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Large-Scale Algae Biofuels Currently Unsustainable, New Report Concludes
ScienceInsider ^ | 24 October 2012 | Robert F. Service

Posted on 10/30/2012 9:36:13 PM PDT by neverdem

Enlarge Image
si-algae.jpg
Green crude. Harvesting oil produced by algae at Sapphire Energy's Green Crude Farm in Columbus, New Mexico. A new report says such existing technologies will need to use fewer external inputs to become sustainable.
Credit: Sapphire Energy

A report out today from the National Research Council (NRC) of the U.S. National Academies says that large-scale production of biofuels from algae is untenable with existing technology, as it would require the use of too much water, energy, and fertilizer. To improve matters, the report's authors suggest that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which supports much of the research in the field, should conduct assessments of proposed technologies that examine sustainability at all stages of fuel production, including growing or collecting algae and harvesting their oil and converting it into transportation fuels.

Efforts to make biofuel from algae have been under way for more than 3 decades, and have picked up considerable steam in recent years. Algae's big advantage is that unlike traditional biofuels, such as ethanol made from corn kernels or sugar, algae wouldn't compete for agricultural land with food crops. It also has the potential to produce as much as 10 times more fuel per hectare, according to the DOE's 2010 National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap.

But there are many different approaches to growing algae, such as growing the microscopic plants in shallow outdoor ponds, or in enclosed plastic tubes called bioreactors. And the industry is far from settled on a single approach. No matter what the strategy, however, the NRC committee concluded that current technology scaled up to produce 39 billion liters a year—approximately 5% of U.S. transportation fuel needs—would require an unsustainable level of inputs. Current technologies, for example, need between 3.15 liters and 3650 liters of water to produce the amount of algal biofuel equivalent to 1 liter of gasoline, the panel concluded. (That's potentially less than the estimated 5 liters to 2140 liters of water required to produce a liter of ethanol from corn, but more than the 1.9 liters to 6.6 liters of water needed to produce a liter of petroleum-based gasoline.) Growers would also have to add between 6 million and 15 million metric tons of nitrogen and between 1 million and 2 million metric tons of phosphorus to produce 39 billion liters of algal biofuels. That's between 44% and 107% of the total use of nitrogen in the United States, and between 20% and 51% of the nation's phosphorus use for agriculture.

The good news is that there's still plenty of potential for improvement. "The committee does not consider any one of these sustainability concerns a definitive barrier to sustainable development of algal biofuels because mitigation strategies for each of those concerns have been proposed and are being developed," the report concludes. The use of water and added nutrients, for example, could drop markedly if engineers come up with ways to efficiently recycle used water and nutrients, perhaps even using nutrient-rich wastewater from agricultural or municipal sources. But for algal biofuels to reach their full potential, researchers will need to integrate these and other advances and ensure that at each stage algae is converted to fuels in the most sustainable way possible.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: algae; algaebiofuel; algaebiofuels; biofuels; energy; opec; thegreenlie

1 posted on 10/30/2012 9:36:22 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Is that unsustainable subsidy free, or unsustainable after bleeding the taxpayers?

I thought so.


2 posted on 10/30/2012 9:39:37 PM PDT by Wally_Kalbacken
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To: neverdem

Maybe they should look first at all the Clarifiers before new “green” programs. There are a lot of BTUs in BS (including human).


3 posted on 10/30/2012 9:43:32 PM PDT by PA Engineer (Liberate America from the Occupation Media.)
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To: neverdem

A lot of things that use government subsidies are unsustainable, and this is news....

Let the private sector figure it out, if someone can make a bio-reactor pump out enough “green fuel” that is costs less than regular fuel then like the man who invented a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to their door...


4 posted on 10/30/2012 9:45:49 PM PDT by GraceG
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To: GraceG

Today, if you invent a better mousetrap, the government comes along with a better mouse.

~Ronald Reagan


5 posted on 10/30/2012 9:47:26 PM PDT by GraceG
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To: neverdem
Obama and Algae
6 posted on 10/30/2012 9:49:42 PM PDT by Vince Ferrer
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To: neverdem
Plenty of room for improvement...that's what my high school coach told me, boy, did I show him he was wrong!

Algae is kinda like that. You can see that there's a good idea buried in that green slime but when anyone tries to make it perform...reality rears its ugly head and bites them.

All a person has to do is turn thousands of square miles into algae ponds and then harvest the slime and turn it into oil. No problem, afterall it worked on a test pond.

“Son, you have a lot of room to improve”.

7 posted on 10/30/2012 10:02:23 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: neverdem
If harvesting excess algae from the sea is not a viable source of fuel, then why they heck are they testing methods which require the growth of even more algae?

I thought one of the side benefits of using algae was to clean up some of the algal blooms in places like the Gulf.

If we're just gonna fill the landscape with ponds filled with scum then what's the point? We're already doing too much of that in Washington, D.C.

8 posted on 10/30/2012 10:06:27 PM PDT by who_would_fardels_bear
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To: neverdem

This is really important technology to master if we are ever to go into space.

Algae consume light energy, carbon dioxide, nitrogen (human urine), and water and produce hydrocarbon (food and fuel) and oxygen.

For a long space flight, algae could close the loop in supporting humans.

Furthermore, in the event that excess co2 is a real problem, then algae would help close the loop there too.


9 posted on 10/30/2012 10:10:13 PM PDT by staytrue
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To: Vince Ferrer

Thanks for the link.


10 posted on 10/30/2012 10:15:02 PM PDT by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem

The only thing “ Green “ about Green energy is the mount of money that is invested into it.


11 posted on 10/30/2012 10:19:40 PM PDT by American Constitutionalist
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To: neverdem

It didn’t this story for me to know algae is a loser for fuel. I know nothing at all about it, but I saw Obama touting it a while back and that’s all the info I needed.


12 posted on 10/30/2012 10:45:01 PM PDT by Baynative
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To: neverdem
The phosphorus/fertilizer issue has been known for awhile. The percentages I saw were actually worse than this article mentions. The industry stuff I saw, algae would need 200% above of total world phosphorus production.

There is actually great promise in reclaiming the energy in the sewage reclamation plants.

13 posted on 10/30/2012 10:50:22 PM PDT by jwsea55
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To: neverdem
But there are many different approaches to growing algae, such as growing the microscopic plants in shallow outdoor ponds, or in enclosed plastic tubes called bioreactors.

Neither of those approaches appeals to me. Large bags floating on the ocean on the other hand look to me like a neat way to get free "land," plenty of sun, and free agitation. Containment from the environment would be a snap with a fresh-water-only plant at sea. If the weather gets rough, just sink the whole system to about a hundred feet down. When it's done, pump it into a tanker with the reactors on board. Use the dry waste for aquaculture.

14 posted on 10/30/2012 11:23:46 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (Islam offers us choices: convert or kill, submit or die.)
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To: jwsea55
There is actually great promise in reclaiming the energy in the sewage reclamation plants.

Farm soil kinda needs that material flow.

15 posted on 10/30/2012 11:25:02 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (Islam offers us choices: convert or kill, submit or die.)
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To: jwsea55
The industry stuff I saw, algae would need 200% above of total world phosphorus production.

Seeing as phosphorus is undesirable in the oil itself one would think that would be a closed loop requiring a one-time supply, that is, unless we wanted that phosphorus for something else such as animal feed, in which case it would be replacing an existing material flow.

16 posted on 10/30/2012 11:28:34 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (Islam offers us choices: convert or kill, submit or die.)
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To: neverdem

I once was looking at investing in bio-fuels thinking it may be the next big thing. After much research and commonsense, I decided not to simply because it would take too much area to grow the algea. The same problem with solar and wind energy sources - huge land areas that have no infra-structure with lines to consumers. We’ve seen how well those renewable fuels have worked out, as in bankruptcy.


17 posted on 10/30/2012 11:31:58 PM PDT by A Navy Vet (An Oath is Forever)
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To: neverdem
"The committee noted that none of the sustainability concerns is a definitive barrier to the development of algal biofuel as a fuel alternative. Biological and engineering innovations have the potential to mitigate the resource demands associated with algal biofuel, including research toward the following goals:" Report In Brief
18 posted on 10/30/2012 11:44:56 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: DannyTN

Thanks for the link.


19 posted on 10/31/2012 12:41:42 AM PDT by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks neverdem.
20 posted on 10/31/2012 3:53:07 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: neverdem

The next thing you know will be that we will all be required to poop in a little plastic bag (supplied by a government owned business) and seal it and save it until a suitable number have been...let’s say....aged in order to produce methane in small quantities.

These bags are to be placed in a special bin (made by a government owned business) and placed by the curb with the other mandatory recycling trash to be recycled(by a government owned business) and subject bags transported to another government owned business for extraction of said gas for sale to the peasants and proles. Said sale being made by another government owned business.

After extraction of the gas from these little bags, the poop will be sent to the government so the hogs there can eat it.


21 posted on 10/31/2012 4:15:11 AM PDT by DH (Once the tainted finger of government touches anything the rot begins)
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To: A Navy Vet
I once was looking at investing in bio-fuels thinking it may be the next big thing.

Bio-fuels from algae might not be feasible today but that doesn't mean that it won't be in the future. Today's insurmountable technological difficulties are tomorrow's major break-throughs. We shouldn't be too quick to write something off (but if I were you, I wouldn't invest in it now.)

22 posted on 10/31/2012 7:20:41 AM PDT by CommerceComet (Obama vs. Romney - clear evidence that our nation has been judged by God and found wanting.)
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To: Carry_Okie
[There is actually great promise in reclaiming the energy in the sewage reclamation plants.]

Farm soil kinda needs that material flow.

While I didn't probe this exact question, when I spoke to one of the scientist involved in this project he mentioned two things specifically: (1) the 'material' they were converting to energy was going to the landfills (i.e. a cost factor), and (2) he works in the algae area as well as and he felt this had more promise of commercializing. I will try and remember to ask this question the next time I see him.

23 posted on 10/31/2012 8:03:59 AM PDT by jwsea55
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To: jwsea55

If there is any plant source that could produce a usable bio-fuel, a GMO algae would be it. I still prefer the oceanic model I mentioned above for a production site.


24 posted on 10/31/2012 8:13:52 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (Islam offers us choices: convert or kill, submit or die.)
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To: Carry_Okie; DannyTN; neverdem; A Navy Vet; CommerceComet
[The industry stuff I saw, algae would need 200% above of total world phosphorus production.]

Seeing as phosphorus is undesirable in the oil itself one would think that would be a closed loop requiring a one-time supply, that is, unless we wanted that phosphorus for something else such as animal feed, in which case it would be replacing an existing material flow.

There are some very interesting projects going on in the algae field. The phosphorus is a huge issue for this ever being a major source of energy. They have been looking at capturing the CO2 from power plants and injecting it into the algae beds. Interesting but that seems expensive on a practical scale.

There are some very successful algae farms using farm water run off to capture nutrients. This is actually a benefit since they take in 'dirty' water and replace it with 'cleaner' water.

One thing that fails to get into most of the general media is these algae incubators have been extremely sensitive to environmental conditions. In other words, they have a very tight margin for being able to produce ('bloom'). The scientist joke that entire batch can be destroyed when one bird flies over (and does what birds do). A little deposit can throw off the pH just slightly, enough to destroy the bloom.

All that said, algae is an interesting area to look at for future investment. With present technology it will not be a large scale source of energy.

25 posted on 10/31/2012 8:31:00 AM PDT by jwsea55
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To: Carry_Okie
If there is any plant source that could produce a usable bio-fuel, a GMO algae would be it. I still prefer the oceanic model I mentioned above for a production site.

We live in very interesting times for energy.

The best way to think about the energy sector is not focusing a particular form of energy. What we care about is getting highest equivalent BTU conversion in the cleanest form factor at the lowest cost.

Our biggest obstacle is ignorant but well meaning regulation.

This is why electric cars are so interesting. If we had a cheap source of electrical production, electric cars might be interesting. One of the large hurdles for this being practical is the charge time. Current charge times are impractically long. There have been a number efforts to develop rapid charge systems (five minutes). They have not been successful, most seem to fail due to excessive heat during the rapid charge (we would call that a fire in layman's terms).

There have some interesting developments with nano technology in the battery systems. Pretty experimental right now. One of the projects has seen extremely rapid charge times and is able to store significantly more energy per volume than lithium. Sorry, I don't have a link for you.

I am actually much more excited about the prospects for carbon based fuels. Bachmann got slammed when she said would get the price of gas below $2 a gallon.

Let's pretend unicorns exist or one day we might actually return to a capitalist, non-overbearing government regulation.

First, the U.S. could be energy 'independent' in a relatively short time frame. (I would think 2020, plus or minus if we decided to go that course now.) The Myth of Scarce Oil. This report is from RAND, by no means a conservative, destroy the earth fire breathing dragon. Since very little excess production leads to huge price volatility in oil, Bachmann is closer to the truth than all the critics who slammed her. The number I keep seeing for much of this potential capacity is that it is profitable at above $60 per barrel.

Another interesting area is developing technology to make existing (oil and gas) fields more productive. Much of the media attention has been focused on fracking. There are some very interesting things going on with bio-technologies, too. Titan Oil Recovery> has developed an approach that produces 'marginal' oil from existing fields at under $10 per barrel. Old fields using the technology are producing 100% more oil at less than $10 per barrel!

Finally, in answer to your original question, yes there are some very interesting things going on with 'plant source' conversions. DARPA has been putting a lot of money in this area for quite a few years. An example of that funding an interesting project/inventor down Georgia, J. C. Bell. At one point I think Herb Cain had some involvement in this project, I believe. Essentially, Bell has engineered a form a bacteria that converts green waste to oil (derivatives). Since the input essentially free (green waste) and the conversion process a simple biologic, the theoretical costs of derivative products (aviation fuel, diesel, for example) are extremely low. Bell had a number of small production 'faicilities' operating on military sites. He has run into some problems actually making this work in an industrial situation. I haven't heard any news on this in the last year and half, though. There were a couple of other interesting projects funded by DARPA but I can't recall them off the top of my head.

There is also some interesting stuff going on with hydrogen generators. Theoretically, what they are talking about tends to create controversies and polarized views, something like saying one believes in UFOs. The increased BTU conversion ratios are a bit mind blowing if this ever became real. I know some very credible guys playing around in this field, though. These guys resumes are worth taking note of.

26 posted on 10/31/2012 9:50:06 AM PDT by jwsea55
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To: jwsea55
Our biggest obstacle is ignorant but well meaning regulation.

It's sold that way, but that is definitely not its intent.

Bachmann got slammed when she said would get the price of gas below $2 a gallon.

She was absolutely correct.

Let's pretend unicorns exist or one day we might actually return to a capitalist, non-overbearing government regulation.

I wrote the book on that over ten years ago. Then I patented the business method as a form of free market environmental management business method capable of dealing with mobile commons. I filed the provisional application more than eighteen months before Bartels' carbon trading patent. I could invalidate the whole thing on the basis of prior art. Don't have the money to do anything about it and I have bigger fish to fry.

There is also some interesting stuff going on with hydrogen generators.

Hydrogen is too dangerous for the general public in my opinion. I'm more interested in catalysts that can run stationary fuel cells off of propane. The rural distribution exists and it serves as a nice counterbalance to daytime photovoltaic production in remote areas. In this area, one could cut the cost of delivered electricity by more than half by just getting rid of line maintenance and transmission losses.

27 posted on 10/31/2012 10:07:38 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (Islam offers us choices: convert or kill, submit or die.)
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To: Carry_Okie
[Our biggest obstacle is ignorant but well meaning regulation.]

It's sold that way, but that is definitely not its intent.

We still need to get the average person, both in and outside Country, to understand what is happening. Concentrating on converting ideologues is not the most effective place we should spend time on. Winning this battle will be accomplished from the center left to the right. Most people on the right have no idea what is happening. Most of them go into denial when they are confronted with the truth.

[There is also some interesting stuff going on with hydrogen generators.]

Hydrogen is too dangerous for the general public in my opinion.

I have spent some time looking in this arena. Pretty interesting stuff that does not have the issues you have raised about the danger.
Remember, water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen. Separately those elements have tremendous energy potential in an explosion. When they are fused together they are used to suppress fire. An on-demand, low volume hydrogen generation system is actually pretty safe.

Have to run for a meeting. Look forward to reading your links later!

28 posted on 10/31/2012 11:52:05 AM PDT by jwsea55
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To: Carry_Okie
It has a university with a well-deserved reputation.

I see a little humor in your writing. That statement leaves room for many extremely divergent interpretations.

Took a quick glance. A lot to consume. The book was quite a project you undertook.

Interesting, I have talked with my 'environmentalist' friends for a long while about market based solutions for the environment. They tend not to hear what is really being said, imposing their own perceptions of what they think I might be saying.

If I understand what you are driving at: ultimately, a market based system is the only system that will work. There need to be consequences for actions. More important, we need to have an enlightened self-interest. Something that isn't preached, at someone else's expense and from the heart.

The other project, your 'little' forest: are/were you crazy? :-))

Check out Bell Biofuel. It sounds like something that may interest you.

29 posted on 10/31/2012 2:37:03 PM PDT by jwsea55
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To: jwsea55
They tend not to hear what is really being said, imposing their own perceptions of what they think I might be saying.

You need to detach them from their allegiances by explaining how the system really works for the fun and profit of a VERY few. If you go to my wildergarten.com site, you'll see a set of articles. Read the one on the NRDC and you'll understand how it works. Read all of the first three and you'll understand why it got that way.

If I understand what you are driving at: ultimately, a market based system is the only system that will work. There need to be consequences for actions. More important, we need to have an enlightened self-interest. Something that isn't preached, at someone else's expense and from the heart.

Not just heart, money, time, education, and talent. It takes all of it.

As to "corrective" measures, there are people who belong in jail for fraud, racketeering, manipulation, malfeasance, abuse of power... They'd look good in orange jupsuits weeding alongside the roads. After all, I believe in restitution. :-)

The other project, your 'little' forest: are/were you crazy? :-))

That was nothing compared to what we have done since then. Seriously. We have since undertaken restoring our land to 100% native plants, 99.6% native in our grasslands last year. It has never been done before, especially in a location that has been trashed since the late eighteenth century. The purpose was to establish cred, both in terms of what I am saying and in terms of being considered an expert in a court of law.

You can read a little bit about that project here. I'm going to be building a monster web site this winter with everything on it, including some very technical material.

30 posted on 10/31/2012 3:02:28 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (Islam offers us choices: convert or kill, submit or die.)
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To: Carry_Okie
That is so cool. A person living by his convictions.

Best of luck with your projects!...and may you remain immune to poison oak.

31 posted on 10/31/2012 3:26:50 PM PDT by jwsea55
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To: jwsea55
That is so cool. A person living by his convictions.

Thank my wife. She pays the bills. The funny thing was that I was able to home educate two extraordinary girls in the process. One is at Utah State on a full academic scholarship, perhaps having something to do with a 3.95 college GPA while tutoring calculus at the age of 16. The other is at Stanford having turned down Cornell. Their work on this land had a lot to do with the latter. The money we saved by producing children the colleges were desperate to support recouped nearly the entire financial loss of me having quit my job, primarily because of taxes. In the mean time, I got to do something truly interesting with my life.

You wouldn't believe the rest of the story without reading it, but basically, I'm rewriting much of the Bible. We've really missed out on what it actually intended to teach (especially in the antediluvian sections). It is an extraordinary story of liberty and prosperity via relationships with those who live on the land. Remember: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and Moses, were all shepherds. I'm unbelievably fortunate to have found any of this much less as much as I have, even if I did get to shovel forty yards of dirt this fall.

Why work out when you can work outside? Speaking of which, I've got seeding to do as it looks like rain tonight. -CO

32 posted on 10/31/2012 3:44:14 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (Islam offers us choices: convert or kill, submit or die.)
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To: Carry_Okie; neverdem; Wally_Kalbacken; PA Engineer; GraceG; Vince Ferrer; count-your-change; ...

The best of breed of these is not actually algae but rather bacteria. Why? Because algae requires harvesting and dewatering manufacturing and such. Bacteria just needs sunlight carbon dioxide and minimal nutrients. Then it just secrets diesel or ethanol or whatever. The secreted fuel can be put directly into the gas tank without further refining. Joule Unlimited (see below) says they can produce this for 1.20@gallon. None of their funding—as far as I know — comes from the federal government. Heck some of their funding actually comes from a russian invester. they have a bioreactor farm currently operating in New Mexico.

http://www.jouleunlimited.com/news/2012/joule-commissions-first-sunsprings-plant-demonstrate-commercial-readiness
Joule Commissions First SunSprings Plant to Demonstrate Commercial Readiness

Launches subsidiary, Joule Fuels, led by oil and energy experts to advance global deployment of industry’s first direct solar-to-fuels platform

Bedford, MA – September 11, 2012 – Signaling another major step towards commercialization, Joule today announced the commissioning of its first SunSprings™ demonstration plant in Hobbs, New Mexico, where the company will prove its scalable platform for solar fuel production – the first of its kind – using a fraction of the land and capital investment required for algae-derived or agricultural biofuels. Joule aims to show that its uniquely modular system can achieve replicable results whether installed across one or thousands of acres – opening the door to near-term deployment by eliminating scale-up costs and risks that have hamstrung biofuels for years.

Unlike sugar-based biofuel producers, Joule directly and continuously converts solar energy into liquid fuels, without costly raw materials, pretreatment or downstream processing. In contrast with algae-based approaches, Joule uses optimized microorganisms that act as living catalysts to produce fuel, rather than first producing biomass and later extracting lipids or sugars for subsequent multi-step conversion into fuel. The SunSprings plant is designed to demonstrate the complete Joule process with its advantages in cost, scale and efficiency, all at the multi-acre scale that directly translates to full scale through modular replication.

“This project is the culmination of advances not only in our core technology, but in building a commercial-ready system and engineering a scalable process that are now pilot-tested and prepared for deployment,” said William J. Sims, President and CEO of Joule. “For the first time, we are bringing the tremendous benefits of modular and linear scale to renewable fuel production, which has been notoriously hampered by batch processes, ponds and fermentation tanks that simply cannot scale without more land, more money and unpredictable results. In contrast, we’ve built a low-cost solution that emulates large-scale results and commercial-scale economics without the need for hundreds of acres or hundreds of millions of dollars. With just one module, we will show what’s possible with 100 modules or more – a low-risk, high-return equation with near-term commercial impact.”

“A short four years after we began lab operations, we are pleased to reach this important milestone in the company’s development,” said Noubar Afeyan, Founder and Chairman of Joule. “Based on several breakthrough innovations, Joule has produced a platform to sustainably produce liquid fuels at costs competitive with all existing alternatives. Now we are eager to show the promise of commercial production,” he added.

SunSprings plant operations will begin with production of Joule Sunflow™-E to compete in the ethanol market, valued at approximately $64 billion. Because Sunflow-E is derived from sunlight and industrial waste CO2, Joule can uniquely meet market demand with no depletion of natural resources or impact on global food supply and pricing. Joule has already achieved productivity rates of 15,000 and 8,000 gallons/acre/year in the lab and outdoor production, respectively, well above the maximum productivities that biomass-dependent processes can achieve. Following demonstration, Joule will be equipped to deploy its modular platform across multiple sites around the world, targeting initial productivities of 10,000 gallons/acre/year. This includes an opportunity to build a commercial facility in Hobbs, where the company has access to 1,200 additional acres and the inputs that drive its process. As the technology continues to advance, Joule ultimately targets productivity of up to 25,000 gallons of Sunflow-E per acre annually, at costs as low as $1.28/gallon without subsidies.

To support its progress towards commercialization, the company also announced today the launch of Joule Fuels, a global subsidiary formed to capitalize on the $1+ trillion fuels market with exclusive access to Joule’s revolutionary technology, IP and know-how. This hand-picked team of experts will oversee plant deployment and partnerships – from site selection and project development to plant construction and operations – with the immediate goal of commissioning multiple plants worldwide.

“Joule’s production platform is well suited to many regions around the world, where improving local energy security and environmental performance are critical goals,” said Peter Erich, President of Joule Fuels. “We are actively seeking sites and partners to deploy Joule Fuels plants in these regions, enabling localized production of high-volume, cost-competitive fuels in a sustainable process. This includes unique opportunities for off-take partners and input providers, including industrial CO2 emitters who can meet sustainability goals by directly converting their emissions into clean, renewable fuels.”

Joule Fuels will initially commercialize Sunflow-E, with Sunflow-D for the global diesel market to follow. Unlike biodiesel, a low-concentration blendstock, Sunflow-D is comprised of diesel-range paraffinic alkanes and can therefore be blended with conventional diesel in concentrations of 50% or greater, displacing more oil. Moreover, Sunflow-D is inherently sulfur-free and has a very high cetane value. Sunflow-D is now in development with an ultimate productivity target of 15,000 gallons/acre/year at costs as low as $50/barrel without subsidies.

About Joule
Joule is advancing a technology platform for Liquid Fuel from the Sun™, expected to eclipse the scale, productivity and cost efficiency of any known alternative to fossil fuel today. Its transformative Helioculture™ platform directly and continuously converts sunlight and waste CO2 to infrastructure-ready diesel, ethanol or commodity chemicals with no dependence on biomass feedstocks, downstream processing or precious natural resources. Joule has successfully pilot-tested its platform for over two years, initiated operations at its SunSprings™ demonstration plant, and launched a global subsidiary, Joule Fuels, to deploy fuel production sites worldwide. At full-scale commercialization, Joule expects to deliver renewable fuels and chemicals in unrivaled volumes, at highly competitive costs, with a fraction of the land required for biofuels derived from agricultural feedstocks or algal biomass. Joule is privately held and has raised over $110 million in funding to date. The company is headquartered in Bedford, Massachusetts with operations in Leander, Texas; Hobbs, New Mexico; and The Hague, Netherlands. Additional information is available at www.jouleunlimited.com.


33 posted on 10/31/2012 4:03:10 PM PDT by ckilmer
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To: Carry_Okie; neverdem; Wally_Kalbacken; PA Engineer; GraceG; Vince Ferrer; count-your-change; ...

A good way to look at the direction of the military is to look at their research dollars through DARPA and various other research facilities. The biggest theme that emerges is a revolution in logistics. The military wants to kill the long line of logistics and produce major pieces of the logistics train on the spot. Here’s what they’re doing with fuel. (The reason for this is that the delivered price of fuel in afghanistan is currently over 300@ gallon.)
...................

http://www.thelog.com/SNW/Article/Navy-Plans-to-Make-Jet-Fuel-From-Saltwater
Navy Plans to Make Jet Fuel From Saltwater
posted: 9/30/2012

By: Log News Service
WASHINGTON, D.C. (LOG NEWS SERVICE) — Jet fuel from saltwater! Sounds more like something from the pages of a Jules Verne novel than a plan by researchers at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL).

Verne’s fictional Capt. Nemo had electricity aboard his submarine Nautilus provided by sodium/mercury batteries, with the sodium provided by extraction from seawater.

The NRL announced Sept. 24 that scientists at the laboratory are developing a process to extract carbon dioxide and produce hydrogen gas from seawater, subsequently catalytically converting them into jet fuel by a gas-to-liquids process.

“The potential payoff is the ability to produce JP-5 fuel stock at sea, reducing the logistics tail on fuel delivery with no environmental burden — and increasing the Navy’s energy security and independence,” said research chemist Dr. Heather Willauer. The NRL said its scientists have developed a two-step process in the laboratory that will convert the carbon dioxide and hydrogen gathered from seawater to liquid hydrocarbons.

In the first step, an iron-based catalyst has been developed that can achieve carbon dioxide conversion levels up to 60 percent and decrease unwanted methane production from 97 percent to 25 percent, in favor of longer-chain unsaturated hydrocarbons (olefins).

In the second step, these olefins can be converted into a liquid containing hydrocarbon molecules suitable for conversion to jet fuel by a nickel-supported catalyst reaction.

The NRL predicts that jet fuel from seawater would cost in the range of $3 to $6 per gallon to produce.


34 posted on 10/31/2012 4:13:29 PM PDT by ckilmer
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To: ckilmer
Thanks!!!

That was one of the DARPA projects I couldn't remember off the top of my head. There's another that is floating around in my head, will post when I remember.

It has been a couple of years and I hadn't heard that Joule got out of the lab. Very much appreciate the update.

The article may simplifying the military's thinking a bit too much on the logistic issue. The military needs certainty on supply. By bringing production capacity as close as possible to the front, they remove any geopolitical/military issues out of the equation for supply (ie Middle East supply or disruption issues). That is one of the reason why there has been so much concentration developing feedstock sources that are ubiquitous around the world.

We are just updating one of Winston Churchill's great contributions to the 20th Century. When Churchill took over as Minister of the Admiralty (Navy), England did not have enough coal stock to run the navy with certainty around the world. Coal took up more space, needed greater labor (shoveling) and had more constrained mileage durations. (There were also the logistic issues of world wide supply.) Oil at that point was a fungible commodity with world wide availability. He was the one who was instrumental in the British developing Middle East oil.

35 posted on 10/31/2012 6:20:28 PM PDT by jwsea55
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To: jwsea55

We are just updating one of Winston Churchill’s great contributions to the 20th Century. When Churchill took over as Minister of the Admiralty (Navy), England did not have enough coal stock to run the navy with certainty around the world. Coal took up more space, needed greater labor (shoveling) and had more constrained mileage durations. (There were also the logistic issues of world wide supply.) Oil at that point was a fungible commodity with world wide availability. He was the one who was instrumental in the British developing Middle East oil.
...........
yeah but I’ll tell you what. I think that coal is part of what made england king in the 19th century. they were energy independent. the instant they switched to oil they started going down hill. again late in the 20th century when the north sea was producing oil big time —england’s fortunes increased. as oil production in the north sea has declined so has england. meanwhile norway with much more capacity just keeps on trucking.

The USA similiarly has had an arc downward financially since the 70’s when the US starting importing oil.

If the USA becomes oil independent again in 8 years—it will utterly transform the world that we know it today. And if the USA can actually crush the price of gas back down to under $2.00@ gallon and $40 @ barrel—permanently—or at least 50 years—we’ll have achieved strategic victory over Al Queda because the gulf states won’t have the money to gift to the 10,000 madrasses in Pakistan and elsewhere. They’ve got to the point where they need at least $80@barrel.

Heck if the USA could actually exploit the green river basin in wyoming, the USA could wipe out the federal debt —as well as crush the ability of the gulf states to fund al queda.


36 posted on 10/31/2012 7:18:21 PM PDT by ckilmer
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To: jwsea55

We are just updating one of Winston Churchill’s great contributions to the 20th Century. When Churchill took over as Minister of the Admiralty (Navy), England did not have enough coal stock to run the navy with certainty around the world. Coal took up more space, needed greater labor (shoveling) and had more constrained mileage durations. (There were also the logistic issues of world wide supply.) Oil at that point was a fungible commodity with world wide availability. He was the one who was instrumental in the British developing Middle East oil.
...........
yeah but I’ll tell you what. I think that coal is part of what made england king in the 19th century. they were energy independent. the instant they switched to oil they started going down hill. again late in the 20th century when the north sea was producing oil big time —england’s fortunes increased. as oil production in the north sea has declined so has england. meanwhile norway with much more capacity just keeps on trucking.

The USA similiarly has had an arc downward financially since the 70’s when the US starting importing oil.

If the USA becomes oil independent again in 8 years—it will utterly transform the world that we know it today. And if the USA can actually crush the price of gas back down to under $2.00@ gallon and $40 @ barrel—permanently—or at least 50 years—we’ll have achieved strategic victory over Al Queda because the gulf states won’t have the money to gift to the 10,000 madrasses in Pakistan and elsewhere. They’ve got to the point where they need at least $80@barrel.

Heck if the USA could actually exploit the green river basin in wyoming, the USA could wipe out the federal debt —as well as crush the ability of the gulf states to fund al queda.


37 posted on 10/31/2012 7:18:24 PM PDT by ckilmer
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To: jwsea55

DARPA is also doing a lot of work in the 3D printing field. This article is not about them. But right now DARPA is working on 3D printing for uniforms and vehicles if you want to look that up.

http://www.designnews.com/index-dn-ad.asp?gotourl=http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1394&doc_id=253069&cid=NL_Newsletters+-+DN+Daily&dfpPParams=ind_186,bid_26,aid_253069&dfpLayout=blog


38 posted on 10/31/2012 7:41:35 PM PDT by ckilmer
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To: ckilmer
I'll follow the story to see if it develops into a reality. Predictions are always easier to make than jet fuel.
39 posted on 10/31/2012 8:04:26 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: neverdem

More “Green Jobs”


40 posted on 10/31/2012 8:42:25 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: ckilmer

>> “Heck if the USA could actually exploit the green river basin in wyoming, the USA could wipe out the federal debt” <<

All 146 trillion? - not holding my breath.


41 posted on 10/31/2012 8:45:03 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: ckilmer
Hard time imagining how that type of all encompassing patent would have been swallowed by the Founding Fathers. That is just designed to stifle without innovation.

3D printing is utterly fascinating. Talking about a truly revolutionary technology. All of the sudden we can get real time prototyping (well, maybe in one day). It will be interesting to see an auto company push this envelope. Toyota started developing the FR-S/GTS in 2007 and released it in May of this year.

At some point 3D got to change funding envelope for the VC world. Throw a designer with CAD expertise next to the conference room. Lock the inventor in with him. Do real time consumer testing. You could have a product ready for production in very short order.

42 posted on 10/31/2012 9:40:46 PM PDT by jwsea55
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To: ckilmer
yeah but I’ll tell you what. I think that coal is part of what made england king in the 19th century. they were energy independent. the instant they switched to oil they started going down hill. again late in the 20th century when the north sea was producing oil big time —england’s fortunes increased. as oil production in the north sea has declined so has england. meanwhile norway with much more capacity just keeps on trucking.

I always got the feel that England's downfall started around the War of 1812, when those pesky insurrections were bothering them while they were fighting a real war. By the time of Victoria, it was tea and crumpets time. Not that I can recommend reading The Prize by Yergin (since everyone I have loaned the book to takes about 6 months to read it), modern history told through oil is interesting. After reading it, is easier to understand that England just sort of slid into living off its past. One of the other interesting points in the book, I think there were 5 times in history we were a couple of years away from no more oil.

Now we live in an utterly fascinating time in history with what is going on with energy. You had the sea water to fuel article. The stuff that I have seen on hydrogen generation is mind blowing if it is ever realized/commercialized.

43 posted on 10/31/2012 10:09:36 PM PDT by jwsea55
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To: ckilmer

Thanks for the interesting comments & links.


44 posted on 10/31/2012 11:02:57 PM PDT by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
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To: editor-surveyor

All 146 trillion? - not holding my breath.

Not 146 trillion but certainly 16 trillion. Your talking about all unfunded liabilities. I’m just talking about the national debt.


45 posted on 11/01/2012 12:51:16 PM PDT by ckilmer
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To: editor-surveyor

All 146 trillion? - not holding my breath.

Not 146 trillion but certainly 16 trillion. Your talking about all unfunded liabilities. I’m just talking about the national debt.


46 posted on 11/01/2012 12:51:45 PM PDT by ckilmer
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To: ckilmer

I’m talking about the near or in default bonded sovereign debt of the US. (including the states and their subdivisions)

146 trillion is conservative.


47 posted on 11/01/2012 1:13:26 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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