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.

Read More: http://bit.ly/4oEK16

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PetroSun launches First US commercial scale Algae farm for Biofuel

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.

Read More: http://bit.ly/7NFp1u

Solazyme – Top Company in Bioenergy

Solazyme, Inc., a renewable oil and bioproducts company using algal biotechnology, is ranked number one among the 2009-10 “50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy” rankings, published today in Biofuels Digest, the world’s most widely read biofuels daily. The award, which more than 1400 companies were eligible for, recognizes innovation and achievement in bioenergy.

“It’s an honor for Solazyme to be selected for this award in such an important industry publication,” said Jonathan Wolfson, CEO, Solazyme. “Our team works hard every day to address the world’s critical need for energy alternatives, and to be recognized for our achievements is fantastic.”

Solazyme achieved a number of milestones in 2009 in its quest to use microalgae biotechnology to produce clean and scalable fuels, “green” chemicals, nutritionals and wellness products. Notable achievements include:

Closing a $57 million Series C financing round:
Winning two U.S. Department of Defense Navy contracts for jet fuel and ship fuel which constitute the largest quantity of fuel derived from algae or any microbial fuel to date  Completing a “field-to-wheels” carbon dioxide analysis which concluded that Solazyme’s algal biofuel, Soladiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions 85 to 93 percent when compared with petroleum-based diesel.

Being awarded a California Energy Commission PIER grant to develop fuel from cellulosic material. Announcing a formal commitment to commercialize algal renewable oil production technology for food and fuel at the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative.

Welcoming energy and government experts R. James Woolsey, TJ Glauthier and Donald Kennedy to Solazyme’s leadership team.

In 2009, Solazyme also took home the San Francisco Business Times’ Bay Area Green Business Award in Renewable Fuels, the TiE50 Top Cleantech Start-Up award, was named to the UK Guardian Global Cleantech 100 and was one of two companies presented with the “Green Leap” distinction at the Clinton Global Initiative.

Read More: http://bit.ly/93awjM

Imagining 2020: Green Crude

This is very interesting!
The fourth contribution to the Imagining 2020 series of essays comes from Pete Fowler, who takes a look at producing biofuel from algae as a sustainable means of meeting our liquid fuel needs.
I was very pessimistic until last year about our prospects of weaning off fossil fuels before reaching an irreversible tipping point. Some positive feedback loop would kick in, like higher temperatures releasing trapped methane from arctic permafrost and seafloor sediments.
Increased atmospheric methane, about 30 times as potent a greenhouse gas as CO2, would further raise temperatures.
End result?
Within a few decades Earth would be as hot as Venus. The whole of humanity would go the way of the civilisations described by Jared Diamond in Collapse, who could see they were on a track to self destruction but were unable to alter course.
In 2008 I read one of the most positive books ever written; The Singularity Is Near, by Ray Kurzweil.
He points out that whichever way you measure the rate of technological change, it accelerates exponentially.
Moore’s law for instance predicted in 1965 that artificial intelligence would double in complexity and halve in cost every two years. It’s held for the last 44 years, and if it continues to hold until 2020, we’ll then have machines approaching human intelligence.
Kurzweil maintains that right now, nanotechnology, genetic engineering and robotics are the main drivers of technological advance. The production of crude oil from atmospheric CO2 and water will be mostly a triumph of genetic engineering.
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.
Only an average 300 watts per square metre world wide of sunlight is available for photosynthesis, and natural photosynthesis isn’t a very efficient way to convert sunlight to chemical energy.
The most efficient fuel crop is sugar cane, fermented to ethanol.
It yields up to three harvests a year. But it’s labour and land intensive, requires fuel for farm machinery and transport, it increases the cost of food and only grows in the tropics. Because all conventional crops need further processing in different places before they reach the petrol pump or dinner table, their total number of carbon kilometres is typically several times the distance round the world.
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:
Dry the algae and press the oil out. This is the simplest method.
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.
Hexane solvent. Hexane, a hydrocarbon similar to petrol, dissolves the oil. The hexane is then separated from the oil and reused.
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.

Algae may fix Logan’s sewage mess

“It’s like killing two birds with one stone,” said Paul Israelsen, a research associate professor in USU’s electrical and computer engineering department. The algae cultivated in the lagoons is to be converted to methane and used as fuel for electrical generation and the phosphorus would be extracted to sell to fertilizer manufacturers and other industries.

Read More: http://bit.ly/5IudNe

$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.

Cultivation of Algae: Things to remember

In terms of its energy characteristics algae is much greater than other sources.

200 thousand hectares of ponds can produce fuel sufficient for the annual consumption of 5% of U.S. automobiles. 200 thousand hectares – is less than 0.1% of U.S. land suitable for cultivation of algae.

Production of algae is also attractive by the fact that during the biosynthesis carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere

Problems faced in Algae cultivation:

1. Algae that contain larger amounts of oil grow more slowly. For example, algae, containing 80% of oil grow every 10 days, whereas, algae, containing 30% grow 3 times a day.

2. The main technological difficulty lies in the fact that algae are sensitive to changes in temperature, which therefore must be maintained at a certain level (sharp daily fluctuations are not allowed).

3. Lack of effective tools for collecting algae in large quantities also prevents the commercial application of algae as a fuel today.

4 It is also necessary to determine the most effective oil types for collecting.

Technology of algae growing:

U.S. Department of Energy has studied the algae with high oil content within the program named “Aquatic Species Program”. The researchers concluded that California, Hawaii and New Mexico are suitable for industrial production of algae in open ponds. Algae were growing in ponds with total area of 1000 m2 during 6 years. Pond in New Mexico has shown high efficiency in the capture of CO2. The yield was more than 50 grams of algae from 1 m2 per day.

There is the technology of cultivation algae in small bioreactors located near power plants in addition to algae growing in open ponds. Waste heat of heat power plant is able to cover 77% of heat demand, which is needed for the cultivation of algae. This technology does not require a hot desert climate.

Bio King Company started serial production of patented bioreactors for cultivation of algae, suitable for immediate use, which include fast-growing algae with high oil content.
Spanish scientists found a type of algae that are able to reproduce much faster than other biological counterparts under the certain lighting conditions. Taking into consideration the fact that each cubic meter of water contains up to 300 specimens of algae in the open sea, it is amazing that the researchers have reached the number of 200 million specimens from the same cubic meter of water.

Microalgae grow in a plastic cylinder with 70 cm diameter and 3 m length. The algae reproduce by dividing. They are being divided every 12 hours, and the water in the cylinder transforms into a green compact mass gradually. The contents of the cylinder is subjected to centrifuging once a day. The balance is approximately one hundred percent of biofuel. Saturated with fat part of this mass is converted into biodiesel, and carbohydrates into ethanol.

Such companies as Shell and HR Biopetroleum intend to build pilot plant on the Hawaiian Islands to obtain oil from microalgae and to process it into biofuels further.

Source: http://bit.ly/4E4DEa