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Algae to crude oil: Million-year natural process takes minutes in the lab
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory ^ | 12/17/2013 | Tom Rickey

Posted on 12/20/2013 9:24:42 AM PST by logi_cal869

Engineers have created a continuous chemical process that produces useful crude oil minutes after they pour in harvested algae — a verdant green paste with the consistency of pea soup.(snip)

In the PNNL process, a slurry of wet algae is pumped into the front end of a chemical reactor. Once the system is up and running, out comes crude oil in less than an hour, along with water and a byproduct stream of material containing phosphorus that can be recycled to grow more algae.

With additional conventional refining, the crude algae oil is converted into aviation fuel, gasoline or diesel fuel. And the waste water is processed further, yielding burnable gas and substances like potassium and nitrogen, which, along with the cleansed water, can also be recycled to grow more algae.(snip)

The recent work is part of DOE's National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels & Bioproducts, or NAABB. This project was funded with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Both PNNL and Genifuel have been partners in the NAABB program.

(Excerpt) Read more at pnnl.gov ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: algae; biofuel; energy; green; oil
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The thought of 'greenies' becoming unhinged at this development amuses me greatly.

Plus, a couple of ironies: Government research investment truly seems to have paid off, developing a potential process to free us from the Mideast and, secondly, this does nothing to reduce our so-called 'carbon footprint' (its product is hydrocarbons, regardless its source).

Another irony: They seem to have set out in 2009 to develop an 'algae-to-natural gas' process and discovered 'algae-to-oil' as an unexpected byproduct.

If they can get the cost down, refineries can go full cycle on-site, water being the only real raw material (if I understand it correctly). "Byproducts" & "waste" yet to be determined. Hopefully this stuff has the energy of petroleum-based gasoline.

I'll leave the rest of the speculation to others here.

Peak oil? Yeah, right; so much for that. Peak lithium? Absolutely.

1 posted on 12/20/2013 9:24:42 AM PST by logi_cal869
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To: logi_cal869

Rust Belt cities on the Great Lakes have access to a lot of fresh water.


2 posted on 12/20/2013 9:30:08 AM PST by gasport (Will operate for food.)
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To: logi_cal869

Turning “pea soup” into oil sounds like a good use for pea soup. I wonder if they will have to exclude ham from the recipe?


3 posted on 12/20/2013 9:30:10 AM PST by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: logi_cal869

algae — it’s green energy.

It’s better than burning corn and driving up the cost of livestock feed and tacos.

Now to produce enough algae to make it economically doable — that’s the question.

If not will kudzu work???


4 posted on 12/20/2013 9:31:08 AM PST by Uncle Chip
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To: logi_cal869

To make this feasible on any significant scale,,,,how big are the algae ponds going to have to be? What’s the growth/turnover rate of the algae?


5 posted on 12/20/2013 9:33:27 AM PST by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: logi_cal869

“In the PNNL process, a slurry of wet algae is pumped into the front end of a chemical reactor. Once the system is up and running, out comes crude oil in less than an hour, along with water and a byproduct stream of material containing phosphorus that can be recycled to grow more algae.”

So in this process more potential energy from oil is produced than energy consumed?


6 posted on 12/20/2013 9:33:58 AM PST by ScottfromNJ
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To: Uncle Chip
Now to produce enough algae to make it economically doable — that’s the question.

Grow it on sewage.

7 posted on 12/20/2013 9:34:21 AM PST by null and void (I'm betting on an Obama Trifecta: A Nobel Peace Prize, an Impeachment, AND a War Crimes Trial...)
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To: logi_cal869

I wonder what the EROEI on algae is.


8 posted on 12/20/2013 9:36:00 AM PST by Theoria (Obama lied. My health care died.)
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To: logi_cal869

What investment of man hours, raw material and energy has to be put into each barrel of oil from this method?

I could get my 13 year old to power the house with a stationary bike generator, but then I would have to feed him. Not worth it.


9 posted on 12/20/2013 9:36:43 AM PST by lurk
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To: logi_cal869

Well, is this cost-effective (or could it be made to be) with shale oil?

If not, then it stands little chance of replacing that source. No matter how “green” the biological source of petroleum may be, there is a cost-benefit ratio that has to be respected.


10 posted on 12/20/2013 9:38:23 AM PST by alloysteel (Those who deny natural climate change are forever doomed to stupidity. AGW is a LIE.)
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To: ScottfromNJ
So in this process more potential energy from oil is produced than energy consumed?

Even if it's break even or not-quite break even, it still might be worth doing.

It converts intermittent sunlight into a continuous oil stream.

If it disposes of an otherwise burdensome waste stream.

11 posted on 12/20/2013 9:39:37 AM PST by null and void (I'm betting on an Obama Trifecta: A Nobel Peace Prize, an Impeachment, AND a War Crimes Trial...)
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To: ScottfromNJ

“So in this process more potential energy from oil is produced than energy consumed?”

I think if you add in the sunlight and CO2 the algae needs it will be a slight net loss, given entropy (TdeltaS).

I doubt they sieve algae from water directly, though you could.


12 posted on 12/20/2013 9:40:00 AM PST by DBrow
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To: logi_cal869

This is an interesting way of turning solar energy into a usable fuel.


13 posted on 12/20/2013 9:41:03 AM PST by NorthMountain
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To: logi_cal869

Tens of millions of acres of algae pools to produce significant amounts of oil, not likely to be competitive with drilled wells.


14 posted on 12/20/2013 9:41:19 AM PST by count-your-change (you don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough)
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To: lurk

You don’t feed him now?

May as well salvage something from the food budget...


15 posted on 12/20/2013 9:41:28 AM PST by null and void (I'm betting on an Obama Trifecta: A Nobel Peace Prize, an Impeachment, AND a War Crimes Trial...)
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To: logi_cal869

Thanks FO the post.

By th way, this wouldn have to be excepted.


16 posted on 12/20/2013 9:42:20 AM PST by ifinnegan
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To: logi_cal869; sully777; vigl; Cagey; Abathar; A. Patriot; B Knotts; getsoutalive; muleskinner; ...
Rest In Peace, old friend, your work is finished..... If you want ON or OFF the DIESEL ”KnOcK” LIST jut FReepmail me..... This is a fairly HIGH VOLUME ping list on some days.....
17 posted on 12/20/2013 9:42:29 AM PST by Red Badger (Proud member of the Zeta Omicron Tau Fraternity since 2004...................)
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To: logi_cal869
his does nothing to reduce our so-called 'carbon footprint'

Not true.

While I am not suggesting truth in the global warming / carbon output scam, the algae to oil plans result if far less carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.

The end product is essentially the same, but to grow the algae, it removes CO2 to grow. So what is released is carbon that was already in the air, not captured underground.

18 posted on 12/20/2013 9:44:01 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: logi_cal869

This isn’t activism.


19 posted on 12/20/2013 9:45:03 AM PST by Admin Moderator
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To: ScottfromNJ
So in this process more potential energy from oil is produced than energy consumed?

Algae to oil processes are essentially a solar energy process. Sunlight provides the energy the algae needs to grow and build its hydrocarbon chains. The processing is just "squeezing out" the chemical energy captured from the solar energy input.

20 posted on 12/20/2013 9:47:19 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: logi_cal869

Maybe this is proof that during the dinosaur age oil was created from huge amounts of algae that grew during that time were covered over and buried while other plant growth turned to coal.


21 posted on 12/20/2013 9:50:04 AM PST by Jack Hydrazine (Pubbies = national collectivists; Dems = international collectivists; me = independent conservative)
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To: count-your-change
Tens of millions of acres of algae pools to produce significant amounts of oil, not likely to be competitive with drilled wells.

Not to mention the smell.

22 posted on 12/20/2013 9:51:07 AM PST by immadashell (The inmates are running the asylum.)
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To: logi_cal869

The US Dept of Agriculture currently pays BILLIONS out via the Crop Reduction Program (CRP). This program pays farmers with land that could be farmed, to not farm.

I am of the opinion, that a significant reduction of our foreign oil dependence along with an improvement in the cash flows for farms could be achieved if the USDA would require the production of X numbers of gallons of algae in order to qualify for Y number of acres in the CRP program.

Further, tax breaks could be provided to ag co-ops that build algae collection and process to oil facilities that could then be shipped via trains to refineries.

Growing algae can be done in tanks, in ponds, etc. Farmers might even be able to process the algae into bio-diesel for their own farm equipment thus reducing their costs. The algae can then be sold to the co-op, the co-op collect and process into oil and the oil sold to refineries. In essence, boot strapping a whole ag industry that would be a whole lot more efficient that trying to turn food (corn) into fuel (ethanol).


23 posted on 12/20/2013 9:52:19 AM PST by taxcontrol
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To: alloysteel; All
I think it was Exxon that just lost something like $100 million on researching 'algae-based-fuels', but their process (among others') resulted from a dry algae, requiring much time & energy pre & post-process.

This process uses 'wet algae'; that's the major difference. Using the 'reactor' is akin to cooking your chicken in an oven vs. a pressure-cooker; much greater efficiency. I believe Sapphire Energy is also using the 'wet' process, but that's not been revealed that I can find.

My 'geek' was stimulated by this research...fascinating.

24 posted on 12/20/2013 9:54:24 AM PST by logi_cal869
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To: logi_cal869

This may explain Abiotic oil theories that have long been laughed at by enviromentalmidgets.


25 posted on 12/20/2013 9:55:02 AM PST by Michael.SF. (I never thought anyone could make Jimmy Carter look good in comparison.)
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To: NorthMountain

The problem with solar has always been storage. This seems like a good solution.

Of course the greenies will attempt to ban the technology.


26 posted on 12/20/2013 9:56:48 AM PST by Organic Panic
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To: logi_cal869

Good. Now make several million gallons of it per day. Oh, and keep the price per gallon at $2.50 or less.


27 posted on 12/20/2013 9:57:33 AM PST by SkyDancer (Live your life in such a way that the Westboro church will want to picket your funeral.)
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To: Admin Moderator

I considered that. But I respectfully disagree:

An Alternative to corn-to-ethanol processes & fringe electric/battery tech funded by MASSIVE government investment & bias (both resulting from its own ‘activism’) is, indeed, Activism.

IMHO. Am I wrong?


28 posted on 12/20/2013 9:58:46 AM PST by logi_cal869
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To: Organic Panic

If it proves to be economically viable, the greenies will hate it and try to ban it.

If it’s a worthless sinkhole of resources, they’ll tout it as the way of the future and demand subsidies.


29 posted on 12/20/2013 9:58:53 AM PST by NorthMountain
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To: Red Badger

love the cartoon


30 posted on 12/20/2013 10:01:03 AM PST by F15Eagle (1Jn4:15;5:4-5,11-13;Mt27:50-54;Mk15:33-34;Jn3:17-18,6:69,11:25,14:6,20:31;Ro10:8-11;1Tm2:5-6;Ti3:4-7)
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To: logi_cal869

Good news everybody.

But I do have a few questions:

1. What are the resource requirements and energy inputs into growing the algae?

2. What are the resource requirements and energy inputs into reacting the algae into oil?

3. Does the energy output from burning the oil exceed the energy inputs into the total process?

4. Is the growth and reaction processes expandable and sustainable?

5. Are there any undesirable byproducts of the growth and reactions processes?

That is all.


31 posted on 12/20/2013 10:02:58 AM PST by catnipman (Cat Nipman: Vote Republican in 2012 and only be called racist one more time!)
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To: logi_cal869

Bump for later


32 posted on 12/20/2013 10:04:45 AM PST by Lurkina.n.Learnin (This is not just stupid, we're talking Democrat stupid here.)
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To: Admin Moderator

Now I’m confused. You threw me with the ‘isn’t activism’ statement.

The forum is News/Activism.

If this isn’t at least news, please direct me to which forum applies in this case.

Not being an a$$; trying to understand and elaborating that I’ve thought this, and other posts, through.


33 posted on 12/20/2013 10:05:14 AM PST by logi_cal869
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To: Michael.SF.

“This may explain Abiotic oil theories that have long been laughed at by enviromentalmidgets.”

Man, the Enviros are going to be pi$$ed.....


34 posted on 12/20/2013 10:06:27 AM PST by FAA
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To: count-your-change

It may be a very large amount of oil, but the way things are going, we will be eating the algae and walking to work.


35 posted on 12/20/2013 10:07:18 AM PST by dangerdoc (see post #6)
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To: logi_cal869
I know of an "experiment" that involved a pressure vessel filled it with watered down saw dust about 40 years ago. It was heated until the bulkhead gasket blew. What came out ignited and created quite a massive blowtorch effect. After it cooled and was able to be taken apart, what was left looked like pure carbon that had been a liquid (crude) at one time. Don't try this at home!

So, the same process can probably be used with any carbon based material when mixed with a proportion amount of H2O under tremendous pressure and heat. And since it's just recycling carbon, there is no need for a carbon credit scheme.

36 posted on 12/20/2013 10:07:29 AM PST by Errant
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra
To make this feasible on any significant scale, how big are the algae ponds going to have to be?

As big as Mars, maybe?

37 posted on 12/20/2013 10:09:58 AM PST by Steely Tom (If the Constitution can be a living document, I guess a corporation can be a person.)
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To: Theoria

look for PETA to start a campaign to prevent harm to algae.


38 posted on 12/20/2013 10:14:13 AM PST by TurboZamboni ("PEACE ON EARTH TO MEN OF GOOD WILL".)
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To: catnipman

My question is:

How much does it cost?

If its going to be cheaper per gallon, great. If its going to cost more per gallon, it is not worth doing.

It is going to have to be significantly cheaper per gallon to be worth investing in all the infrastructure that it would need.


39 posted on 12/20/2013 10:14:15 AM PST by BeauBo
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To: logi_cal869

maybe it does not take “millions and millions” of years to make crude oil “naturally” either.


40 posted on 12/20/2013 10:16:25 AM PST by BereanBrain
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To: Michael.SF.
This may explain Abiotic oil theories that have long been laughed at by enviromentalmidgets.

This shows the Biotic production of oil, the same process that when trapped away from oxygen in ocean/lake sediment, produced the oil we harvest from drilling.

41 posted on 12/20/2013 10:20:10 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney
Hmmm, I am going to have to look at both later, as to be honest I am not clear on the subject of biotic vs. abiotic.
42 posted on 12/20/2013 10:37:01 AM PST by Michael.SF. (I never thought anyone could make Jimmy Carter look good in comparison.)
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To: logi_cal869

This is “bio-diesel” they’ve been putting in Navy ships?


43 posted on 12/20/2013 10:40:00 AM PST by Excellence (All your database are belong to us.)
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To: TurboZamboni

Imagine algae on the endangered species list.


44 posted on 12/20/2013 10:42:43 AM PST by Peter W. Kessler
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To: logi_cal869

Probably very uneconomical.

Would be useful to produce fuels off earth though.


45 posted on 12/20/2013 10:43:27 AM PST by mrsmith (Dumb sluts: Lifeblood of the Media, Backbone of the Democrat Party!)
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To: Michael.SF.

biotic is biological, grown.

abiotic is non-biological, not-grown.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/biotic

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abiotic


46 posted on 12/20/2013 10:48:50 AM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: logi_cal869

If we anticipate a steady stream operation right at the refinery, the first question is; What sort of VOULUME, capacity, output is feasible with such a lash-up? It’s an interesting process, but if it only produces a few gallons of gasoline or jet fuel or whatever per day, what’s the excitement about?


47 posted on 12/20/2013 10:58:22 AM PST by Tucker39 (ed eith a hot iron.")
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To: Errant

Thermal Depolymerization Process oil has been around for a while. The process is designed to handle almost any waste product imaginable, including turkey offal, tires, plastic bottles, harbor-dredged muck, old computers, municipal garbage, cornstalks, paper-pulp effluent, infectious medical waste, even oil-refinery residues. There are actually three product streams: a form of natural gas, varying grades of petroleum (depending on the feedstock being reduced), and various minerals, either as elemental metals or oxides. The substance goes into the reaction retort vessel as a watery slurry, and cooking time is a matter of only a few hours. Actually, the superheated steam under pressure (two to five atmospheres) is what does the conversion. There is a serious amount of heat that has to be applied to start the process, but once under way, the gaseous volatiles are enough fuel to keep the process going in a series of other retorts, in various stages of the cook-down. The other problem is keeping the process supplied with feedstock material, much like an incinerator that burns trash for power generation. The kinds and composition of the feedstock have to be carefully monitored, but this is a doable technique. It would work very well on a high-volume sewage processing facility, for example, with no need for drying down the residue.


48 posted on 12/20/2013 10:58:39 AM PST by alloysteel (Those who deny natural climate change are forever doomed to stupidity. AGW is a LIE.)
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To: Jack Hydrazine

In part, perhaps. But personally I believe Thomas Gold was right about the abiotic origins of most of the hydrocarbons we extract from the earth.


49 posted on 12/20/2013 11:01:01 AM PST by katana (Just my opinions)
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To: logi_cal869

The guy in the video at the link is my BIL. Hubby is pretty proud of his little bro.


50 posted on 12/20/2013 11:31:33 AM PST by AZHSer
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