Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Quest for Algal Fuels Continues: More Halophytes

Algae biofuels are likely to revolutionise fuels for aircraft and the maritime industry. Most large research groups are aiming for a big impact by algal fuels by the year 2030.

Small breakthroughs in algal fuels are occurring on a routine basis, in labs around the world. Whether the project aims to produce diesel, jet fuel, biomass-from-algae, cosmetics, or foods and nutraceuticals -- every algae growing project wants to achieve high efficiencies and potential profits. Algae grower BioMarine Fuels is forming a partnership with Fluid Imaging Technologies Inc., to use Fluid Imaging's FlowCAM imaging technology for real-time monitoring of algal bioreactors.
The FlowCAM, which combines rapid digital imaging with microscopy, will monitor performance of BioMarine Fuels’ SolarMagnatron, an algae biomass reactor that efficiently propagates lipid-containing algae to be processed into biodiesel and other high market value bio-fuels and chemicals....

...“The FlowCAM was originally developed for algal analysis, so it is optimally suited to serve in this burgeoning, global market. What’s more, it is rewarding for Fluid Imaging to participate as part of an environmentally friendly solution to the growing problem of fossil fuel shortages and excessive carbon emissions, in that algae actually sequesters carbon as part of its life cycle to produce an oil content known as lipids,” commented Peterson.

BioMarine Fuels’ SolarMagnatron photobioreactor essentially introduces carbon dioxide, sunlight, artificial sunlight, and microwave energy into a completely controlled 4,000 gallon (1 US gallon = 3.8 cubic decimetres) seawater containment vessel containing energy-rich micro-algae. The system stimulates rapid cell division and will produce high quantities of algal biomass for refinement into biofuels and other valuable chemicals like Omega 3. The FlowCAM, which has been used to rapidly image, count and characterize microorganisms in aquatic research since 1999, will provide real-time images and data on the size and concentration of the algae in the bioreactor.

The SolarMagnatron™ incorporates many new innovations, most notably a proprietary electromagnetic field technology. Electromagnetic energy of a specific resonance has been demonstrated by leading scientists to accelerate algae reproduction (mitoses) by up to 300%. The combined technologies are called the Symbiotic Energy System (SES). _RenewableEnergyMag
Real-time monitoring of algal production at the microscopic scale will allow BioMarine Fuels to tweak its production methods so as to obtain ideal yields for various end-purposes of its algal strains.

Another approach to biofuels that will utilise an aqueous growth environment, is the New Nile Company, which will produce biofuels from aquaculture.
ISAS is an advanced biofuels production model that uses effluent from seawater aquaculture (e.g. fish and shrimp ponds) as a natural fertilizer to cultivate sizable plantations of salicornia, a halophyte (i.e. naturally salt resistant plant) capable of yielding large volumes of high grade vegetable oil for use as a biofuel feedstock.

According to Dr. Carl Hodges, Chairman of The Seawater Foundation and Co-Chairman of Global Seawater, Inc, “Energy Allied International’s expertise in developing large scale energy projects in the Middle East and Africa, tied with The Seawater Foundation’s and Global Seawater, Inc.’s extensive knowledge of developing and operating ISAS models, is a winning combination to ensure the success of the world’s first, commercial scale, seawater-based biofuels project.”

Unlike first-generation biofuels producers which threaten to displace traditional food crops (e.g. corn) due to reliance upon freshwater and nutrient-rich soil, New Nile Co will produce advanced biofuels by applying the ISAS model, which relies exclusively upon the use of untreated seawater and arid, desert and degraded lands that are currently unproductive.

New Nile Co intends to produce tens of millions of litres of biofuels from a fifty thousand hectare (roughly 125,000 acre) project site. Together with Gensler, one of the world’s leading architecture design firms and the project’s lead Planning Advisor, the developers are presently assessing a number of potential site locations situated inland, along the Mediterranean and Red Sea coastlines. _RenewableEnergyMag

The ability to grow abundant biofuels feedstock along arid regions of coastline is a big plus for this approach.

Of course, with algal projects, the feedstock can be grown virtually anywhere as well -- even on the surface of the open ocean.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts