Monthly Archives: November 2012

Algae Bio Crude in One Minute

One Minute Algae Bio CrudeANN ARBOR-It appears as if Mother Nature Herself was wasting her own valuable time by using a multimillion-year program to produce crude oil. Michigan Engineering scientists have the ability to “pressure-cook” algae as little as 1 minute, as well as transform an unmatched 65 % of the actual physical eco-friendly slime to produce biocrude.

“We’re trying to mimic the process in nature that forms crude oil with marine organisms,” said Phil Savage, an Arthur F. Thurnau professor, as well as a teacher of chemical engineering with the University of Michigan.

The precise breakthrough discoveries is going to be introduced Nov. 1st, during the 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, PA.

Savage’s ocean-going organism chosen will be the green sea micro-alga from the genus Nannochloropsis.

To create their own one-minute biocrude, Savage and Julia Faeth, a doctorate undergraduate in Savage’s research laboratory, filled metallic pipe connector utilizing 1.5 milliliters of moist algae, capped the unit and plunged it directly into 1,100-degree Fahrenheit soft sand. The small volume of mass revealed how come the algae became incredibly hot all through, however with merely a minute as a way to warm, the algae’s temperature level should have simply touched the 550-degree level, before they drew the reactor out.

Before, Savage together with his team, heated the algae during cycles beginning with Ten minutes to as much as 90 minutes. They witnessed their best results with roughly 50 % of the algae changed into biocrude, while operating it within a 10 to 40 minute span at 570 degrees.

What makes the one-minute conclusions  a whole lot better? Savage and Faeth are not probably going to be positive till after they perform further study, nevertheless they have a couple of ideas.

“My guess is that the reactions that produce biocrude are actually much faster than previously thought,” Savage professed.

Faeth demonstrates the super fast warming up could very well boost the biocrude by maintaining unwanted reactions in check.

“For example, the biocrude might decompose into substances that dissolve in water, and the fast heating rates might discourage that reaction,” Faeth claimed.

The team points out the reality that smaller reaction time intervals indicate the reactors doesn’t have to be so large.

“By reducing the reactor volume, the cost of building a biocrude production plant also decreases,” Faeth stated, but both she and Savage suggested they can’t announce beyond doubt if the the newest method is faster as well as less costly till the technique is more totally developed.

Present conventional producers of algae-based fuel initially dry the algae, and then eliminate the organic oil. Nevertheless over $20 per gallon, this type of petrol is not even close the gas pump.

“Companies know that that approach is not economical, so they are looking at approaches for using wet algae, as are we,” Savage declared.

One advantage using the wet method is that it not just cleans away the actual fat from the algae, it also isolates proteins and carbohydrates. The one minute method achieved this so efficiently that the oil held about 90 % of the energy source in the original algae.

“That result is near the upper bound of what is possible,” Savage stated.

Before biocrude being supplied into the existing refinery method for petroleum, it will require pre-refining to eliminate the extra oxygen and nitrogen atoms which often thrive in living things. The Savage research laboratory similarly is on its way with enhanced processes for this kind of cycle of biofuel development, and a few months ago smashing the track record getting a biocrude which was 97 % carbon and hydrogen. A study regarding this work is currently under examination.

As soon as producing biofuel utilizing algae is cost-effective, research professionals estimate that an area as large as New Mexico could create enough oil equivalent to modern day U.S. petroleum consumption. In addition balanced with corn produced for the objective of ethanol-which presently realizes 50 percent that area-the algae would not need to take up top quality farmland, cultivating in brackish waters as a substitute.

Speaking of the “pressure cooker” method of oil extraction, you can details of the entire “home grown” technique in “Making Algae Biofuels at Home” below.

“Building Open Ponds” Second Edition about to be Released


The second edition of “building Open Ponds is about to be released. If you’d like a “sneak preview” and a hefty discount when this book goes live, click the book or this link right here.

UPDATE: This book is in the final stages of approval. Amazon has agreed to publish the paperback. We added almost 300 pages of new material making this the most in-depth book available.


The Algae Revolution Has Begun

Algae Biorefinery in Saudi Arabia

Algae Biorefinery in Saudi ArabiaYou know you might be on to something profitable in micro-farming when even the country with the largest oil reserves sees reasons to invest its dollars in algae infrastructure.

Even if you sit on top of the world’s largest deposits of petroleum, algae still has it’s advantages. Saudi Arabia is now jumping into building localized algae biorefineries.

In an article published today in Ecomena, the intended goal is to build a “Saudi Arabia Biorefinery from Algae” (SABA Project) to screen for lipid hyper-producers species in Saudi Arabia coastal waters.”

The article goes on to say “These species will be the basis for next-generation algal biofuel production. The goal of this project is to increase research and training in microalgae-based biofuel production as well algal biomass with an additional goal of using a biorefinery approach that could strongly enhance Saudi Arabia economy, society and environment within the next 10 years.”

Think about that for a minute.

If the Saudi’s are making a concentrated effort to find, build, and tap into the vast resources offered by algae bio refineries, what does this say to the rest of the world?

The primary Plan

The primary mission of the SABA project is to develop the Algae Based Biorefinery – According to their website” ABB biotechnology putting into operation innovative, sustainable, and commercially viable solutions for green chemistry, energy, bio-products, water conservation, and CO2 abatement. Microalgae are known sources of high-value biochemicals such as vitamins, carotenoids, pigments and anti-oxidants. Moreover, they can be feedstocks of bulk biochemicals like protein and carbohydrates that can be used in the manufacture of feed and food.”

The strategic plan

Is for SABA project is based on  already ongoing Research, Technology Development & Demonstration (RTD&D)  using of microalgae biomass production and downstream extraction in a unique way, e.g. together with biomass production with wastewater bioremediation or extracting different metabolites from the produced biomass (numerous fatty acids, proteins, bioactive compounds etc.). This approach including algal biology, genetic engineering and technologies for algae cultivation, harvesting, and intermediate and final products extraction is critical for the successful conversion of the developed technologies into profitable industries.

Why is this interesting?

A number of reasons. One, Saudi Arabia certainly isn’t lacking in petroleum resources. Yet, they still feel to need to be aggressively pursuing algae biofuels. Second, notice they are pursuing secondary products as ambitiously as biofuels. Third, if you click on the graphic, it will enlarge. Notice the scale of production. They are planning on having up to 5000 acres under production in the near future. They’re aren’t fooling around.

The Saudi’s are pouring money, research, and gearing up for massive production of algae biofuels as well as other related products and benefits. It makes you ponder what they know. One wonders if perhaps they have been overstating their oil reserves. Or are they simply preparing for the future…today?

The Algae Revolution Has Begun

“Building Open Ponds” Second Edition about to be Released

building open ponds second edition


The second edition of “building Open Ponds is about to be released. If you’d like a “sneak preview” and a hefty discount when this book goes live, click the book or this link right here.

Algae Biodiesel is Available at Gas Stations in California

There’s been a lot of talk lately that algae based biofuels are too expensive and that it could never compete with petroleum. So it came as a shock to find out that this month gas stations in California will be selling algae based diesel to the public. So how much? $100 a gallon? $33 dollars a gallon?

Nope. Same price as regular diesel.

Propel Fuels announced today it is teaming up with Solazyme, Inc and kicking off a month long pilot program bring algae derived biofuels to gas pumps in California. This marks the first time in history that algae based fuels will be available to the public.

Solazyme is rolling out it’s algae based biodiesel in a big way. It is proving once and for all the algae revolution is upon us. “Solazyme’s high quality algae-based SoladieselBD meets or exceeds ASTM quality specifications and has shown performance enhancements including cold temperature operating performance. The fuel is compatible with existing diesel engines and the fuel’s performance is guaranteed by Propel. The fuel will be sold at the same price as conventional diesel fuels and will be available exclusively at Propel’s Clean Fuel Points in Redwood City, San Jose (N. First St.), Berkeley, and Oakland.”

“Solazyme’s high quality algae-based SoladieselBD meets or exceeds ASTM quality specifications and has shown performance enhancements including cold temperature operating performance. The fuel is compatible with existing diesel engines and the fuel’s performance is guaranteed by Propel. The fuel will be sold at the same price as conventional diesel fuels and will be available exclusively at Propel’s Clean Fuel Points in Redwood City, San Jose (N. First St.), Berkeley, and Oakland.”

Not only that, it is as green as it gets. Testing undertaken by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) shows that, in a 20% blend, SoladieselBD significantly outperforms ultra-low sulfur diesel in total hydrocarbons (THC), carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter tailpipe emissions. This includes an approximate 30% reduction in particulates, a 20% reduction in CO and an approximate 10% reduction in THC.

Their website went on to say “Solazyme’s revolutionary algae-based technology platform has supplied our development partners and customers with advanced biofuels that meet or exceed some of the world’s most stringent fuels specifications and requirements, “ said Bob Ames, VP of Fuels, Solazyme.  “We’ve successfully demonstrated our land-based fuels in fleet vehicles and corporate buses, and are excited about this pilot program with Propel because it enables us to make these fuels available to the public.”

The Algae Revolution Has Begun

More Evidence Algae Biofuels is About To Go Commercial in 2013

Who’s funneled $116M into Algenol and Aurora Algae? We know finally, it’s Reliance.

Algae’s Secret Investor

In earlier 2010, a considerable amount of information started to mount up indicating that Reliance Industries Limited – the oil, chemical products, telecommunications and industrial conglomerate, was planning to place a wager on algae in the fuel oils and chemicals area.

Reliance – for those people not as knowledgeable about India’s business environment – is known as a South Asian giant. It’s the country’s biggest private-sector business concerning income revenue and profits, and also scored in the Global Fortune 100 this past year.

Observers of the rising impetus driving algae at Reliance were dumbfounded this year after no investment decisions had been reported, with either a large-scale inside financial commitment or perhaps a tactical financial commitment with one of the top early-stage businesses. All of us certainly were puzzled with no activity here at Digestville.

Ends up that Reliance has been making investments the whole time. Silently. Significant.

A Credit Suisse statement regarding the business, (see page eight of the report, downloadable here), stated that Reliance has devoted $116 million (Rs6.2 billion). $93.5 million (Rs5.0 billion) in Algenol and 22.5 million (Rs1.2 billion) in Aurora Algae.

The most current news from Algenol

During the initial plenary period at the Algae Biomass Summit in September, Algenol CEO Paul Woods disclosed that the business, located at its 4-acre, out of doors Process Development Unit in Lee County, Florida, had attained continual output of ethanol for the 7,000 gallon per acre amount. That’s a considerable gain above the business’ initial goal of 6,000 gallon per acre, and was accomplished at its out of doors operations facility under standard performing procedures.

The most recent regarding Aurora Algae

We featured the launch of Aurora Algae‘s demonstration scale work in Western Australia as being #2 concerning Algae’s Big 2012, “Small Scale Algae Goes Big Time.”

Previously this year, we published: “Word has been sneaking back to the United States from Australia that Aurora Algae is well into a $100 million capital raise from a combination of existing and new investors, and is aiming at an IPO later in the year to fund its growth from a 6-acre demonstration unit to a small commercial facility of 250 acres, and then potentially to thousands of acres in its next iteration.”

Additional points of view on Aurora and Algenol

A shared factor among the two technologies. Neither of them utilize fresh water – each concentrate on saline-based varieties. We ranked these two in the leading 4 businesses “heading for commercialization now” amid “saltwater-based, Civilization-Saving, Bioenergy Technologies worth watching”.

The Reliance indicators from 2010

The Hindu initially discussed Reliance’s interest in algae-based biofuels starting in April 2010, after a delivery by M. Ganapati, President, Corporate Planning, Reliance Technology Group about the ‘Biofuels Scenario in India’. “Algae seems to be the most promising feed stock. Microalgae are uncellular biofactories that can provide oil from sunlight and carbon dioxide,” Ganapati stated back then. The Hindu appended that RIL suggested that the company may be “considering a proposal on setting up of a biofuel refinery, and called for selective government “investment grants to biofuels which will facilitate the update of biofuels.”

The indicators from 2011

Many people were convinced enough of Reliance’s intent that we ranked their desire for creating a significant wager in the industry.  Another corporation we concentrated on DuPont – made a large financial investment in the purchase of Danisco and its Genencor enzymes unit later that year. Yet the seeming inactivity at Reliance left us perplexed.

The indicators restart in 2012

Still there persisted to be rumblings in the arena of algae. During an interview with the Digest, Dr. Jose Olivares, the leader of the NAABB algae R&D consortium, proclaimed:

“I think India is a force to contend with because of their long history with algae, but at this point they are trying to determine out how best to enter into the biofuels industry. We are very fortunate, from a NAABB perspective, to be partnering with Reliance Industries Limited, which is one of the largest petrochemical companies in the world and is located in India. They have two of the world’s largest refineries and they are in the top 20 petrochemical producers in the world.  Reliance Industries is in the process of developing a strategy for biofuels and algae biofuels in particular. We are very privileged to be partnering with them in developing this strategy.”

Additionally we mentioned that Reliance, as well as the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, sponsored an international summit, “Algae for Sustainable Development” together with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and the Indian Phycological Society. The February conference drew contributors from 11 countries around the world while exploring “Biofuels from algae, marine farming of macroalgae, carbon sequestration, nutraceutical and protein supplements from algae, and effluent remediation.”

The Conclusion

It’s a significant type of financial investment, evidently focused at the commercialization step, because of the phase that each Algenol and Aurora have arrived at on their particular paths – also it originates with a major corporation.

What precisely Reliance is finding in the information channels which would have been supplied to them, in the midst of contemplating and making financial investments at those sums, is still undisclosed. Evidently, although Algenol and Aurora are able to produce records data from their pilot and test projects, not only from the research laboratory. Indicating that they have significantly de-risked their technological innovation and are prepared to proceed to the commercially manufactured stage.