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Small Scale vs. Large Scale Algae Biofuels Cultivation

Small Scale vs. Large Scale Algae Bio fuels ProjectsSmall Scale vs. Large Scale Algae Bio fuels Projects

I was talking to a consultant for Exxon algae bio fuels program. (Remember these are the guys that sank 600 million dollars into algae biofuel research.) We were talking about the difference between small scale cultivation and large scale.

“Just because you can brew beer in your basement doesn’t mean you compete with Budweiser.” And “If you can’t grow a small amount of algae first, you won’t be able to grow a large amount either.” And still another…

“If you are not running enough tests that are really failing, then you are not doing your job…we fail all the time. You’ve got to fail first in order to succeed. It sucks, it hurts, it does damage to your ego.  But it’s the only way to hit home runs the next time.”

Wise words.

So many people seem to be caught up in the fantasy of large scale production and being the next J. Paul Getty that they overlook what actually works. Then they fail miserably, and blame the entire world.

Large scale, commercial scale, algae oil production is not reality at this point in time.  (There are some BIG small scale projects though) It is a pass time for the big boys only. If Exxon with 600 million dollars can’t do it, it’s time for a re-think.

Some people want to immediately jump into the deep end of the pool, investing time, and money without first checking how deep the water is. There are complexities at commercial scale which can’t be envisioned. It’s not a matter of “simply scaling up small scale.”

Only small scale is real world, right here, right now. It has been proven over and over, by thousands of people, all over the world. (Most of them used my books)

The thing to keep in mind is the applications for small scale are endless. You don’t have to be Exxon, or have 600 million dollars to make money in algae.

For example, I hear from..

  • Trucking companies wanting to make small scale algae biodiesel “bio refineries” to services their fleets.
  • Green houses looking to offset their utility costs as well as use organic fertilizer.
  • Aquaculture and fish farmers, looking to offset fish feed costs.
  • Farmers wanting to slash their fuel/fertilizer/animal feed costs.
  • Survivalists wanting an “all in one solution” for when they head to the hills.
  • Health food enthusiasts who can’t say enough about the benefits of adding algae to their diets.
  • Cancer survivors who credit their survival to algae.
  • Cosmologists and dermatologists who swear by algae as a skin treatment.
  • People from all walks of life who have used algae to fight obesity, diabetes, ulcers, and arthritis, to name a few.

Small scale, localized algae production are becoming more and more a reality.

I have it from a number of good sources that small scale, pre-fab home units will be hitting the market soon. When they do, I’ll review them and post my results here.

Having said that, there’s research going on at a break-neck pace, in this country, as well as others,  trying to bring large scale algae bio fuel production on line.

This isn’t to say commercial scale algae bio refineries are way off into the distant future, they aren’t. AlgaeTec, along with OriginOil, just inked a deal to build the first commercial scale plant in Australia.

  • The US Army is researching ways of utilizing mobile battlefield algae “bio refineries” to shorten fuel supply lines. Think “MASH” units for biofuels.
  • The US Navy wants to employ algae biorefineries on ships so that they create their own fuel at sea.
  • Towns and cities are starting to see the benefit of having localized fuel production in their districts and creating zoning specifically for them.
  • The airlines are also moving into algae in a big way. Asiana Airline landed a jet at LAX powered by Algae jet fuel.
  • As I write this Sapphire Energy issued a press release saying “first Phase testing” of their “green Crude Farm” has been completed on time and under budget.

Speaking of MASH units, here’s Alan Alda “Hawkeye Pierce” of the television show “MASH” extolling the virtues of algae and drinking it at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

[youtube width=”500″ height=”300″]EnOSnJJSP5c[/youtube]

There is nothing wrong with thinking big. But big accomplishments are made by taking small steps. Find out how you can start taking steps to lowering your bills, improving your health, or making money with algae.