Friday, May 16, 2008

Making Algal Biodiesel Viable

Casa Grande Arizona is the latest focus for the attempt to break through to viability for algal biodiesel. A former agricultural think tank, XL renewables is entering the algal biodiesel R&D fray in an attempt to be the first to cash in on this potentially high-yield biofuel.
"Algae biomass can produce substantially more volume per acre than any other crop and meet the increasing demand for renewable energy and food," Cloud said. "Algae biomass has the potential to add significant volumes of oils, proteins and carbohydrates to world markets for energy and food."

Work continues at the algae center in Casa Grande, where the company has a patent pending on the XL Super Trough it developed here. The Super Trough is expected to go into production on a full-sized, 40-acre plot here in November, a size XL officials consider ideal for algae biomass production.

"It's an actual site so we can demonstrate, running it at a commercial level," Cloud explained. "We expect farmers will take the 40-acre size" and operate multiple-trough fields. Visitors from around the world are expected for a November field day at the site. Eventually, the company hopes to sell the system to farmers for commercial production and wants to begin delivery by January. Installation costs should be about $25,000 per acre.

XL says the Super Trough will enable algae biomass producers to extract three primary products from the algae: high-grade oil for biofuel production, fatty acids for omega and edible oils, and animal feed high in protein. __zwire_via_checkbiotech
As stated previously at Al Fin, current algal biodiesel costs run about $20 a gallon. XL is trying to maximise the yield of its algal crop--to utilise all the products, not just the biodiesel component. By finding a market for products and byproducts of biofuels production, manufacturers have a better chance of operating profitably.

That ability to market by-products is something that most people ignore when calculating the EROI and profitability of biofuels manufacture.

Update 19May08: More information about the Casa Grande plan.
The XL Super Trough uses a miniature greenhouse-type process to produce the algae in laser-leveled, 18-inch-deep, 1,250-foot-long troughs.

Mechanized equipment installs specially designed plastic liner sheets with integrated aeration and lighting systems along 6-foot-wide troughs. An optional plastic sheet called "mulch" can be installed on top of the trough to make it a closed system and increase algae production during cooler temperatures.

There are no moving parts, and the only connection points are at the ends of the troughs. Fortified water is pumped clear through the 40-acre field in 24 hours at a rate of 2,000 gallons per minute. Half of the flow - 1,000 gallons per minute - is then diverted into the harvest system, and 950 gallons of that is recirculated into the fields. Fifty gallons of algae concentrate is pumped into harvesting and can be transported to a central processing plant. __Checkbiotech

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts