land is needed to grow all that algae. According to Wikipedia, between 5,000 and 20,000 gallons of biodiesel can be produced per acre from algae per year. Assume for the moment that biogasoline can be produced at the same rate per acre. If we attempted to produce 67 million gallons of gasoline from our dirty-dozen every day, we would need between 1.2M and 4.9M acres of land to do this on. The low-end of the scale puts the area needed at more than that of Rhode Island. The high-end adds in Connecticut.
I kind of doubt there is that much land around each of the dirty dozen facilities. This means the gas would have to be sent by pipeline to a giant algae field. Given our ability to pipe oil and natural gas all over the place, sending CO2 across the country via pipeline is probably doable. There may also be plenty of unused or abandoned land (think abandoned oil fields) available to produce the gasoline. Nevertheless, the production scale and transportation logistics required to make this a viable alternative do indeed look massive.
So while the technology holds promise at the micro-scale, it remains to be seen what can actually be done at a scale that matters.
Talk among yourselves.
this may be the reason for the little black boxes in cars to determine road use age taxes. that way you pay as you drive no matter where you get your gas.
Yields of 20,000 GPA/yr are what was being mentioned last year, with closed-loop systems (as opposed to open tank type farms).
I went looking for a little info for those interested.
But which plants have the highest yield of oil per acre? One of the highest yielding conventional plants is Chinese Tallow (with 699 gallons per acre) but by far the winners are certain species of algae that can yield more than 10,00015,000 gallons of oil per acre.
To compare to conventionally farmed oil seed crops, soybean plantings can produce 50 gallons of oil per acre and rapeseed fields produce about 130 gallons of oil per acre. Algae can be very easy and rapid to grow and can stand harsh conditions such as salt/brackish water and harsh desert sun.
In the US the Office of Fuels Development, a division of the Department of Energy, funded a program through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) called the Aquatic Species Program to investigate high oil content algae species between 1978 and 1996, and this concluded that it was feasible to use algae oil production to completely replace petroleum as transportation fuel in the US. Growing the oil is only the start of the story; it still needs to be extracted and processed to produce a biodiesel of an acceptable ASTM specification to be sold commercially.
Traditionally the farming of the algae was carried out in open tanks but these were subject to contamination by viruses and other micro-organisms (also oil yields were poor). Present technology favours the siting of algae farms near to a source of animal waste for nutrients and a source of sterile carbon dioxide (a coal-fired power station), and the use of an enclosed system such as polyethylene tubes in which to grow the algae. NREL research has estimated that it would require only 9.5m acres of algae crop to supply the entire US oil requirement far less than the present 450m acres used in the US for conventional crop farming and the 500m acres used to graze livestock.
Also I remember hearing on the radio the (can't remember his name) energy secretary at that time talking about how the united states has enough natural gas in this country, that if present day consumption were to double every year, we'd still have enough to last us over a thousand years.
Weren't the liberals also going ape-sh*t and blathering on about "global cooling" around the '60s and '70s?
I guess the next catastrophe the liberals will go gaga about will be in a few billion years our sun will either become a red giant or go nova and we'd better control cow farts.
All of this BS is about one thing and one thing only:
Liberals and their neocon, rino, and other American hating constitution despising cohorts will never be satisfied until they control:
Total control grid.
Forget it then. If this relies on coal, remember what Obamarx stated? Obamarx stated he'd bankrupt the coal industry.
One can bet their bottom dollar, the government will pass some kind of law making it illegal for one to do this at home.
All one has to do is look at NY. Some time during the early part of the last century, enterprising upstate New Yorker's started making use of the small natural water falls. They rigged up micro-electric plants and they were quite successful until the major electric companies started to feel the pinch and they got the almighty government to pass a law making these micro-electric plants illegal.
While your enthusiasm for home produced fuel is a good one, eventually the major fuel producing companies will lose profits and lobby (bribe) government to make them illegal.
They who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.
Holy sh*t. What temp do these average people keep their house's at, 90deg?
Damn, my house is a little bit under 1,000sq ft and if I use more then one 275 gallon tankful in an entire year, then I'm doing something wrong. In fact this year I'm installing a small wood burning stove to help offset the raising cost of fuel oil.
I burn about 250-300 but I also have about 1,000 sq ft. I suspect a lot of places that burn oil are older homes that are not very well insulated. Most newer homes around here use natural gas.
Read post 33. It addresses some of the things you mention such as siting.
Anyone growing up in farm country ...that part of the nation that people from Massachusetts have no clue about... know that growing anything on an acre of ground is subject to a lot of variables. It can not rain enough or rain too much. A freak hailstorm can wipe out your crop in minutes. Some crops do not grow well in some areas ...the organic oranges at the local food coop in Massachusetts do not come from the fields of Nebraska for a reason. Unless we have global warming there is a possibility of crops freezing in early spring. There are only a limited number of acres available that can produce any crop. Large scale farming that would be needed to produce the fuel needs of our nation would have negative environmental effects. Lastly, every acre of plants grown for fuel is an acre that is not being used to produce food.
Resources are a lot more than reserves and they will run out of rate and reserves long before running out of RESOURCES.
I calculated well over 15 million acres but it doesn’t matter since it’s not going to be done.
If its bigger then Saudi Arabia, how can it last us only one year? Unless the estimate isn't as big as Saudi Arabia.
However, I still believe we here in these united states have all the energy we'd ever need if only those damned environmental wackos would let up with their constant BS.
Environmental issues are good. No one wants to live in a filthy environment but, these people go way over board.
The biggest problem I always seem to see all the time is, why does it always have to all this way or all that way. What I mean to say is, some say we must go ALL green now, while others say nay stay with what we have only make it more efficient.
How about a symbiosis? Keep what we have while making it more efficient while at the same time invest in, solar, wind, tidal, nuclear , bio fuels using hemp instead of corn and other resources.
The government can start by setting an example. All Federal and State buildings must be energy efficient and be run solely or at least mostly via solar panels and wind turbines.
The hell with tax credits for home owners. With tax credits comes strings. Just leave people the hell alone. I myself will be building my own solar / wind turbine set up coupled with a wood burning stove, I'll need not worry about high energy bills or freezing to death this winter.
The damned electric companies tell us cut back, conserve energy, etc. Then they raise their rates and we end up paying more then we did when we used more electricity.
Just had to vent.