$1.3 billion for 19 Biorefinery projects

Among the top grantees are California’s BlueFire Ethanol Fuels and Sapphire Energy. BlueFire will receive increased funding of $81 million to aid construction of its Fulton, Mississippi ethanol facility.

The plant produces ethanol fuel from woody biomass, mill residue, and assorted municipal solid waste. Once complete, the facility will have the capacity to produce 19 million gallons of ethanol per year.

Sapphire Energy won a $50 million grant to support its work in Columbus, New Mexico, where it will cultivate algae in ponds that will ultimately be converted into green fuels, such as jet fuel and diesel. Ineos New Planet BioEnergy and Montréal’s Enerkem will also receive $50 million each.

The Ineos New Planet BioEnergy project will produce ethanol and electricity from wood, vegetative residues, and construction and demolition materials. Its Vero Beach, Florida facility will combine biomass gasification and fermentation and is slated to have the capacity to produce 8 million gallons of ethanol and 2 megawatts of electricity per year by the end of 2011.

Heating oil industry makeover

Many farmers have started to grow a “next-generation biofuel” like algae. In fact, many are talking up algae as a major potential source of energy; some have forecasted that algae could produce 5,000 gallons of biodiesel per acre, a much higher rate of return than other biofuels. If algae does become a primary energy source, this would almost certainly have an effect on heating oil. Many states, as well as the industry’s major trade group, will require heating oil to have a percentage of biofuel in its mix.

Bio fuels can change the scene in the heating oil industry.

Read More: http://bit.ly/2gj8oM

Processes to produce biodiesel/fueloil

In Italy….

More: http://bit.ly/8sXSFK

Exxon to spend more than $600m on Algae

ExxonMobil believes that biofuels from photosynthetic algae could someday play an important role in meeting the world’s growing need for transportation fuels, while also reducing CO2 emissions.

In July 2009, we announced a significant new project to research and develop algae biofuels. Our partner is Synthetic Genomics Inc (SGI), a California-based biotech firm founded by genome research pioneer Dr. J. Craig Venter.

The goal of the program: to produce a commercially scalable, renewable algae-based fuel compatible with today’s gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

Why algae? Scientists already know that certain algae naturally produce oils similar to the petroleum products we use today.

If commercial quantities of these algae-based oils could be developed, they could avoid the need to build the extensive new delivery infrastructure that some other alternative transportation fuels might require.

Algae-based biofuels have potential environmental advantages. Through photosynthesis, algae absorb CO2 – the main greenhouse gas – and convert it to useful products, like oils and oxygen. As a result, fuels made from algae could reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Algae-based biofuels likely would not impact the global food supply. While biofuels made from plants like corn and sugar cane are an expanding energy source, they require fertile land and fresh water; algae can be grown using land and water unsuitable for plant or food production.

Algae also could yield between three and eight times more biofuel per acre compared to other biofuel sources. Getting these algae fuels from the lab to broad, commercial scale at the local gas station will be a tremendous undertaking – and could require decades of work.

It is an exciting project that brings together SGI’s expertise in genomics, synthetic biology, microbiology and biochemistry; and ExxonMobil’s expertise in transportation fuels and the development of technologies and systems needed to increase scale from concept phase to large-scale manufacturing.

ExxonMobil expects to spend more than $600 million on this project if research and development milestones are met. ExxonMobil’s investment in algae-based fuels is just one part of our commitment to the breakthrough technologies and integrated solutions that will be needed to address rising demand for transportation fuels and other long-term challenges illustrated in our Outlook for Energy.

Source: http://bit.ly/5IeoJu

Sapphire Energy gets $104.5 m to develop Green Crude

Sapphire Energy has been awarded a $104.5-million Recovery Act grant to continue its algae fuel research. The grant awarded comes from the Biorefinery Assistance Program, authorized through the 2008 Farm Bill. The San Diego-based company will use the grant to construct an “Integrated Algal Biorefinery” facility in Luna County, N.M. Sapphire Energy is working to develop “green crude” – or algae biofuel – that can be used as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel

More: http://bit.ly/6cEyLc

Investing in Algae to biofuel

Hundreds of millions of years ago, the earth was covered with shallow oceans filled with algae and other simple critters.

As landmasses shifted and grew, water was displaced, leaving thick masses of algal residue that were eventually buried and compressed.

Skip forward a few eons, throw in some heat and pressure and ta-da! Oil.

Then, in 1859, Colonel Drake drilled the first oil well in Titusville, PA, unleashing not only oil but an economic juggernaut that would dictate our way of life for years to come.

The world began to use oil for everything from fuel to waterproofing, and since then has consumed over a trillion barrels. With such furious consumption — and no way to make more — world oil reserves are set to dwindle.

Essentially, we’re going to deplete in less than 300 years what took hundreds of millions of years to form. And with the depletion of oil, alternatives are destined to emerge.

And ironically. . . algae is one of them.

Biofuel Bliss:

Research like that being done at the Colorado State University’s (CSU), Engines and Energy Conservation Laboratory and the University of New Hampshire (UNH), suggests that algae could supply enough fuel to meet all of America’s transportation needs in the form of biodiesel.

That’s right . . . all of it.

Whereas with our current biodiesel feedstocks, like soy and palm, there’s no way we could grow enough to supply all of our transportation needs.

In fact, it would actually require twice the land area of the United States devoted to soybean production to meet current heating and transportation needs.

That’s a lot of beans!

Algae, on the other hand, could supply all U.S. diesel power using a mere 0.2% of the nation’s land.

In fact, enough algae can be grown to replace all transportation fuels in the U.S. on only 15,000 square miles, or 9.6 million acres of land.

That’s about the size of the state of Maryland.

Granted, that still may sound like a lot of land. . . but consider that we now use 938 million acres for farmland in the U.S.

I’d show you a pie chart of how much land would be required for algae growth — but the slice is so tiny, it wouldn’t even be visible.

So now the question is, how the heck can you make so much biodiesel from such a small amount of algae?

Well, let’s revert back to ninth-grade science class for a moment. . .

Biofuels are really a form of solar energy. Because crops convert solar energy into chemical energy in a process called (anyone? anyone?). . . photosynthesis.

It’s this chemical energy, in the form of oils, that we need to produce biofuels.

According to the UNH report, the more efficient a particular plant is at converting solar energy into chemical energy, the better it is from a biofuels perspective.

So in this area, algae’s the clear winner.

In fact, algae does this so well that up to 50% of its body weight can be fat, or the oil needed to make biodiesel.

That makes algae the highest-yielding feedstock for biodiesel, producing 24 times more oil per acre, on average, than the next leading feedstock — palm oil at 635 gallons/acre/year:

And some companies have far surpassed the 15,000 gallon per acre-accepted benchmark.

In fact, one company can produce 180,000 gallons of biodiesel every year from just one acre of algae. That comes to about 4,000 barrels, at a cost of $25 per barrel or $.59 per gallon.

To put that in perspective, it takes 3,750 acres of soy to make the same amount of biodiesel at a cost of about $2.50 per gallon for 4,000 barrels.

So, how is this going to be done?

Algae Profits Bloom:

It is possible to use human sewage and wastewater from agricultural endeavors to enhance the growth of algae.

In fact, when done right, algae can double and even triple overnight with the addition of these fertilizers.

Compare that to the five-month growing season for soy or canola!

Plus, as algae absorbs Co2 from the air as it grows. MIT has even fed emissions from their on-site power plant directly to algae being cultivated for biofuel production.

In addition, fertilizer for other food crops can be produced by using the leftover nutrients that aren’t used to make the biofuel.

That’s like having your algae and eating it too.

So let’s back up and look at the big picture. . .

We have the technology right now to cultivate algae that can be used as fuel, using human and animal waste as fertilizer.

This is waste that would otherwise need to be treated, or it will end up in our nation’s groundwater.

Not a bad deal at all!

After the necessary oils have been extracted from the algae, we use the byproducts (phosphorus and nitrogen), as fertilizer for the food crops that feed the nation — all while extracting C02 from the air.

That’s a beautiful thing.

And that’s why we’re currently looking at a number of companies . . . some public, some soon-to-go-public . . . that we believe will capitalize in a big, big way on algae.

Source: http://bit.ly/7jRUmu

DOE bets on 3.. One of them is Algae!


The Advanced Research Projects Agency for energy put out its second call for new ideas, and this time, the agency has narrowed its focused to three research fields.

The new arm of the Department of Energy, which is dedicated to high-risk, high-reward innovations, is betting $100 million on batteries for cars, new materials for capturing carbon, and microorganisms that can convert sunlight and carbon dioxide directly into fuels.

“This solicitation focuses on three cutting-edge technology areas which could have a transformational impact,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu, in a release.

Energy gets used in a lot of different ways, so no single technology can make all the difference. That said, a few key pieces of technology would provide the political world with better clean-energy options. We use coal to make half the nation’s electricity. Fossil fuels, mostly oil, burned for transportation account for roughly one-third of American emissions. Finding cheaper, cleaner solutions to the key problems of baseload generation and fuel for cars would be major steps toward reducing carbon emission and dependence on foreign oil.

This is the second call for proposals the DOE outfit has issued. ARPA is modeled after the military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. This new request is as narrow as the last was wide. In the first grants announced in October, ARPA-E spread the first $150 million from its coffers broadly on 37 different technologies across the energy landscape from building efficiency to biomass conversion to waste heat capture. Each endeavor received between $500,000 and $9 million.

Energy-dense, low-cost, long-lived batteries have been a dream of inventors since Thomas Edison claimed to have solved the problem in 1901. His battery was described by The New York Times as “combining all of the long-sought advantages of lightness, durability, and effectiveness.” It was so good, in fact, that “it was predicted that a new art of electrical propulsion and navigation would result.”

Though that has yet to happen, scientific knowledge of materials at the nanoscale has grown by leaps and bounds. ARPA-E is looking for battery makers who can meet the ambitious goals (.pdf) laid out by the United States Advanced Battery Consortium, a group of car makers working with the government.

Another area where scientific knowledge has been growing at an astounding pace is microbiological genomics. Scientists have gone beyond understanding individual gene functions to tweaking them for specialized functions. Synthetic biologists are working to develop microorganisms that are, in essence, programmable. One company, LS9, calls them “DesignerMicrobes.” The equation that the DOE would like these biological machines to solve is simple: CO2 and sunlight in, a substitute for oil out. Already, a flock of synthetic biology companies like Amyris, Solazyme and Synthetic Genomics are trying to create alternatives to oil using microorganismal genomics, and the DOE would like to see more.

Carbon dioxide capture is considered a mainline strategy for reducing carbon dioxide emissions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but it requires a substantial percentage of the energy that the plant produces to do it. It’s thought that new materials could, as the DOE puts it, “dramatically reduce the parasitic energy penalties and corresponding increase in the cost of electricity required for carbon capture.”

Some labs, like Omar Yaghi’s at UCLA and Gerbrand Ceder’s at MIT, have developed new methods for finding large amounts of new materials and determining their properties. Their work is a promising start, but more carbon capture isn’t the only step needed to keep smokestack emissions from warming the earth. They also have to be permanently buried. Last year, energy researcher Vaclav Smil at the University of Manitoba estimated that to bury just 25 percent of CO2 produced by power plants would required moving twice the material the world’s crude-oil industry (.pdf) does now. That’s a tall order and would require a heck of a lot of pipes and caverns.

Source: http://bit.ly/6h2RUQ