Sunday, January 15, 2012

Is Origin Oil Finally Beginning to Understand Algal Energy Timeline?

Al Fin energy analysts have been telling algal fuels companies about the preferred and viable sequence of product production for some years now. Is it possible that top algal fuels company, Origin Oil, is finally beginning to listen? More on this possibility from a news release:
OriginOil’s planned Biocrude System™ will integrate its own harvesting system with state-of-the-art biomass processing technology being developed under the recently-announced research agreement with INL, to convert raw algae into barrels of renewable crude oil.

...Dr. Deborah T. Newby, Project Manager at DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL) commented, “We are excited to work with OriginOil on its Biocrude System and leverage its algae processing expertise and technology. Algae is a high energy biomass and can function as a force multiplier to blend in other biomass waste such as from forestry and agriculture into a uniform renewable crude oil substitute. This may well support the U.S. military’s strategic fuels diversification program.” _Origin Oil News Dept._via_GCC
It is not clear why it is taking leading algal fuels startups so long to understand the evolving economics of their own industry.

Origin Oil's algal oil technology is quite advanced and state-of-the-art, but it is not ready to produce barrels of oil in high volume -- more like beakers of oil. The shale gas revolution has likewise been very unkind to the prospects for pure algal oil fuels in the marketplace, anytime soon.

Clearly if algal fuels companies are to impact the fuels market -- as opposed to markets for omega 3 oils and vegetable oils -- they will need a fast and dirty approach. Something like algal biomass pyrolysis with integrated hydrodeoxygenation and hydrotreatment (IH2). Which is what Al Fin energy analysts have been pushing for years now.

Pyrolysis of algal biomass is more logical than gasification, since some of the existing lipid in the algae might be condensed from the pyrolysis gases. With gasification, by contrast, everything is broken down to H2, CO, and spare change -- forcing you to start from scratch in synthesising what you want.

Is Origin Oil beginning to wise up to short to medium-term economic exigencies? We hope so. With the US military backing algal fuels producers and expecting a return on investment, they had better get on the ball.

More on the global project to expand biomass production beyond what is traditionally thought possible

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Blogger Whirlwind22 said...

Do you forsee algae oil ever being produced in massive quantities beyond a certain niche market?

7:42 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

Yes, eventually. Both micro-algae and macro-algae are likely to become very useful as feedstocks for a wide range of industrial uses.

Genengineered micro-algae will find many uses as bioreactors both alone and symbiotically with other organisms.

8:52 AM  

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