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Peak Oil: Part II

peak oil: Part IIOr maybe I should call this “Peak Oil Propaganda”

In a “textbook” example of Peak Oil misdirection one gets the feeling they want us to  look in the wrong direction when it comes to energy, the Energy monopolies’ are really outdoing themselves. Biofuels Digest had an interesting article today.

In an article asking “When Will We Be Energy Independent?” they had this to say…

“The United States is beginning a domestic energy boom and could become a net energy exporter within the next two decades.”

So, in other words, let’s not expect the price of energy to come down for the next 20 years. You know, until we become a “Net Energy Exporter.” We just don’t have enough energy supply in the US to keep up with demand.


Wait a minute. By the Dept. Of Energy’s own charts, (last week) we have been a “net energy exporter” since 2008. But the prices haven’t come down. In fact, they have risen. Strange also, how the oil companies have been able to post record breaking profits for those same years. So either they haven’t bothered checking their own supplies, or their facts and figures come from fantasy-land.

They are completely whistling their own tune, with no fact-checking by anyone on the part of the media or government, and hoping no one notices. Do they really think we are that stupid?

What this article is also saying, reading between the lines, is that we (oil companies) won’t let renewables be competitive with petroleum for another 20 years, if then.

The mainstream media noticed this in 2011. In this article, according to USA Today, dated 2011, OUR TOP EXPORT was gasoline.

NEW YORK (AP) – For the first time, the top export of the United States, the world’s biggest gas guzzler, is — wait for it — fuel.

Measured in dollars, the nation is on pace this year to ship more gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel than any other single export, according to U.S. Census data going back to 1990. It will also be the first year in more than 60 that America has been a net exporter of these fuels.

Did you read that? MORE THAN ANY OTHER SINGLE EXPORT. Back in 2011 our TOP export was gasoline and fuel. Either we, as a nation, are a net exporter, or a net importer of oil. I didn’t realize (stupid me) that we could be BOTH at the same time. The same as I didn’t realize we could have a shortage of oil, and a glut of oil at the same time either.

Both of which, conveniently, (For oil companies) lead to rise in oil prices. Both of which throw the laws of supply and demand completely out the window. So either we’ll be a net energy exporter in 20 years, or we WERE a net energy exporter 2-3 years ago.

So which is it?

Now watch me as I pull a rabbit out of my hat. Just look over there…

Isn’t it about time someone told the truth, for a change?

PS…Keep in mind, I’m talking about the USA. But the oil companies are multi nationals. It applies to every single gallon of gasoline or fuel sold anywhere in the world. In Europe and Australia, prices are over $10/gallon and peak oil effects every other single aspect of our lives. From food production to health care. It is beyond obscene.

What Happened to “Peak Oil?”

peak oilThere hasn’t been much in the news lately about Algae biofuels. A couple of stories here and there but nothing really noteworthy. Instead, this week, it is more “commentary.”

Has any one but me noticed the blatant price fixing and market manipulation of fuel prices in the US lately? Didn’t they use to have anti-trust laws in this country to prevent that very thing?

Let’s zip back in time to 2007-2008. The real estate bubble burst and the housing market collapsed. This led to serious damage to the US (and world) economy.

At roughly the same time, we learn of that old villain “Peak Oil.” We’re running out of oil and doom and gloom is everywhere.

And the world goes nuts. Lions, tigers, and bears!

Gasoline prices shot up from $2 per gallon to $5 per gallon overnight, in many cases, much more. Not only that we didn’t have enough gasoline from domestic production to serve the needs of this country and we have to start importing gas. In short we went from an exporter of gasoline to an importer overnight.

Don’t believe me? Look at this chart from the US Energy Administration. September of 2007 we have the lowest gasoline exports in about 15 years. From that point on, the gasoline exports start a steep upward climb. In other words, not only did we have enough for domestic consumption, but we had a glut,and needed to export it to maintain the trade balance.

Now look at this chart. The average price of gas was $2.84 per gallon in 2007.  In 2012 the average price was $3.68. Almost a dollar a gallon increase in the price of gasoline.. And we all know of various location where gasoline hit $4-$5 per gallon. Even higher in some parts of the country. DURING THE SAME YEARS WE HAD A GLUT OF GASOLINE.

The Kansas City Star on June 17th. Reports  “The country as recently as 2008 was a net importer of 400,000 barrels of gasoline a day, more than 16 million gallons. That was enough to meet 4 percent of demand. But since then, imports have declined while exports climbed to a point that for the first three months of this year, the most recent period the information is available, it was a net exporter of gasoline.” The same with natural gas.

What happened to Peak Oil? Did it disappear? Where did  it go? Did someone hide it?

I find it interesting that just the moment that the world is running out of petroleum, we become a net exporter. I guess the Laws of Supply and Demand don’t apply to oil companies.

But here’s the biggest question of all: Why haven’t gasoline prices gone back down? When you have a glut of anything, prices should fall…not rise. Yet prices continue to rise.

I can’t come up with too many answers to that question except “Price-Fixing” and “Market Manipulation.”

So once again, (Remember he “Arab Oil Embargo” of the 1970’s?)  It appears the oil companies artificially created a shortage, when, in reality,  they had a glut, in order to drive the prices up…and keep them there.

I think they may have created a monster this time they won’t be able to control. Algae biofuels is taking off, whether they like it or not. The global market outlook just recently reached 1 billion. Algae is on it’s way to prime time. This will introduce 100’s, if not 1000’s of new players into the marketplace. Once algae biofuels and bio products become mainstream, the next logical step is localized production. If localized production becomes a fact, there will be very little need for multinational oil companies. They no longer will be able to collude together to create artificial shortages and manipulate the market.

It would only be fitting that the “Peak Oil” phantom they created, ends up devouring them.

Comments please.

Follow up to “My eBooks Suck”

First, I think a number of people misunderstood my last newsletter. So to clarify,

  • I'm not going out of business,
  • Nor will I stop writing books. (I couldn't if I wanted to. A labor of love is exactly that. I'd do it for free if I could.)

I was only considering not publishing digital books any longer.

You spoke, I listened. How about a compromise?

  1. First, I wanted to thank everyone who wrote in to me, both publicly and privately. Not only was it good hearing from you, but you also provided valuable feedback for me to evaluate my products with. I couldn't have done it without you. So again, thank you. I appreciate it.
  2. How about I publish MY BOOKS as paperbacks, and have the bonus material ONLY as a .pdf?
  3. That way, you still get instant information in .pdf format, but it also keeps my copyright secure.

I also wanted to share some of the feedback I received, since the comments didn't work in the beginning. Here are a few I received.

"Do not let the little people get you down.The people that whine to you are the same type who call Microsoft and complain because their cup holders, CD/DVD tray, has quit working. They are also the same people who want to give a copy to all their family and friends. Keep up the good work."


David, don't give up!!!! You've done an excellent job over the years promoting algae.  If people don't want to deal with the security that's their problem. Just let them know upfront that's a condition to buy. Hang in there! Maybe one day you can come down to Brazil and consult for me on a project here."

"I hope this is a publicity stunt because I didn't win crap! I ordered an ebook from you before and planned to order that $299 bundle next month.   I'm sorry for the any problems you may have encountered. You're position is totally justified and I'm sorry it didn't workout.  I don't think people realize the amount of  stress you're under with constant complaints of a bad product or accusations of you stealing their money can do to a person. I don't think a vast majority meant any harm (some did). The good news is you're stress free.  The bad news is my stress just went up.  I hope you change your mind or somehow make this available privately because I need the books!

 P.S. – You already know this. I've searched the web and you're the only one putting out great detailed information."


I am very truly sorry that you are leaving the business and like you it has been my experience that people in general are just damn lazy. I have all of your book samples and I was hoping to be able to start buying the e-books at some point. I also wanted to say that it is because of you that I am going to school and I want to work in alternative fuels as a business owner. With you leaving the business that will make it that much harder to get the books. When or if I am able to start my business I want to work in both Algae and Hydrogen I can thank you for that much. Again I am really sorry to see you leave the business."


"Just wanted you to know that I have enjoyed your books and your wit and your passion for several years.. You are a good man Charlie Brown.. keep up the good work.. the peanut gallery will always be there.. let them talk.. who cares..Maybe you are on the verge of some really great break through.. just had to move on from here..Let it shift.. all will be good."


"Generally. . . I agree E-books ( can suck ! ) are barely OK . . . And you can't curl up in bed with them and read . . . easily ) so I have read only bits and pieces of your algae books so far . . . technically you seem very convincing. Tell me more."


399px-Baby_yellingDid I get any negative emails? Yep, I got one. (A slow week…this one is pretty benign compared to some)

 (Drum roll please) And now for…

"The Email of the Week"

"I requested a long time ago sell it on cd you never did you lost. still tells me you are a fake."

(Actually, I did try selling it on CD, no one bought them. You snooze, you lose. )

Actually, this is kind of fun. Maybe I'll do an "Email of the Week" section in these newsletters when I receive them. I get some doozies.

OK, on to other business…

So here's this week's question: We are down to 2 choices

1.) Sell the main book as a paperback and having the bonus material in .pdf? 

2.) Keep things as they are and ignore the whiners and complainers.

Leave your comments below.

Algae Ethanol: Algenol Realizes 9,000 Gallons Per Acre

algae ethanolAlgae innovator Algenol currently at 50% over initial production goal – seeks to finish trial in 2013, and head for commercial-scale in 2014.

In Florida, Algenol proved that the organization had realized output levels 9,000 gallons of algae ethanol per acre annually – and business CEO Paul Woods said that ” I fully expect our talented scientific team to achieve sustained production rates above 10,000 by the end of this year.”

Only last September, in the beginning plenary session at the Algae Biomass Summit, Woods said that the organization, at its 4-acre, outdoor Process Development Unit in Lee County, Florida, had reached constant output of algae ethanol at the 7,000 gallon per acre rate.

That it was a large improvement over the company’s initial goal of 6,000 gpa, and had been obtained in open-air operation within typical working circumstances.

With the news, Woods verified that the business, right after finishing main engineering tasks at their built-in pilot scale biorefinery in 2012, has entirely changed focus to exhibiting the commercial practicality of Direct to Ethanol engineering at its pilot facility and determining sites for professional initiatives to start in 2014.

Woods added, “Our patented ‘Direct to Ethanol’ technology enables the production of algae ethanol for around $1.00 per gallon using sunlight, carbon dioxide and saltwater. The low production costs are achievable because ‘Direct to Ethanol’ technology produces high yields and relies on our patented photobioreactors and proprietary downstream techniques for the low-cost recovery and purification of ethanol.

“One ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) is converted into 160 gallons of ethanol, and 2 gallons of fresh water are produced for each gallon of ethanol in the ‘Direct to Ethanol’ process.

While preserving a principal focus on ethanol manufacturing, Woods revealed that Algenol had broadened its product profile to incorporate diesel and jet fuel from waste algae.  ”Algae Ethanol will be our main commercial product and jet and diesel will be integrated into our process over the next 2 years. We also continue to monitor opportunities to adapt our algae-based platform technology to produce valuable chemicals, such as propylene-based chemicals.”

The reports from Florida was the initial significant development in the Algenol story since last October, when it was disclosed that Reliance Industries Limited, the Indian petroleum, chemicals, telecom and manufacturing conglomerate, had put in a total of $116 million (Rs6.2 billion) in the algae space – with $93.5 million (Rs5.0 billion) heading to Algenol and 22.5 million (Rs1.2 billion) to Aurora Algae.

[COUNTDOWN] CLICK HERE to Purchase 2012 Digital Edition of “Making Algae Biodiesel at Home” at 50% discount. One Hour Only

The Algae Revolution Has Begun

Green Crude: EVEN MORE, Algae Biofuels Being Sold Commercially

I’m not sure if anyone remAlgae Gasolineembers, but I wrote a blog post, back in Oct. of 2012 about Sapphire Energy being the first to process “Green Crude” as a farm product.

I got a lot of flack from that particular post. (Lots of people write to me privately, but never say anything publicly) The Keyboard Commandos were saying it was “impossible” to farm algae as a crop, let alone use it for green crude. And it was “never” going to happen.

Never say never.

Well, Sapphire energy is back in the news again. This time announcing a commercial agreement and intention to sell crude oil from Sapphire Energy’s Green Crude Farm in Columbus, New Mexico to Tesoro.

“The Green Crude Farm recently reached a new milestone: continuous cultivation and crude oil production,” Sapphire Energy said in a prepared statement.  ”This begins the first step of a commercial relationship to process Green Crude oil from Sapphire’s future commercial facilities.” How much crude, and when. That is news that will unfold later.

Just what is Sapphire trying to tell us about its Eco-friendly Green Crude?

Sapphire Energy is presently creating oil every day from algae biomass grown and prepared in the Eco-friendly Crude Farm.  Oil extraction is accomplished by way of a patented technique for changing wet algae to oil, which in turn enables algae to become refined without turning to a timely pricey and costly drying out getting dehydrated stage.  Wet extraction technology for algae-based oil continues to be one among the biggest difficulties to commercialization.  Using this method, that may be the outcome of more than 4 years of study, development and area tests, the whole algae cell is presently utilized in oil generation, considerably growing yield.Additionally, the procedure is scalable, and it has shown to become effective having a number of algae strains.

In preliminary tests by Sapphire Energy, Eco-friendly Oil has been processed into on-spec ASTM 975 diesel fuel, showing its being compatible using the current system of pipelines, refineries and transportation models.  In the years ahead, the organization expects to increase output substantially to help broaden its commercial trial and start the mix over in the direction of commercial-scale output.

What the marketplace is saying about Sapphire’s Eco-friendly Crude

Certainly, Sapphire doesn’t have a practice of parading its technological know-how for the community to uncover. First, it is frequently a quick-changing experience in green crude – concepts fashionable 3 years ago have already been changed by many others – it’s crucial that you consider Sapphire like a business in regards to a new trend instead of a procedure.

We should look for the smoke – which often  comes away grey, as opposed to a apparent black or white…then dissipates quickly.

Here’s what we should have seen within the chatter: a continuing flow of patent application activity from Sapphire concerning terpenes and catalytic cracking having a zeolite catalyst – employing pulse reactors, possibly on the fluidized catalytic cracking mattress, and fast reaction occasions.

The approach engineering? Catalytic cracking with pulse reactors has presented in a few use refining jatropha oils formerly – and was already based in the oil sector for cracking programs, like getting rid of bitumen from oil sands.

There is various conversations within the process of Sapphire employing a pyrolysis-like procedure – rather, we come across it starting to appear much like KiOR’s, specific as it can somewhat be on the catalytic method having a innovative approach designed around a FCC unit.

As Sapphire states – among its objectives is wet extraction – which often would be to condition, to steer clear of the power and/or cost-intensive “drying” step of totally getting rid of water in the algae or even the algae in the water – plus you’ve got an advantage, as Sapphire states, that “the entire algae cell has become utilized in oil production, greatly enhancing yield.”green Crude

“In under twelve months, Sapphire Energy has cranked up its commercial demonstration to develop algae has created oil from your farm and today with Tesoro as our first commercial customer, we’re supplying barrels in our oil to become refined for market use,” stated Cynthia ‘CJ’ Warner, Boss and chairman of Sapphire Energy.  “This moment is enormously essential for the because it validates the advantages and benefits of Eco-friendly Crude, and verifies its place like a market-viable, refiner-ready, renewable oil solution.”

“Tesoro is continuously searching at technology for creating renewable fuels.  We’re pleased to become customer of factors Sapphire’s Energy’s Eco-friendly Crude, which shows promise as a substitute fuel solution,” stated Joel Larkins, v . p . of Renewable Development at Tesoro.

The Algae Revolution Has Begun


“Algae Biorefineries and Microfarms” has been approved by my publisher and slated for release in the next month or two.

To get a 25% discount and a free sneak preview of this upcoming book, CLICK HERE or on the book graphic, or sign up below.

Algae Gasoline Proving Popular

Algae GasolineBack in January we released an article about algae gasoline being sold in California during a 30 day trial program. Participating Gas Stations reported a whooping 35% increase in sales at the test sites. In addition, a survey conducted among the buyers revealed driver preference for algae based fuels over conventional fuels.

All of which begs the question…would buyers pay a premium for algae based fuels?

The pilot test was conducted at Propel’s clean fuel stations in San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley, and Redwood City,

Even more interesting, a follow-up survey among buyers revealed that 92% of customers said that they would be more likely to buy algae based fuel for it’s environmental benefits. 70% said they would buy the fuel more frequently if it were derived from algae, and nearly 40% said they would pay extra.

This pilot program was the first time algae gasoline were ever sold to the public. It was retailed at a parity price with conventional diesel.

OK, very interesting…but do they have an encore?

OK, here is where it gets’ interesting. Understandably, both companies are keeping silent about their future plans, but here is what we do know. In December Propel Fuels anchored it’s Series D funding with 11 million from existing investors, then went on to secure another 10 million in debt financing. With the new capital in place, Propel will be able to build out it’s network of gas stations that are offering the cleanest, most sustainable, not to mention domestically produced, biofuels in the country today.

It currently has gas stations in California and Washington state and are planing building another 200 stations to service new and existing markets over the next 2 years. Algae GasolinePropel operates a growing network of stations that provide renewable fuels (Flex Fuel E85, biodiesel blends, SolaDiesel) alongside the conventional gasoline that most drivers use today.

Solazyme, Propel’s partner, was one of algae’s first benefactors and has been a leader in the algae biofuels ever since. They have achieved key performance metrics in both fuel and chemical markets and they believe this allows them to manufacture oils today at a cost below $1000 per metric ton ($3.44 per gallon, or $0.91 per liter) if the algae biofuel is produced in a built for purpose commercial plant.

In 2012 Solazyme increased their own capacity to 8,000 metric tons by expanding their facility in Peoria, as well as their phase I and Phase II Roquette Nutritional facilities. The kicker is, they expect to have 550,000 tons capacity by 2015. This would support over 1 billion in biofuel revenue.

To make matters more interesting, Solazyme also entered into non-binding offtake agreement with both Dow Chemical and Qantas Airlines. Dow Chemical has agreed to purchase 20 million gallons (76 million liters) of oils in 2013, rising to 60 million gallons (227 million liters) by 2015. Qantas Airlines will purchase a minimum of 200 to 400 millions liters of jet fuel per year.

Can you say, the algae revolution has begun?

All well and good…what about fuel performance?

According to Life Cycle Associates, an independent greenhouse gas measurement firm, they determined that soladiesel provides 85-93% reduction in greenhouse gas emmissions compared with conventional diesel fuel. The NREL (National Renewable Energy Labs) indicates that a 20% blend significantly out preformed ultra-low sulphur diesel in hydrocarbons (THC), carbon dioxide (CO), and tail pipe 20%.

Bob Ames, VP of fuels at Solazyme said “Our fuels have already been successfully demonstrated in fleet vehicles, corporate buses, military applications and the first U.S. commercial flight on biofuel,” said Bob Ames, VP of Fuels, Solazyme. “The successful pilot program with Propel further exhibits strong consumer appetite for the superior performance and environmental properties of Soladiesel.”

“Propel is committed to providing drivers true choice at the pump by bringing to market the world’s highest quality and most sustainable fuels,” said Matt Horton, CEO of Propel Fuels. “The results show strong preference for algae-based fuel, and we are thrilled to have partnered with Solazyme to enable our customers to be the first in the country to purchase this next generation biofuel.”

So what does this mean to us?

It means, first of all, that not only was algae biofuels history made last December when they rolled out the first commercially available algae biofuels, but it was no freak accident of the market. It was the first step as part of a planned expansion into the market. This means, commercial algae based biofuels are now a reality. A historic first, in and of itself.

Second it means there is also a growing acceptance of algae biofuels by the government based on their low environmental impact. No easy feat. This one fact has slowed many alternative energies from ever gaining the market at all.

Third, it shows growing public awareness of, and acceptance to, algae based biofuels in general and algae gasoline in particular. Not only acceptance, but forward thinking populations are also willing to buy it at higher cost in order to have domestically produced, renewable energy and transportation fuels. This bodes very well for small scale algae biorefineries and producers.


“Algae Biorefineries and Microfarms” has been approved by my publisher and slated for release in the next month or two.

To get a 25% discount and a free sneak preview of this upcoming book, CLICK HERE or on the book graphic, or sign up below.

Which Country Is Leading The Way in Algae Biofuels?

Which Country Is Leading The Way in Algae Biofuels? Dr. José Olivares is an analytical chemist at the Los Alamos National Laboratories (LANL) in New Mexico. Biofuels Digest sat down with him recently to pick his brain about where various countries were in the race to produce algae biofuels. What follows is some of his thoughts on the subject.


India boasts a lengthy reputation for utilizing algae, but largely as a nutritional resource or for wastewater treatment. They’re attempting to build up those aspects into a biofuels market to a degree. Actually, India and the United States have cooperated in the creation of a financing venture for the advancement of biofuels generally, be it algae or cellulosic or another energy plant which has not yet been decided. That financing venture is in formation process and plans to put almost a million and a half to two million dollars per year for study and continuing development of biofuels in each country.

I believe India is a power to cope with due to their lengthy track record with algae, but at this time they’re wanting to figure out out the best way to enter the biofuels industry. We’re extremely privileged, from a NAABB point of view, to be working with Reliance Industries Limited, which is one of the biggest petrochemical businesses on earth and is located in India.


Japan has experienced an even longer background than nearly all nations in producing algae for business applications, largely macroalgae, for dietary sources and food options. They also have had a top phycological community and therefore are extremely proactive in prospecting for new species of algae.  The Japanese possibly possess a number of the best scientists on earth examining species such as Botryococcus braunii.

A lot of this research is focused at the University of Tsukuba. There, they’ve in fact determined a brand-new type of algae that grows very, quickly and possesses relatively good oil productivity. It’s extremely regular and very fast growing in signifigant amounts, so its overall efficiency appears encouraging for the biofuels industry.


Inside China, I went to check out the Qingdao Institute for Bioenergy and Biotechnology. The institute was launched to assist the area around Qingdao produce a bioenergy infrastructure and they’re effectively enroute to doing that. During the last 36 months, they’ve assembled an institution with approximately 200 experts. It’s kind of remarkable to view the research power that they’ve managed to collect in that very limited time.

The Chinese possess a couple of projects in algae and we are, once more, extremely blessed within the NAABB to be partners. We’re collaborating with Dr. Jian Xu in the sequencing and the annotation and analysis of Nannochloropsis salina  strain 1776 which we’re likewise sequencing here at Los Alamos. This cooperation also involves NMSU and Solix Biosystems which performed an important part in creating our collaboration.


Taiwan is quite comparable to China. There exists a huge steel plant in southern Taiwan, the Chinese Steel Corporation in Tungkang. Among the biggest steel plants on earth with considerable CO2 emissions. This factory is participating with the National Cheng Kung University to create a photobioreactor sequestration system for CO2.

Overall, this is a considerable undertaking for a very small country.


Australia has been in the news for quite a while and has recently been creating quite a commercial concern in algae. Muradel, small businesses forming in Adelaide and in Karratha (from a joint venture between Murdoch U., Adelaide Research and Innovation Pty Ltd and SQC Pty Ltd) is building a small 10 acre facility and presently possesses about two acres under production. In addition, Aurora Algae has begun building a few facilities in Karratha, and MBD Energy is active in Queensland.

The University of Sydney is creating a variety of systems for the conversion of biomass into oils, in particular their hydrothermal liquefaction abilities seem extremely encouraging for algae.

Of course, we have all seen the interest from airlines such as Qantas and Virgin Air, and airplane manufacturer Boeing, in the Australian bioenergy initiatives. All of this is a very, very nice level of development from Australia.


There are four new algae projects being funded by the European Union. Three of them are located in Spain.

Specifically, I visited the Repsol Innovation Center in Madrid and University of Alicante. Repsol is a large Spanish petrochemical interested in the development of biofuels. Repsol has a number of algae projects developing around Spain, including at the Univeristy of Alicante. Their research is looking at plastics for photobioreactors, greenhouse containment systems, strain selection, photobioreactor design, and fuel conversion. At the U. of Alicante I was particularly interested in their work with hydrothermal liquefaction technologies.

Of course, there has also been great work by Rene Wijffels at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, in understanding different types of photobiorector systems and cultivation systems for the European-type environment. There are also some efforts in other countries like Greece and Italy, but overall, Spain seems to be the one leading the development of the algae industry in Europe.

A nice, new technology just emerged out of a company called Evodos looking at a new centrifugal technology that is very low energy and fairly well developed. They are already being looked at very heavily by a lot of commercial entities and some research institutions. They have three different sized systems, from a research and development system to systems that can be taken out into the field for harvesting algae very, very quickly up to twenty thousand liters per hour flow rates for their largest systems.

Israel and Korea

We’ve heard quite a bit from Israel who has had a long history in developing nutraceuticals and now are using their photobioreactor systems mostly for biofuels. This development has come primarily out of Ben-Gurion University. In fact, Ami Ben-Amotz and his company Seambiotic are just starting to develop a new facility in China for algal biofuels, from technology they developed in Israel.


So when I look at all of the research and development that is taking place worldwide, I think the algae biofuels industry is starting to take off. In it, I also see that the U.S. continues to be a major force in helping drive that development. In many cases, the U.S. is involved in major collaborations in some way or U.S. industries are going into these countries because of their favorable environmental conditions for algae production (e.g., Australia).

We can see that the U.S is a major, major driver in those efforts. And since about two years ago with the stimulus funds coming into algal biofuels from a research and development aspect and biorefinery development, the U.S. is probably still the largest funding source for algal development from a public standpoint. Even from a private standpoint there are many more industrial and commercial efforts developing in the U.S. as compared to the rest of the world.

That’s not to say that the rest of the world is not catching up, and it’s great to see that all of these efforts are going on both in the U.S. and across the globe. As you well know, biofuels development is probably going to be very specific to regional conditions. Therefore, regional solutions are going to need to be developed in order to have economically and environmentally feasible biofuels efforts in each country.

Even within each country, I think we are going to see differences in the way we cultivate. For example, the way we cultivate in the southwest of the United States is going to be very different from Hawaii and from Florida, and much different than in the northern parts of the United States.

2013: The “Hold em or Fold em” Year For Algae Biofuels?

I’ve talked a lot about Solazyme in recent weeks. This is because there just seems to be no stopping this company recently. They are making news and rocking the algae biofuels boat in a big way. Take for example, this news story.

The elegance of utilizing algae to power the world’s motor vehicles continues to be in the center of countless investment proposals over the years-some which have hit a brick wall spectacularly, plus some that happen to be still inching along along the prolonged route to commercialization. But 2013 could possibly present a critical 12 months for a lot of of the algae fuel market leaders who have invested many years raising capital, constructing pilot projects, and promoting their algae within specialized niche market segments such as in compounds for expensive skin ointments.

Among the businesses that’s the furthest along is Solazyme (SZYM), a South San Francisco-based business which went public early in the year of 2011. Solazyme was among the initial companies to target the various chemical compounds as well as personal care market segments, creating a modest but constant income stream as it prepared itself for the issues of producing its algae oil at a level and price that could remain competitive with oil for transportation.

But Solazyme is currently on the edge of ramping up its algae oil for petrol, as well. Recently the business asserted that its Brazilian partnership with food processing giant Bunge (BG)-called Solazyme Bunge Produtos Renováveis-has obtained authorization for a $120 million bank loan from the Brazilian Development Bank to construct its initial commercial-scale algae fuel manufacturing plant in Brazil. The plant is currently being built (it started in the summer of 2012) alongside Bunge’s sugarcane mill in São Paulo (it employs sugar for a feedstock). Solazyme anticipates it’ll be prepared to go operational by the fourth quarter of 2013. In the beginning it’s going to generate 100,000 metric tons annually, but by 2016 it’s designed to produce 300,000 metric tons per year.

Solazyme in addition intends to achieve commercial scale of its algae fuel in the U.S. shortly, utilizing a plant in Clinton, Iowa, belonging to agriculture giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). That factory should create 20,000 metric tons of algae oil annually in early 2014, and ultimately 100,000 metric tons per year. Additionally, it possesses its own smaller-scale design plant in Peoria, Ill.

Sapphire Energy is yet another business that’s trying to get across  the so-called Valley of Death from low-volume output to industrial scale that will eventually be competitive with oil. The business includes a 2,200-acre algae farm in Columbus, N.M., which includes 70 ponds, each the dimensions of a football field, in addition to a refinery on site. The New Mexico refinery evidently began generating oil in reduced quantities last summer and by 2014 should be capable of making 1.5 million gallons of algae crude per year, and 10,000 barrels a day by 2018.

Sapphire and Solazyme are targeting the algae oil market with different strategies. Solazyme grows its algae in sealed fermentation tanks, while Sapphire is cultivating it in the open air on huge plots of acreage. Outdoor ponds might in theory be less expensive, nonetheless they have to deal with the issue of making certain that they don’t get infected and disrupted by exterior factors.

Still another organization perfecting algae fuel is Synthetic Genomics, which is the creation of genomics master Craig Venter. Venter defeated the U.S. government to become the very first to sequence the human genome, as well as directed his team recently to be the first one to create the world’s first artificial microbial cell, referred to as first artificial life form by many people. The scientists constructed an artificial chromosome and introduced it into a living bacterial cell, where by it took over the cell and grew to become a completely new life form.

Synthetic Genomics managed to score a huge, likely $600 million development package with Exxon. Last spring, Synthetic Genomics purchased an 81-acre location in California’s Imperial Valley, close to the Salton Sea, and it intends to scale up and test its algae strains there with 42 open ponds.

Scaling up these unique production facilities and farms requires a huge amount of cash. But they’re necessary as the algae oil must be created at a massive scale to get it inexpensive enough to play competitively with oil.

The expenses without a doubt take a toll on these innovators. Solazyme’s net deficits are increasing, and the business lost $58.52 million for the 9 months ended September 2012, up from a $38.32 million net loss for the very same time period a year earlier. The organization will probably not be profitable for years, and it’s helping fund its manufacturing agreement with ADM with equity. This week Solazyme reported that it plans to sell off $100 million worth of notes to assist it construct its plans.

Here’s my question: Since only small scale algae production is currently viable and realistic, why isn’t research money flowing to this already proven area? Instead of concentrating on what works and bettering that, why are these companies spending 100’s of millions of dollars to create something which hasn’t been proven to work?

Couldn’t 1000 people, with small scale ponds create just as much algae as one company with 1000 ponds?

Either sharing the wealth isn’t in their corporate plans, or small scale algae production just isn’t sexy enough.

California Approves Fuel Made From Algae

California has taken a giant leap forward in mainstreaming algae biofuels by offering it’s approval of a new 20% blend. Last month we saw a successful trial of algae biofuels being sold to consumers at gas stations. This month we see California moving forward and paving the way for successful, wide-spread, distribution.

In Sacramento, California, The Department of Food and Agriculture’s Division of Measurement Standards (DMS) has tested samples of a new 20 percent biodiesel blend fuel made from algae and is happy to report that the fuel is compliant with California’s quality specification for biodiesel blends. The new fuel became available November 13, 2012 at four gas stations in Berkeley, Oakland, Redwood City and San Jose as part of a pilot program.

The algae is not typical pond algae – it is produced specifically to consume sugar and convert it to stored oils that supply energy. The algae is grown in special reaction vessels under very sterile conditions to encourage maximum oil production.

The fuel is 20 percent algae biodiesel blended with low sulfur diesel fuel. Samples were tested to ensure overall high-quality engine performance and to ascertain that exhaust emissions will remain low. The tests were also good indicators that engine deposits and engine wear will be minimal, and that corrosion and filter plugging are reduced – very important factors for fuel used in diesel engines.

When evaluating biodiesel and other fuels, California adheres to standards set by ASTM International and SAE International, which meet the requirements of engine manufacturers worldwide. DMS has a rigorous program of sampling and testing for fuels sold at retail. A 2012 marketplace survey showed 99 percent quality compliance rate in gasoline and 98 percent compliance for diesel.

Persons experiencing problems with quality, quantity or product labeling of fuels or automotive products can contact their local county department of weights and measures or the DMS at 916-229-3000. The DMS website has additional information about petroleum products as well as an online complaint form and links to county weights and measures offices.

What this means to the rest of us.

Basically, California is stealing the show in terms of setting the stage that the rest of the country will follow. They were the first to establish city zoning areas for algae biofuels, the first to establish guidelines, the first to sell algae biofuels publicly, now the first to grant governmental approval. I would also expect some of the first commercialized algae biofuel production centers to start moving to California as well.

This is both good and bad. It’s no secret that while California is no doubt a leader, it also has its own particular way of doing things. Which sometimes fit, and sometimes doesn’t, with the rest of the country. The various law makers being what they are, tend to look at what one state is doing and if seeing no glaring mistakes, adopt the same rules and regulations without much introspection.

On the other hand, implementation has to start somewhere. California is as good a place as any, and better than most. The legal groundwork has to begin. Beginning sooner is better than beginning later. It doesn’t hurt that California has many natural attributes, both in climate and in infrastructure, which make it an ideal place for algae biofuel start ups.

Everyone knows they can certainly use the tax dollars.

(France) Successfully Runs Vehicle on Algae Biodiesel

Libourne—Fermentalg, a commercial biotechnology organization that are experts producing chemical products from microalgae, is going to be introducing a manufacturing design automobile devoid of unique modifications that will works off algae biodiesel on Friday 7 December.

The demonstration to the media is going to be performed at the launching of Fermentalg’s brand-new factories in Libourne attended by President of the Aquitaine Regional Council and Deputy for Gironde to the French National Assembly, Alain Rousset.

Fermentalg has recently profitably made its initial liters of biodiesel.

The 3rd generation biofuel is in accordance with European Standard EN 142141 allowing its retailing in France, along with French federal government standard B72 meaning it is suitable for various other vehicles presently in supply and isn’t controlled by any kind of prohibitions.

Conformity with such specifications was confirmed by a Cofrac3-accredited petrol examination research laboratory.

The initial testing on Fermentalg’s biodiesel have been performed after November utilizing a French manufacture utility vehicle in the presence of a bailiff.

Microalgae-based biofuels may be an exceptionally encouraging 3rd generation answer that provide extremely high yields of lipids, have minimal implications for the natural environment and put virtually no burden on the food market.

In reality, microalgae selectively bred utilizing Fermentalg engineering feed off by-products from the food or chemical industrial sectors.

Generating these types of biofuels does not only lower the petrol expenses, but additionally decrease the amount of greenhouse gas emissions.

As stated by Pierre Calleja, founder and Chairman and CEO of Fermentalg: “Fermentalg has once again earned its place as a leader in the production of chemical compounds from microalgae and as a pioneer in Europe in the production of algae biofuels.

“The resounding success of our first steps in biodiesel confirms the enormous potential of microalgae in the production of 3rd generation biofuels.”