Monthly Archives: July 2012

Biodiesel from Algae: Can Algae Save the Day?

Biodiesel from Algae may be a group of slimy, unattractive inhabitants of ponds, pools and sewage areas but do you know that these aquatic plants can be harvested and turned into fuel for mankind?  Specifically, Biodiesel from Algaethese plants can be used as an important element in the creation of biodiesel?  Yes, there are many researches being done now to explore the possibility of turning algae into biodiesel to replace the old depleting sources of petroleum based fuels. The rising cost of gasoline has added to the enthusiasm to find a more and natural alternative of energy. Men has been relying too much on gasoline based energy in the last millennium that the natural sources found beneath the surface of the earth is fast depleting.  In fact scientist estimate that it takes less than one hundred years from now for those sources to dried up totally.

These aquatic plants are either simple unicellular or multicellular eukaryotes that are classified a aquatic pants even though they lack the necessary features present in most plants today. They dolts have leaves, roots or branches but they do posses the one important element that is exclusive to the plant kingdom-the ability to produce its own food through the process of photosynthesis.

Therefore algae play a very important role in the ecosystem of the food chain. These tiny aquatic plants serve as food for small fish and marine life and other microorganisms living in the aquatic areas. Perhaps you may be aware how the spirulina algae are used as a sensational health food product back in the late 1990’s.  These are spiral like algae that are harvested from the wilderness and cultivated in ponds across the world, due to its high enzymes and mineral contents. The humble algae plays an important role I the history of mankind since ancient, times, they are harvested as food sources and in this decade, scientists are looking at algae as a possible solution to end the worldwide hunger for energy or gasoline based energy that is fast depleting from the Earth as the day progresses.

Today the algae is showing great promise of becoming an important element  to save the earth and end the worldwide phenomena of  depleting natural resources due to oil supplies drying up. Algae seem set to save the day again.  They are very easy to cultivate and need only water, sun light and carbon dioxide to grow and flourish.  Additionally, when algae are turned into biodiesel, it consumes carbon dioxide and thus helps to keep the air clean and healthy.

The challenges are there too.  Scientists are finding a way how algae into biodiesel can be done without incurring too much cost for the manufacturer.  Right now, the technology is at a point where mass production of algae is extremely costly. There has to be a way to finally reduce the multiple steps taken to turn these slimy creatures into usable fuel. Research is on its way and it is on a matter of time before the next breakthrough happens.

With all of this features and more, it seems that the good old algae is set to be the next sensation to sweep the world when the process of algae into biodiesel is finally optimized and all challenges that stand between mass algae biodiesel production is finally conquered.

Algae Powder Can Change The World

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Algae powder can mean energy and food freedom. We are living in a world where there is too much dependence on foreign oil and corporate control of our food supply.

algae powder

As the growing concern over this unhealthy pattern of energy dependence continues to grow, Americans have been aware of the importance of finding an alternative source of fuel rather than depending on those fossil-based fuels that are produced in faraway countries whose policy we have no control over. We have to ship that product across the world, adding even more cost.

There are many new and innovative ideas how we can solve these problems. We need to produce our own energy that is cheaper, more reliable and safer for the environment.

solar farms

Solar powered stations, hydro electric generator and wind power mills are among a few of the brilliant ideas how we can harness the natural resources and energy that is available in abundance to all of us.

Many of these ideas seems fantastic, but they can be impractical when put in real world situations.

For example, solar power sounds great, but only works when the sun is shining, or you need to be able to store the energy. It works great individual applications, such as home energy. But not as a mass produced commodity. We still don't have a an affordable way to store the energy. .

Hydro power has been around for centuries, but requires tremendous investment to build a generator and there is too much capital needed to provide manpower to run the station.

Wind power isn't much better than solar,  in that you can never predict when those winds will be blowing and thus the energy generated from these windmills are sporadic and unreliable. In certain locations, such as offshore, they could work very well. However, it would only produce energy in coastal regions. The Great Plains in the US are another location that is producing wind energy reliably. Additionally, many people feel they hurt the landscapes and birds.

algae powder

During the last few years, we have discovered the potential that resides within algae powder. There has been a stir of excitement within the scientific community about the potential of algae to be harnessed and used as a possible source of raw material for the production of biodiesel, bio gasoline, bio plastics, and many other products.

Indeed algae powder seem to be a very exciting thought. Here are just some of the reasons why.

1. Algae microfarms are 20 times more productive than other types of biodiesel plants such as corn and soy and have valuable health and medical benefits. Algae micro farms can help change our food culture by growing abundant healthy food in a very small footprint, affordably and profitably.

2. Algae Biofuels performs excellently under all conditions and it can compete with cars running on fossil fuels.They are currently problems with scaling up to commercial scale. However, at the rate and pace of research into this area it won't be longer before those are solved.

3. Algae biodiesel has less harmful emissions than those that are petroleum based. Not only are they better for the environment than fossil fuels but they can also help reduce global warming and climate change.

Algae powder

4. It performs just as well as the normal diesel fuel. It’s less inflammable too, making in safer in times of crashes and accidents.

5. Algae biodiesel is biologically degradable. This factor removes the fear of contamination to soil and water during transport. Additionally it doesn’t even contain sulphur the element which is responsible for acid rain. It produces less carbon dioxide than the burning of fossil-based fuels.

6. Algae biodiesel refineries are much simpler to build than other petrochemical refinery plants, making it a very pragmatic way to build a refinery plant which doesn’t require complicated processing equipment and extreme energy to run it.

7. Algae biodiesel has a higher lubricity which makes it ideal for engines and provides a smoother flow that adds to the engine life and efficiency.

These are all good reasons why algae powder is set to be the powerhouse of energy in the future.

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It will Be Our Bible...

Dear sir:

Great news! You are finishing to write one book expected for many years. During several months, I have been an constant follower of your ideas, papers and designs and there is no doubt of your worldwide mastery about biofuels. I am a Colombian researcher dedicated to participate in the Colombian project for production of biodiesel from native microalgae…. It will be as our Bible on those topics really urgent and necessary for the future wellfare of the humanity.

Thanks in advance

Oscar Medina

Brazil to build first algae-based biofuel plant

The world’s first industrial plant producing biofuels from seaweed will be built in the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco in late 2013, the official in charge of the project said Thursday.

The factory to be set up by Austrian firm SAT on a sugar cane plantation that yields ethanol, will produce 1.2 million liters of algae-based biofuel annually, Rafael Bianchini, head of SAT’s Brazilian subsidiary, told AFP.

Two Types of Biofuel

The need to look for alternative sources of energy that is more cost effective is on the rise these days. As gasoline prices continues to soar, the need for a cheaper and mire reliable source of alternative energy is two types of biofuelgrowing rapidly. Basically two forms of biofuel can be created from vegetable of animal fats-bioethanol and biodiesel. These are two different types of fuels that can be produced from biomass.

Let’s look at how bioethanol is created.  There are two parts that are involved- hydrolysis and fermentation. The most common way to produce bioethanol would be to use sugar, water and yeast and allowing the solution to ferment in warm conditions. This mixture will gradually turn into a liquid that has fifteen percent alcohol. Finally the yeast will consume itself and dies out and thus stopping the process of fermentation altogether.

At this point, the liquid mash is distilled and purified o get a ninety nine percent bioethanol solution. This is a relatively simple process where sugar is turned into ethanol. Yeast that feeds on that sugar causes fermentation to occur and ethanol would be the result of this process.

The process of fermentation converts sugar or carbohydrate into ethanol and water. The process can be shown by the equation below.

C6H12O6 (glucose) —> 2 CH3CH2OH (ethanol)+ 2 CO2 (carbon dioxide) .

Now let’s look at how biodiesel is produced. Biodiesel is the product of oil extraction from biomass such as plant or vegetable and even animals, usually oil from core or soy is based in the production of biodiesel, which causes a cry of alarm from the worldwide population due to the fear of ever increasing food prices. Early last year, a company based in Texas became the first ever to launch into a large scale biodiesel from algae, which is a great way to obtain oil from biomass without sacrificing the food sources.

Algae are colony of wonderful organisms that can thrive under the most extreme conditions where other life forms have perished.  It only needs there things to survive-water, carbon dioxide and sunlight. This makes the lowly algae a perfect solution for biodiesel production. These green plants that are either unicellular or multicellular are rich in lipids or oils which make it great as the raw material for biodiesel production. Algae into biodiesel have been regarded as the best and possible solution to end the world dependence on foreign imports of fossil based fuels. Algae has been cultivated in large ponds by private companies as research is being done actively to find out the best way to extract oil from these organisms that would yield in the best output if the best quality biodiesel possible.

The research to find the best strain of algae that can be used for biodiesel production is still in progress. More advanced technique to extract the oil from algae is also being developed. But the biodiesel from algae is by far the most cost effective way to get fuel from plants or animal sources.

How Biodiesel is Made

Biodiesel is the latest way to obtain fuel from alternative sources that is both renewable and safe for the environment. Popularly known as the green fuel, biodiesel is all set to hit the country as the savior that releasesHow-to-make-biodiesel us off the dependence on foreign imports of fossil based fuels. As people come to realize just how dangerous it is to place our need of energy on a foreign unstable source, we have realized how important it is to find an alternative source of energy we can produce ourselves and depend fully on.  Not only can we produce biodiesel in our country we can even produce it right in our own backyard!

Let’s look at one simple way how you can create biodiesel right in your own home. You would need to get the right equipments to get this right though. If you are a newbie, then start with ready made oil such as vegetable oil you can easily buy form the stress.  Once you develop the skills to make your own biodiesel, you can move on to other stuff you can include.

When you are ready to start, get one liter of vegetable oil or even used oil and a spoonful of sodium hydroxide or lye (about 3.5 grams), and one fifth of a liter of methanol or methyl alcohol.  Now get a glass blender.  Do not use a plastic blender as these may react with methanol. Now use a digital scale to measure 3.5 grams of the sodium hydroxide.  Once you get this right measure the methanol gain just to be sure you get the right amount in, precision is the to getting the results you want.
You should be wearing safety glasses, apron and protective gloves before you attempt doing this. Methanol or sodium hydroxide can burn your ski upon contact so make sure you have a glass of clear clean water near you to be safe. In some cases, the chemical reactions will produce fumes so be sure you are at a safe distance away. Now mix the solution well in a blender.  This would produce a solution that needs to be used immediately.

Now you can mix the vegetable oil to this mixture. Leave it for a few hours.  You will get a solution that would be divided into two parts.  The top part is the biodiesel and the bottom part would be glycerin. You can use glycerin for other purposes while you save the top part for fuel purposes.

Now that you know how to make biodiesel from home, you may be interested to know that there is very low cost way of getting oil as raw material fro your biodiesel fuel. The source is from biodiesel algae which can be cultivated right at home in your own backyard. You may be happy to learn that there are complete manuals which would help you build your own algae cultivation

Alternative Energy Sources

As the rising oil prices continue to haunt us all, and the cost of heating an American home is expected to increase up to 50% this winter, we are in dire need to find a more reliable source of energy that is both costalternative energy sources effective and environmentally friendly.  We live in a world where there is an over dependency on fossil based fuels. And to worsen the scenario, we don’t produce enough of those fuels for our own use, and thus depend on foreign imports of oil. This is a disaster as these foreign governments have total control over the oil prices and the policy that allows for the mining of those natural resources.  We don’t have control over that. The only way we can free ourselves from this over dependency is to find a reliable source of alternative energy that can fuel our economic activity and doesn’t threat our environment at the same time.

The phenomenal growth in the human population has created an insatiable need for energy and our dependence on fossil based fuel is definitely taking us nowhere. In fact supplies are fast drying up and scientists estimates that it takes less than a few decades before all of those natural fossil based reservoirs will be used up.

Apart from that the burning of those fossil fuels to create energy would only damage the delicate balance of our ecosystem.  It creates unprecedented amounts of pollution with its release of harmful toxins into the atmosphere. There is no end to the amount of damage that is caused by the cumulative effect caused by the excessive burning of these fossil based fuel for energy.

So what are the alternatives we have right now at our disposal?

Solar Power

Solar power is a renewable and endless source of energy for all of mankind without creating and undesirable side effects in terms of polluting the environment. It is widely used now for cooking, heating up swimming pools, in water heaters and even in the generation of electricity. It has plenty of photocells which traps the energy from sunlight and convert it to electricity. It makes use of silicones trapped under no reflective glasses where it is turned into electricity.  These are called solar panels that turn that energy trapped into electrical energy or DC current.

The biggest problem is these panels will not work if there is no sunlight which can be caused by clouds, bad weather or night time.

Wind Power

    Wind power can be gained from the kinetic force that is used to propel the blades of the windmill. The motions of those blades are converted into energy which would be converted into electricity by the help of a motor. Wind wars can be used to generate electricity to power up homes and industries. As these forms of energy are created by wind power, there is zero pollution involved as you get fresh clean energy to use. Also the land where those wind turbines are placed can be sued as grazing lands for farm animals. This is an excellent source of renewable energy.

    The negative side to this form of alternative energy lies in the inconsistency of wind to blow. We can never predict when these winds would blow and there is always a sporadic source of energy when wind power is harnessed into electricity.

    3. Biomass

    This is the best source of energy for fossil based fuels! Biomass refers to the biological elements within the earth that can take the form of seaweed, plants, animal fats, trees or even dung. These types of energy sources are renewable and completely safe to use. If you are considering this form of energy as your alternative fuel, source of algae would be the best choice of all due to its low cot, ease of cultivation and rapid expansion of the algae colony.

    Myth Busting – Republicans and Algae

    I’m sure many of you remember that algae became a bit of a political football during the Republican primary campaign. It certainly was hard for me and others in the industry to see algae technology belittled. And based on that experience one might be inclined to draw a bright-line and say Democrats are for algae while Republicans are against. (Of course, to do that, one would have to ignore the incredible advocacy of U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA), who co-chairs the House Algae Congress, and other Republicans who have been tireless supporters.)

    Another excellent article from Biofuels Digest. Read the full text here:

    First algae-based biofuel plant to be built

    Brazil will begin next year the industrial production of biodiesel and bioethanol from seaweed.

    The first production plant of such biofuels will be built in Pernambuco, in the northeast of the country, following an agreement reached between the company See Algae Technology (SAT), from Austria, and Grupo JB, from Brazil.

    The Austrian company will provide the technology and the Brazilian firm will contribute with the site to build the factory in Vitoria de Santo Antao, a town located 53 kilometres from Recife.

    The plant and the marine farm of one hectare of genetically modified algae will be installed in the last quarter of 2013 with an investment of BRL 19 million (USD 9.3 million).

    In the marine farm algae will be developed in an appropriate environment that will have a system that absorbs sunlight and transmits this solar energy via optical fiber up to closed reactors where algae perform photosynthesis, Xinhua reported.

    It will also be possible to take advantage of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the ethanol production to favour photosynthesis and reduce the emissions of polluting gases into the atmosphere.

    Full text here

    Algae Biodiesel as the New Source of Biodiesel Fuel for Mankind

    Mankind has been too dependent on petroleum based fuel for far too long.  Big companies has been making billions of dollars off this trade and worse, countries that are actively producing these form of energy has been associated with supporting acts of terrorism lately, which remains debatable but nevertheless causes plenty of uneasiness among the western world. We need a fast and effective solution to end this dependence once and for all. What do we do at this point?

    Consider biodiesel for a change. So what are biodiesel fuels? Biodiesel are fuels that are created from a renewable source that comes from the plant and animal kingdom hence the name bio. These sources may includealgae biodiesel ponds vegetable oil such as corn oil, soy, used cooking oil and animal fat.  But he most widely used biodiesel round are those made form corn, soy and palm oil.  The problem with these sources is the biodiesel has shifted its dependence from foreign imports of fossil based fuels to another industry-food! And this causes alarm among world conservationists and activist for the fear of rising food prices around the world.

    So what other sources can we turn to for a reliable supply of biodiesel fuel without causing any kind of upsets within other industries? The answer may be simple. Consider the humble old algae! Yes, algae for biodiesel are a widely embraced concept by many due to its ease of cultivation and harvesting.  Algae is very simple to grow and needs only three things to survive-water, carbon dioxide and sunlight. It can grow and thrive well in areas where other plants would find it impossible to survive. It has the ability to produce its own food though photosynthesis. It does not having leaves or branches which is the basic attributes of most plants.

    The lowly algae possess a vast amount of natural oil which makes it perfect for biodiesel production. Algae to biodiesel have been a widely discussed concept. Many research is been done on this topic as well. Biodiesel algae can be grown easily and expands rapidly in colony size making it ideal for turning into biodiesel.  Algae can produce 30 times more biodiesel in quantity than any other biodiesel plans out there. The algae biodiesel does not produce any harmful emissions and is totally renewable.

    There are growing concerns that the algae into biodiesel industry would use lands that should be used to grow food for mankind.  Fortunately the humble algae can be grown almost anywhere at all where there is water, carbon dioxide and sunlight. This means that climate areas or land that cannot be used for farming can be turned into algae farms. And it is cheap and easy to grow them too.

    However, the challenge still lies in the fact that people are not aware of these opportunities and car manufacturers still produce petroleum based vehicles. As the awareness grows, people will demand more of these biodiesel cars.  As more vehicles that run on biodiesel are produced, the more these algae farms can flourish.

    Embracing the New Phenomena: Algae Biodiesel

    The escalating cost of gasoline are making biodiesel seems like the next big thing waiting to explode into a worldwide phenomena. People are looking for a more affordable solution and biodiesel sounds like a very feasible option. The best thing about biodiesel is, this is a technology that is not dominated by the big companies rather it is a simple process that can be done by anyone right at home with the right knowledge, tools and the right stuff.

    Today, many people are making these home made biodiesel right from their own home using simple materials that can be gained easily. People are using vegetable oil, used cooking oil, corn oil and a whole lot more to create their own biodiesel right in their own homes. But the process of using foodstuff as biodiesel has raised an alarm among many conservationists for the fear of ever increasing food prices. Using food as fuel is not a rally good idea when plenty of people are starving from the lack of available food items. Therefore a more feasible elements needs to be found as a source of biodiesel fuel rather than depending on foodstuff to use as energy.

    This is where the algae into biodiesel come in.

    Algae are aquatic plants that grow in ponds, lakes and around the sewage areas. These hardy plants are very easy tog row. They only require minimal sunlight, water and carbon dioxide to survive. They can grow in places where other plants fail to grow. Being unicellular or some have evolved into multicellular plant, algae seems to be a promising solution to end the need for more fuel as energy.

    Algae as biodiesel has prompted scientists form all over the world to look into this possible source of renewable energy to replace the depleting gasoline based products that are fast dying up.  The world is in dire need for a renewable source of energy and biodiesel seems to be the best solution to this impending question. So what are biodiesel and how do the algae play a role in this technology?

    Basically, biodiesel are fuel that is created form plant sources. Bio represents he origins of these fuels or diesels which refer to the plant kingdom. Usually, vegetable oil or plant oils are used to create these biodiesel liquid. F you plan to un you car on biodiesel, you need to purchase conversion kits that are available to allow your car to run on biodiesel. But in many case, cars or truck that run on diesel engines can run very well on biodiesel.

    You would need to purchase a processor to turn this oil into biodiesel. Sometimes these kits can be costly.  But considering the long-term usage and the amount of cumulative savings you will be able to obtain, the kit may seem to be a very good investment. There are many companies around that would be willing to ship a biodiesel processing kit to your home. Bur before you settle on one, it is good to know the facts right before you hand over your hard-earned money.