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Um. Another promise of energy from non-existent bio-diesel. Well, pursue every avenue...
did you see the link about extracting oil from coffee grounds . I like the micro alga grown from waste treatment plant effluent .Low land use , use up waste nutrients ,works with and helps cleanup polluted waste water .since Bush killed the gov. research on this , small entrepreneurs have been moving forward with some very good results . A lot more work needs to be done .
 

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did you see the link about extracting oil from coffee grounds . I like the micro alga grown from waste treatment plant effluent .Low land use , use up waste nutrients ,works with and helps cleanup polluted waste water .since Bush killed the gov. research on this , small entrepreneurs have been moving forward with some very good results . A lot more work needs to be done .
Bush didn't kill research on anything - he hadn't the authority. Funding is an issue for Congress. He was a potato head and so is the current imposter in chief, but blaming the President (any of them) for things like that neither relevant to the dialog nor constructive.

There are some very promising bio-techniques for converting sunlight into stored liquid energy - but I believe that ultimately such processes will be moot. Why use a bio-process to convert sunlight with the possibility that a mutation might get loose into the ecosphere and wreak havoc when there is no advantage in cost nor efficiency?

Ultimately there is only so much sunlight hitting the earth; the only question is how efficiently we can harvest and store it. Nanoantennas have over an 80% efficiency in converting sunlight (and are tunable to a target spectrum, such as infra-red), and as the linked article shows 1/2 of the problem of manufacturing useful ones inexpensively has been solved. Batteries are improving over 3% per year, and it is simply a matter of time before they exceed the capabilities of gasoline / diesel fuel without the hazards.

Biofuels will fill a small niche for a short while, and while they do most of those solutions will impose a penalty on food prices as their feed stocks compete between those who want to eat them and those who want to turn them into fuel. Ultimately they will prove to be a technology that never really mattered, IMHO.
 

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Bush didn't kill research on anything - he hadn't the authority. Funding is an issue for Congress. He was a potato head and so is the current imposter in chief, but blaming the President (any of them) for things like that neither relevant to the dialog nor constructive.

There are some very promising bio-techniques for converting sunlight into stored liquid energy - but I believe that ultimately such processes will be moot. Why use a bio-process to convert sunlight with the possibility that a mutation might get loose into the ecosphere and wreak havoc when there is no advantage in cost nor efficiency?

Ultimately there is only so much sunlight hitting the earth; the only question is how efficiently we can harvest and store it. Nanoantennas have over an 80% efficiency in converting sunlight (and are tunable to a target spectrum, such as infra-red), and as the linked article shows 1/2 of the problem of manufacturing useful ones inexpensively has been solved. Batteries are improving over 3% per year, and it is simply a matter of time before they exceed the capabilities of gasoline / diesel fuel without the hazards.

Biofuels will fill a small niche for a short while, and while they do most of those solutions will impose a penalty on food prices as their feed stocks compete between those who want to eat them and those who want to turn them into fuel. Ultimately they will prove to be a technology that never really mattered, IMHO.
it was called Aquatic Species Program started under Carter ended under Reagan and Bush . Funded buy DOE , head of which is appointed buy the President . 3000 species isolated no genetic research . As I remember the reason for defunding was it's not a 100% solution to petroleum .Head of DOE serves at the pleasure of the President . No ? Don't all our imposter's in chief's work the big power ! Like Carter when The Shaw of Iran said loaded oil tankers were setting off his port during the oil crises , Carter said ; it would be easy to blame the oil corps. but we are not going to do that .ps;, eating pond scum fertilized by human and live stock waste ,umm ,not much to do with food.
 

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it was called Aquatic Species Program started under Carter ended under Reagan and Bush . Funded buy DOE , head of which is appointed buy the President . 3000 species isolated no genetic research . As I remember the reason for defunding was it's not a 100% solution to petroleum .Head of DOE serves at the pleasure of the President . No ? Don't all our imposter's in chief's work the big power ! Like Carter when The Shaw of Iran said loaded oil tankers were setting off his port during the oil crises , Carter said ; it would be easy to blame the oil corps. but we are not going to do that .ps;, eating pond scum fertilized by human and live stock waste ,umm ,not much to do with food.
So, under Carter and Clinton no actual research got done, and Bush ended the research that never happened?

:D

The DOE is on my list of "Biggest Government Fails" - an utter scam wasting billions of dollars every year to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. A kindergartner could tell the President the answer to this - Drill, baby, Drill!
 

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So, under Carter and Clinton no actual research got done, and Bush ended the research that never happened?

:D

The DOE is on my list of "Biggest Government Fails" - an utter scam wasting billions of dollars every year to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. A kindergartner could tell the President the answer to this - Drill, baby, Drill!
I'm wasting my time
 

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it was called Aquatic Species Program started under Carter ended under Reagan and Bush . Funded buy DOE , head of which is appointed buy the President . 3000 species isolated no genetic research .
Sorry I meant this ^
 

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No one has been able to make oil from Algae except in a lab test tube. There is no feasible commercial way to produce oil from Algae unless you are willing to pay $100 per gallon grown in lab conditions.
 

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it was called Aquatic Species Program started under Carter ended under Reagan and Bush .
That is completely inaccurate. The NREL Aquatic Species Program started in 1978 under the Carter Administration and de-funded in 1996 under the Clinton Administration. Bush and Reagan had nothing to do with it. The funding was pulled by the DOE to concentrate development of ethanol.

Since that time in 2007 (Bush II Administration) NREL has restarted the program with funding provided by Chevron.

Source Here.
NREL Report Here
 

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Hi Sunking

No one has been able to make oil from Algae except in a lab test tube. There is no feasible commercial way to produce oil from Algae unless you are willing to pay $100 per gallon grown in lab conditions.

There was pilot plant in Christchurch - not sure about after the earthquake! -

The break even cost was high - but nothing like $100/gallon
 

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most of the oil we burn today came from pond alga . It didn't take millions of years to turn it to oil , the common misconception . The oil itself was made in days and weeks and when the alga died , fell to the bottom of the pond most of which was rotted away , some very small % survived to become a crude . check out biodieselnow.com forums on alga . some alga are 50% oil content . still a long way to go but it's been going on for billions of years . After all farming is kind of important to modern life . it's not to hard to imagine some system , closed (covered) but in the future open ponds giving thousands gallons per acre .
 

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check out biodieselnow.com forums on alga . some alga are 50% oil content . still a long way to go but it's been going on for billions of years . .
Been a member there for years, and Alagal Biodeisel is a dead subject, no economic way to produce it, just a lab science project. Not one single drop of commercial algal biodeisel has ever been made. Only people in the business there are whacko's like Marc Cardoso of Ecogenics Spamming the site peddling his worthless junk and algae spores.
 

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No one has been able to make oil from Algae except in a lab test tube. There is no feasible commercial way to produce oil from Algae unless you are willing to pay $100 per gallon grown in lab conditions.
Worse is the possibility that such algae escape the lab. One viable airborne cell might be enough - and we would start seeing "oil blooms" around the world. Although such strains are designed not to be viable out of the lab (as much to protect profits as to protect the environment), we have already seen examples of how a mutation of a "good" strain of flora/fauna becomes a nightmare out in the open.

I'm not against the research, nor even against carefully controlled trials and even working plants. I just don't see this avenue as a long term solution.
 

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Popular Mechanics article about 5 biofuel hopefuls from a year ago.

#1 - "$850 million committed to build algae farm that sells ethanol fuel for $3 per gallon."

Since ethanol has less energy per gallon, that's really more like $4/gallon - before gas taxes. There's $850 million down the desert...

#2 - "Once the cultures are fully grown, their oil is extracted through the use of chemical solvents like benzene or ether."

In other words, it takes fuel to make fuel?

#3 - Big promises, no details.

#4 - "Solazyme plans to supply 400,000 gallons of fuel to the Air Force and 190,000 gallons to the U.S. Navy 1500 gallons of jet fuel for the U.S. Navy by 2010."
...
"Solazyme claims that it is on track to produce over 20,000 gallons of fuel for the Navy by 2010."

Looks like the Air Force gets shafted again. Does anyone else besides me notice a problem with this not too cleverly disguised marketing spin? (Hey - we got the Navy 4 times what we promised! Oops, we didn't get the AF anything...)

#5 - "Seambiotic grows microalgal cultures in open ponds using flue gases like carbon dioxide and nitrogen from a nearby coal plant as feedstocks."

... and what happens when we stop using coal???


The big picture, of course, is which technology can replace our needs for both economical portable power economically and generation of source power that eliminates our creation of noxious gasses. Power generation, and portable storage, both clean and cheap. They don't have to be the same solution, and probably won't be. But based on current understanding of the efficiencies of Chlorophyll, a bio-answer doesn't seem promising in the long haul.
 

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My sister and I did some moderate research into the idea of biodiesel and we discovered a lot of those problems. There are libraries of cultures that can be purchased from various sources around the world (university of texas was one of them I think). These are not specifically intended for biodiesel research, but rather generic stocks for general research so if you are able to get samples (usually runs close to $200 for each one) its entirely up to you to find a species that works.

Doubling rate, lipid concentration (by weight) and lipid extraction are the 3 primary obstacles in the idea.

Doubling rate is simply how fast it can grow. Generally high doubling rate strains are not very high lipid concentration. High lipid strains don't grow very fast. Bio engineering is one possible answer, but like Phantom already pointed out, this becomes a serious problem as a potential "bio hazard". Maybe thats a little harsh, but there are well documented examples of what can happen when the natural balance is thrown off by an introduced species.

Ultimately we figured the oil extraction process was the biggest problem. There are two basic ways to rupture the cell wall of the plant so the lipid can be released; chemical extraction which dissolved the cell membrane, and mechanical extraction which breaks it with brute force. This is where the total energy budget of the process starts to rear it's ugly head. More importantly, this has a direct result on the final efficiency in terms of how much energy you need to put into the bio reactor, to get a given amount of energy out in the form of a refined fuel thats ready to burn.

Chemical extraction (again, like phantom points out) is by far the most common way it's done and we discovered that even food grade cooking oils often used this method:eek:. Chemicals used are basically refined out of crude oil so its not exactly an "eco" solution but they are reused and separated from the oil so in *theory* none of it needs to get in the final product (prove them wrong). Cyclohexane was the chemical we found to be used in many cases and was capable of stripping well into the high 90s for oil separation efficiency. Since this is a byproduct of refining crude oil I had to admit this was one way to make the process economical even though neither one of us liked it.

The lower the lipid content of the strain you are using, the more important this efficiency becomes.
Using a press was simple enough in concept but not very efficient and a lot of oil gets left behind in the "husk". Centrifuge was better but all this takes energy and I started to wonder just how cost effective this would be. Finding the equipment that could work for that also proved to be a challenge - no one seemed to have anything designed for this application. Ultrasonic was another idea that was even more experimental. OK, so what about using a solar plant to power the bio reactor? In essence this would now turn almost any diesel engine into a solar powered vehicle and possibly solve the energy budget issue. Things started getting complicated in a hurry.

Then there was the problem of feeding the algae since raw CO2 is not enough by itself to grow the stuff. The further we got into the idea, the more we realized just how hard it would be. Eventually we gave up. A year ago my sister had the chance to talk face to face with a biologist that had worked on the idea personally and without trying to discourage her, she basically said there is no easy answer (and likely had given up already). As it turns out even people with much more experience and resources at their disposal than we had, already came to the same conclusion. I guess that was some consolation for us.

Aeroscott does bring up an interesting point we discovered in our research. I agree that most of our crude oil reserves did NOT in fact come from generic dead plants and animals as is popularly assumed. Most of the oil came from plant matter and primarily from algae in it's various forms around the world including phytoplankton. This doesn't really solve the issue of biodiesel but it for me was the last straw in the idea of peak oil myth.

Simply put, any ocean floor can potentially be holding vast oil reserves for this reason. Why else would the russians want to claim the north pole as their own? Even though it's never been thoroughly explored, many know full well that there is likely to be a great deal of resources up there under the frigid waters. It's not exactly a comforting thought because even as a climate skeptic, I fully admit there are good reasons to diversify the energy economy of the world. And more to the point, de - centralize the global energy supply as well as the political power that comes with it.

I see nothing wrong with researching new ideas that could reduce oil dependency, but sometimes the desire to reach that goal has a way of clouding better judgement. I don't know if algae qualifies as a misguided effort yet but ideas like fuel cells certainly do in my view and yet vast amounts of research are still poured into an idea that has failed 30 years ago. Electric cars worked 100 years ago and they work even better today with more advances happening right now.

Biofuels from what would otherwise have been food crops are another good example of a failed idea under the pretence of being low carbon or green.
The MPGs are lower, the low carbon status (if that's your thing;)) is dubious at best, the costs are higher, and worst of all this drove world food prices high enough to cause starvation the 3rd world to get significantly worse.

There is still a lot of potential though. Since Algae doesn't need prime farmland it can be cultivated in places that do not affect the supply of food. Also since its a nearly perfect balance of nutrition, it can be used as a high volume, low cost livestock feed to further free up farmland for direct food crops instead of indirect (ie, feeding cows). But as a biofuel, I don't see an answer anytime soon.
 

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not worth my time . later.
Likely because cannot support your opinion and idealism on facts. You already tried to blame it on Reagan and Bush who had nothing to do with it.

I know of a few scientist, some of which you may have encountered over on the biodeisel forum. They have all moved on from algal oil simply because they cannot improve on what work has already been done and given up on in 1996 when the program was stopped by the DOE. Algal oil has an extremely net negative energy ratio and too costly to produce. There is no way to grow it on a large scale. It has to be done in a sterile closed loop system (lab) pumping tons of energy into it to make it grow, and pour tons of energy into it to refine it.

It is just like a hydrogen economy where the fuel produced at best case only has a 5% effeciency and will always be in competition with the source fuel at many multiples higher than the source fuel.

It is like this I can sell you 1 Kwh for 10-cents in the form of electricity from my power plant, or my competitor can sell you 1 Kwh for $2 in the form of hydrogen at his plant. I know which product and company I am buying into, and I know who is going out of business today...
 
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