Interesting...I think algae may have a strong future
It sickens me that these biofuel, windmill and algae fatcats are lining their pockets when they know darn well the energy of the future is unicorn dander. END BIG ALGAE!
I am sure that farmers in Pecos love the idea of water being diverted to a pondscum research facility.
“Interesting...I think algae may have a strong future”
I take the opposite view. Interesting technology, yes. But moving from the laboratory to practical economical production is another matter. Think of the required infrastructure. Culturing algae in transparent tanks could be more expensive than solar farms. Culturing algae in open ponds in the Southwest would be impossible due to scare water and high evaporation rates. Anything that harvests solar energy, be it silicon or algae, would require too much real estate and is therefore too diffuse to be economically feasible.
We are awash in hydrocarbons that can be converted into to usable liquid fuels. We use crude oil because it presently is the most cost-effective feedstock of molecules for this purpose. If someone develops an algae that can compete with no more subsidies, then more power to them. Bring it on!
Both the title and article are kind of misleading to me. Its a university doing the study. Perhaps with a big, fat, juicy grant from the feds or some other “green group”. And what do you know, the stuff may work...ha ha ha
Of course they’re going to say it works, if they don’t then they don’t get that funding anymore.
If a REAL energy company were doing the research, with real scientists and not a bunch of TA’s and grad students, then it might be something to pay attention to somewhere down the road. Until then, OIL and GAS are KING.
One thing everyone forgets in the illusionary race to replace petroleum with "green" alternatives is that we use oil for far more than just fueling our vehicles. Even if we stopped using gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, heating oil, etc. tomorrow, we would still need vast amounts of petroleum to manufacture plastics, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, etc., etc., etc. The list of non-fuel uses for petroleum are endless, and there are precisely zero green alternatives for those uses.
150 years ago horsepower was actually generated by horses. Cheap energy is fine; if there are othe ways to get it, that is a good thing. Let the free market develop it though, don’t make it a government trough. Just think - if oil was supplanted even in part, just how significant would the Middleastern OPEC nations be? It is hard to run a war machine off of the sale of sugared dates.
You prepared to invest your own money in the technology?
Interesting...I think algae may have a strong future
Algae has ZERO future. This is a welfare program for scientists. (hey they gots to eat too on your taxpayer dime) It is total bullshit. Just for starters how are you going to dry out that messy algae goop to further process it into oil? How many BTUs will be spent doing it? You gonna dry it out in the Texas sun? I am very familiar with algae and how it is grown and dry processed to make spirulina, a health food store item. It is expensive! $30/lb for human consumption. Lets say they can produce it for $5 for conversion into petro- byproducts. Still too expensive
I think the very best selling point of algae biodiesel is that research is being backed, strongly if quietly, by the oil companies. It has huge potential for profitability, low overhead, and scalability.
1) As soon as it is operational, it *consumes* the waste gases CO2 and Nitrous Oxides (NOx) that are otherwise expensive to dispose of. This means it is profitable from the very start. Companies will pay them to take these gases off their hands.
2) It uses cheap and reusable “gray water”, that only needs minimal filtering. Probably the most expensive part of the deal is keeping the water cool enough so that it is the optimal temperature range for algae.
3) Once the algae is harvested, it is squeezed to get out the about 50% of its weight that is vegetable oil. The leftover algae can be sold as animal fodder. The oil is then mixed with ethanol and lye, a catalyst which is also reusable. Then the biodiesel is filtered, and 1% petroleum diesel is added to it as a preservative.
4) Diesel engines are everywhere, and are scalable from motorcycle, to car, to truck, to train, and even to ship size. The engines just need minor modification to run on biodiesel instead of diesel. Gas stations all over the US that pump diesel already exist, so don’t have to be built or modified. Huge cost savings there.
No other form of fuel than gasoline comes close to diesel for low cost, high performance, and familiarity. The diesel engine is close to perfected.
Why the arid southwest? Is there a practical reason, or is this academic sales boilerplate to justify funding?
I’d think a less arid, semitropical climate with an excess of usable water and proximity to natural phosphate deposits would be more conducive.
The NC coastal plain would be one such location. Evaporative loss would be minimized. Plenty of water. Mild winters. Away from the coastline, land is cheap, most inland coastal plain counties are fairly sparse in population.
You are an instigator! I know that because you dare post such a statement without a "/sarcasm."
Algae may, indeed, be a source of energy, but the 10 or 12 gallons won't make much of a difference. If it weren't for that, I'd be huge (hugh?) supporter.
Doesn't sound too promising, especially if it gets taxed like current gasoline.