Algae – The Ultimate in Renewable Energy

Algae are among the fastest growing plants in the world, and about 50 percent of their weight is oil. That lipid oil can be used to make biodiesel for cars, trucks, and airplanes.

Most people know algae as “pond scum.” And until recently, most energy research and development projects used ponds to grow it.

“Algae is the ultimate in renewable energy,” Glen Kertz, president and CEO of Valcent Products, told CNN while conducting a tour of his algae greenhouse on the outskirts of El Paso.

But instead of ponds, Valcent uses a closed, vertical system, growing the algae in long rows of moving plastic bags. The patented system is called Vertigro, a joint venture with Canadian alternative energy company Global Green Solutions. The companies have invested about $5 million in the Texas facility.

“By going vertical, you can get a lot more surface area to expose cells to the sunlight. It keeps the algae hanging in the sunlight just long enough to pick up the solar energy they need to produce, to go through photosynthesis,” he said.

Kertz said he can produce about 100,000 gallons of algae oil a year per acre, compared to about 30 gallons per acre from corn; 50 gallons from soybeans.

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Algae in Packaging Industry in 2010

Breakthrough products are enabling manufacturers to make the switch to environmentally responsible, sustainable packaging,” said Frederic Scheer, founder and CEO of Cereplast.  Their  algae-based bioplastics, currently under development, will soon open up a whole new source of feedstock and result in a broad range of new applications.

“Many of the largest retailers have already made in-roads with programs designed to adopt alternative   packaging. A lgae as biomass can be a significant renewable resource and be used as a raw material for biopolymerfeedstock.

“Algae can help close the loop on polluting gases and can be a significant renewable resource,” he said. “Algae-based resins represent an outstanding opportunity for companies across the plastic supply chain to become more environmentally sustainable and reduce the industry’s reliance on oil.”

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Algae the New Oil – 2010 Forecast

The Futurist’s Magazine’s Top 10 forecasts for 2010 says Algae may become the new oil. According to researchers at a Department of Energy plant in New Mexico, single-celled microalgae, grown in pond water, produce a biofuel that is lead-free and biodegradable, emits two-thirds less carbon dioxide and other pollutants than gasoline, and can run any modern diesel engine. Even better, algae require only a fraction of the land area of biofuel-producing crops.

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Microalgae oil prevents Heart attack

DHA-microalgae oil proves to be better source of EPA, when compared to flax seed oil. This isbecause ALA from flax must be converted into DHA then converted into EPA, whereas, DHA from microalgae only has to be converted into EPA. That is one less enzymatic step to go through!In one study, vegetarians that do not have enough EPA and DHA, supplemented with 1 gram of microalgae oil derived DHA per day for eight weeks, and significantly increased their levels of both DHA and EPA (Lipids 40 (8): 807-814).

These results indicate that DHA derived from microalgae is a very good source of DHA and EPA compared to ALA derived from flax oil. Given the fact that DHA from algae oil is an exceedingly better vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids, the question is, does it have the same health benefits as fish oil?

The answer is yes.

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Advanced Biofuel Workshop

BBI International and the 2010 Advanced Biofuels Workshop planning committee welcomes presenters to St. Louis for this convenient one-day workshop on advanced biofuels. More than 400 people are expected to attend to learn about advanced technology updates, algae and second-generation feedstock development, market challenges and trends, R&D activities, policy, finance, project development and more.

Presentation ideas may be related to production, operations, R&D, project development, finance, business, feedstock development, resource analysis, environmental performance or any other topic pertaining to the commercialization of advanced biofuels.   Deadline for submission is January 11, 2010.

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Algae in South Australia

THE U.S. parent company of uranium producer Heathgate Resources has held talks with the State Government over developing a renewable energy fuel in South Australia – from algae.

Premier Mike Rann met for an hour yesterday with Neal Blue, the chief executive officer of General Atomics, which owns the Beverley uranium deposits in SA’s Far North.

Mr Blue said his company was interested in developments in microalgal biofuels in SA because there was huge potential for their use in the future – especially in the aviation industry.

Mr Blue said at least one U.S. commercial airline had already tested biofuels in a passenger flight across America. He said SA was highly placed to develop algal fuels because of its high sunlight, brackish water and carbon dioxide.

Mr Rann said algal biofuel was attractive because of its relatively high oil yield and its efficiency in recycling carbon.

“It is estimated that replacing just 10 per cent of Australia’s mineral diesel with biodiesel from microalgae would bring about a reduction of nearly 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels,” he said.

The Federal Government recently granted $2.7 million to an SA-based consortium to develop a pilot-scale biorefinery for sustainable microalgal biofuels and added products.

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Royal Dutch Shell backs Biofuels

Royal Dutch Shell PLC has roughly doubled its financial support for biofuels start-up Codexis Inc. in the past year, the latest sign that oil companies are slowly and selectively increasing their interest in plants-to-fuels research.

Shell is on pace to spend $60 million in 2009 to fund research at Codexis, nearly twice the amount as the year before, according to regulatory filings. Codexis filed paperwork this week for a $100 initial public offering. The start-up is developing microbes to speed up the chemical reactions that turn inedible plants, such as grasses or stalks, into ethanol and diesel.

Read More: http://bit.ly/91YxFF

Designer Algae for photobiological hydrogen production

Read: http://bit.ly/62eV4V