Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Algal Fuels, CO2 Into Fuel, etc.

A joint project between GreenFuel and Aurantia in Spain may be one of the first working commercial scale algae biofuels operations.
"We believe algae hold great promise for Spain as they can be harvested daily, rather than seasonally, use water very efficiently and do not require arable land like other crops," Rafael Naranjo, Aurantia Group's chief executive and chairman, said in a statement.

GreenFuel Technologies Corp. said it has successfully grown a variety of naturally occurring algae strains in Jerez using Holcim flue gases. The second phase of the project began with the successful inoculation and subsequent harvests of a prototype vertical thin-film algae-solar bioreactor.

The next phase involves building algae greenhouses and harvesting facilities. _Forbes
Meanwhile, California company Carbon Sciences says it has developed a viable way of producing renewable fuels "directly" from CO2.
The company says its "C02-to-Fuel" technology uses CO2 to create ethane, propane and methane, three run-of-the mill hydrocarbons used to make high-grade gasoline and other fuels. The key to the process is biocatalysis, a process where natural catalysts are used to perform chemical reactions. Biocatalysis is a more energy efficient and cost-effective way to break down CO2, making the possibility of a large-scale ramp up economically feasible.

The approach uses a low energy biocatalytic hydrolysis process that splits water molecules into hydrogen atoms and hydroxide ions, says Dr. Naveed Aslam, the company's chief technology officer and inventor of the process. The hydrogen is used to create hydrocarbons, while the free electrons in the hydroxide are used to fuel the biocatalytic process, he says. The process "is based on natural organic chemistry processes that occur in all living organisms where carbon atoms, extracted from CO2, and hydrogen atoms extracted from H2O, are combined to create hydrocarbon molecules using biocatalysts and small amounts of energy."

As for collecting the CO2, Carbon Sciences won't just erect a big filter in the sky and hope for the best. The idea is to set up shop alongside oil refineries and and coal plants and capture the CO2 such facilities generate.

Carbon Sciences isn't the only outfit seeking viable ways to recycle carbon dioxide. Scientists at Sandia National Laboratory have developed a way to use sunlight to convert CO2 into fuel. Newcastle University researchers can use CO2 to create chemical compounds called cyclic carbonates. The compounds are used in many solvents and also could be used as an additive to make gasoline burn more efficiently. _Wired
And be sure to check out yesterday's post at New Energy and Fuel, about the Italian Gasification project that may open the door to more efficient synfuel from gasification. A very nice elaboration by Brian Westenhaus.

I suspect that Mr. Fin would not think much of either of these new ventures. He would say, "wait and see what happens."

While I don't have the broad range of training and experience of a Mr. Al Fin, I do read very widely and have superior intelligence. I suspect that these ventures might be able to produce small amounts of fuel at a price several times higher than you would pay at the fuel pump. It is the idea they are peddling. Promises are easy, delivering the goods is hard.

That's the difference between a market economy and a political system. Politicians can promise anything the people want, and as long as voters believe the promises long enough to elect the politico, the politician is happy, for a while. Politics is the art of deceiving the voters. Those who survive the game for long periods of time have learned to maintain the deception, or have coopted public information sources to prostitute themselves for special favors.

In a market economy, a company must supply a product in a timely fashion and at a cost the customers are willing to pay.

Alice Finkel

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts