Algae Blooms at CSU and in the Netherlands
Colorado State University and Solix Biofuels Inc. researchers claim to have working algae biofuels technology that is competitive with petro-oil at $150 a barrel--today! They project that in less than 3 years, they should be competitive with $70 to $100 a barrel oil and producing in commercial quantities.
Colorado State University's Engines and Energy Conversion lab and Solix Biofuels Inc. are now much closer to large scale production of the fuel source derived from some of the fastest-growing organisms on the planet.In the Netherlands, Algae-Link has devised a system that is continually harvesting the algae 24 hours a day.
Project leaders say algae is the fuel crop of the future. It can produce 100 times more oil than crops like soybeans....Prof. Bryan Willson showed CBS4 an algae generator at the lab that runs on sunlight and carbon dioxide (a photo-bioreactor system).
"You can see the bubbles. We're bubbling a mixture of air and carbon dioxide," he said. "It's a system we put together to grow algae at very high rates under the conditions we need to accumulate significant amounts of oil." Eventually the algae ends up as a concentrated green paste. Once the water is removed it is roughly about 1/3 oil.
The idea is to build acres of algae generators close to a carbon dioxide source like a power plant or brewery. _CBT
"It's actually like growing tomatoes; the algae need similar things," he says.Algae consumes up to 3 times its own weight in CO2. For most efficient growth, algae blooms must be fed higher concentrations of CO2 than the extremely low levels present in the atmosphere. This suggests locating algal farms close to CO2 producers such as combusion plants, industrial plants, concrete manufacturers, etc.
This crop uses the warmth, light and a steady feed of carbon dioxide and nutrients to reproduce faster than any other plant on earth.
The amount of algae in these tubes can double daily. And that is both the attraction and the problem with algae as a commercial crop.
What Algae-Link's system claims to crack, possibly for the first time, is the problem of clogging. A patented internal cleaning system keeps the set-up harvesting twenty-four hours a day.
Once the cells of the algae are split into their constituent parts (an established science with all biofuel crops but a more secretive part of the process in this case), the green mass can be sold as feed for fish and oyster farms and the vegetable oil can be processed into engine fuel. _CBT