Thursday, September 04, 2008

Algae to Jet Fuel, Seawater to Oil Recovery

Arizona State University researchers Hu and Sommerfeld are taking their research on converting algal oil to kerosene (jet fuel) to the commercial level with $3 million in research--via a spinoff company called Heliae Development.
This biofuel project will focus on the commercial production of kerosene from algae using patented technologies developed by Professors Qiang Hu and Milton Sommerfeld at ASU’s Laboratory for Algae Research & Biotechnology. The research efforts of Hu and Sommerfeld in algal-based biofuels and biomaterials have already moved from the laboratory to field pilot-scale demonstration and production.

Hu and Sommerfeld have identified specific algal strains that can convert a significant portion of their cellular mass into oil comprising a group of medium-chain (C10–C14) fatty acids which, after deoxygenation treatment, closely mirrors the length of the hydrocarbon chains found in kerosene.

Kerosene, when mixed with minor amounts of fuel additives, is known as JP8 or Jet A, suitable for use in jet aviation applications. A competitive advantage of the medium-chain fatty acid-based kerosene production is elimination of an expensive chemical or thermal cracking process, which is otherwise necessary for long-chain fatty acids commonly found in animal fat, vegetable oils, and typical algae oils. _GCC_via_NextEnergyNews
In other news, a modified form of seawater may allow increased oil recoveries from limestone reservoirs by up to 60%.
Researchers at the University of Stavanger in Norway report that injecting a modified seawater fluid—“smart water”—into limestone oil reservoirs for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) could help boost oil extraction from those reservoirs by as much as 60%. Their findings are scheduled for the 10 September issue of the ACS journal Energy & Fuels.

In the study, Tor Austad and colleagues note that more than 50% of the world’s oil reserves are trapped in oil reservoirs composed of calcium carbonate, rocks that include chalk and limestone. The average oil recovery from carbonates is generally lower than for sandstone reservoirs.....

Increased oil recovery means more reserves, and a longer period of time before "peak oil"

Oil prices are already high enough to slow demand for oil in developed countries without subsidies. Prices are also high enough to stimulate the development of alternative fuels and energy technologies. That is simple market economics, which peak oil doomsters are clearly unschooled in. But it may be the stimulation of new technology for oil discovery, recovery, and utilisation efficiencies that break the back of the doomer alarmist grifters and scam artists.

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