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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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 buildings solves Climate issues

The future of green technology is algae-cultivating buildings, synthetic trees, and heaps of white roofs, according to the U.K.’s institution of Mechanical Engineers. Andrew McFaul.

Cultivating algae to make liquid fuel is one of the most active areas of study in biofuels. The institution is recommending that algae be amalgamated into buildings so algae can be grown at a big scale.

How synthetic trees, which capture carbon from the air, could be deployed alongside wind turbines.

Engineers envision that long plastic tubes, called photobioreactors, be integrated into building designs or retrofitted onto existing skyscrapers.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has in public offered this comparatively low-tech approach, which was studied in-depth at the Lawrence Livermore lab last year.

The shape of things to come?Climate issues fixed by these algae covered buildings.

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First commercial scale Algae farm in USA

In Texas, PetroSun will open the first US commercial-scale algae farm for biofuels near South Padre Island.

The 1,831 acre site includes 157 separate ponds, and the company said that extraction of algae from water and oil from algae were studied and solved at the company’s pilot farm in Opelika, Alabama. PetroSun said that results from the pilot farm demonstrated a yield of between 5,000 and 8,000 gallons per acre, or a potential oil production of 9-15 Mgy at the South Padre Island facility.

Algae-based research and development continues to pick up in pace, even though the US Defense Department is estimating that the current production cost of algae oil exceeds $20 per gallon.

Recent developments include:

Netherlands, AlgaeLink announced a new process for extracting algae without using chemicals, drying or an oil press.

The company said that its patent-pending technique uses 26 kilowatts of power to produce 12,000 gallons of algae oil per hour, with a yield of 50 percent from the initial algae paste.

In Texas, the state’s Emerging Technology Fund will provide $4 million to Texas AgriLife Research and General Atomics to conduct microalgae research and development.

In Virginia, researchers at Old Dominion University have successfully piloted a project to produce biodiesel feedstock by growing algae at municipal sewage treatment plants. The pilot project is producing up to 70,000 gallons of biodiesel per year.

In Minnesota, Xcel Energy has pledged $150,000 to assist in funding an algae-to-biodiesel research project sponsored by the University and the Metropolitan Council.

The US Department of Energy recently partnered with Chevron in a research effort to develop higher-yield strains of micro algae.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working on a project with Honeywell, General Electric and the University of North Dakota.

In Texas, US Sustainable Energy is awaiting lab results from a test of biocrude production using 20 pounds of algae as a feedstock. The company recently ran its initial test of 20 pounds of 5% oil-content algae feedstock with 40 percent water content, and resulted in an ignitable oil product.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

A lot more action is expected in the future.

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OriginOil Reveals Algae Production Model

The National Algae Association’s (NAA) quarterly conference applauded OriginOil’s presentation of a first-ever comprehensive algae production model, developed with the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) of the Department of Energy under its collaborative research agreement with OriginOil.

At the end of the presentation, CEO Eckelberry outlined plans to share this first-ever interactive model for algae production through a process of publishing various calculators on the company’s website and also making the detailed model available to researchers.

Should further stimulate interest in algae to oil prroduction.

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Non arable land Algae bioreactor.. A solution to the world..

Nature took hundreds of millions of years to produce the crude oil which, in about 200 years, we’ll have exhausted.

If we can speed up this process, and produce all our liquid fuels and chemical industry feedstocks, and some stock feed and human food from atmospheric CO2 and waste, by a process many times as efficient as farming, without diverting farmland or native bush, on the same timescale as the rate at which we deplete fossil fuel, we’ll have solved the problems of peak oil and global warming, and a few lesser problems.

Conventional biofuel production isn’t particularly efficient. It requires fuel inputs for farm vehicles, and it either diverts farmland away from food production or destroys native bush.

What’s needed is a continuous process, not a batch process like conventional harvesting. The world is running out of land suitable for conversion to farming. An algae reactor can be set up on land which is unsuitable for farming or anything else, and can still produce more than 15 times as much fuel per hectare as canola or palms.

Unlike natural crude, it can yield a product free of contaminants like nitrogen, sulphur or benzene. The first generation will use sunlight for their energy source, but later, as energy sources like pebble bed fission reactors and ultimately nuclear fusion become available, these will drastically increase yield.

Some natural cyanobacteria can double their mass every hour. With genetic engineering, high temperature varieties, and varieties which fix their own nitrogen from the atmosphere are possible. The obvious raw materials to use are untreated sewage and atmospheric CO2, helping to solve two environmental problems. Eventually, when energy sources other than sunlight are available, the demand for sewage will outstrip supply, and other sources of micronutrients will be needed.

But as with conventional agriculture, micronutrients are in principle recyclable. All you need is a way to reclaim elements like phosphorus, sulphur, iron, molybdenum and the rest.

This is feasible with a bioreactor producing algae, but not on a conventional farm, where they drain away, and not only are they wasted, but they cause problems like nitrate in drinking water and eutrophication in waterways.

The only high tech part of producing green crude is the final step; converting algae into oil. There’s no reason why bioreactors can’t be operated in the world’s poorest countries, as well as everywhere else where a demand for the products exists.

Being a factory, rather than an outdoor farm operation, it can be conducted close to population centres, or anywhere else. CO2 is available everywhere, and low-grade water supplies unfit for human consumption, almost everywhere.

An obvious location for a bioreactor is right next to a thermal power station, where there’s waste CO2, waste heat and transmission loss free electricity, but in principle one can operate anywhere.

The algae is harvested continuously, 24/7. Currently four technologies exist to extract the oil.

1. Dry the algae and press the oil out. This is the simplest method.

2. Dissolve the oil in a supercritical fluid like CO2 at high pressure. When pressure is reduced the oil separates out and the CO2 is reused. This is the most promising method.

3. Hexane, a hydrocarbon similar to petrol, dissolves the oil. The hexane is then separated from the oil and reused.

4. Ultrasound breaks open the algae cells, and the oil is pressed out.

The remaining dry matter is a high protein stock feed.

A bioreactor producing algae which are processed into liquid fuels, foods and petrochemicals, is a machine for converting waste, including CO2, into essential commodities which are getting scarcer every year. The only input needed is energy. It’s a closed loop. There is no waste and no collateral damage to the environment.

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Algal oil Extraction

Microalgae may be a promising source of feedstock for bio fuels because of a) their high lipid/oil contents (40 to 60% of dry weight); b) high specific growth rates (1 to 3 doubling time per day); c) the ability to thrive in saline/brackish water and utilize nutrients (N, P, and CO2) from waste-streams (e.g., wastewater and flue gases from fossil fuel-fired power plants) for growth, and use marginal lands (desert, arid- and semi-arid lands) for wide-scale production all year around; and d) co-production of value-added products (e.g., biopolymers, proteins, polysaccharide, pigments). However, algal oils studied for biofuels so far are rather similar in chemical and physical properties to that of common crop oils, which are enriched with C16 to Cl 8 fatty acids/esters.

The present invention provides methods for producing algal medium chain length fatty acids or hydrocarbons.

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