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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Alliance Optimises Algae Fuel Search

The Washington State Algae Alliance, comprised of bioscience firm Targeted Growth, Inc. (TGI), Inventure Chemical (Inventure) and Washington State University (WSU), will benefit from $2 million in funding through WSU as part of the 2010 Senate Energy and Water Development appropriations bill.

The Alliance has three objectives: First, to develop an efficient and integrated algae cultivation system for the production of fuel and other products; second, to build first class capabilities; and third, to advance related science and technologies. These objectives align with initiatives identified in the National Algae Fuel Roadmap developed by the US Department of Energy.

Each partner in the Alliance is responsible for developing a specific link in the value chain. Targeted Growth will focus on the development and optimization of strains of cyanobacteria, a blue-green algae, to yield high levels of lipid and other products, while reducing needed inputs and ultimately driving down costs.

WSU will develop advanced phototrophic (light) and heterotrophic (nutrient) bioreactors and harvesting technology to enable cost-efficient, year-round growth of the algal strains developed by TGI. After the algal biomass is harvested, it will be sent to Seattle-based Inventure for conversion into fuel and other valuable products such as renewable chemicals.

“By closely coordinating the algal species selection with the production and refining technologies, we will be able to optimize the entire process, leading to higher quality products at a lower cost,” said Mark Tegen, CEO of Inventure Chemical.

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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.

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Algae Biodiesel – Fuel of the 21st century

The potential of biodiesel to revolutionize our energy industry is enormous, not to mention the economic opportunities for farming nations that depend on the agricultural industry to survive. Many of these nations have begun to plant many acres of oil rich crops that are then sold to make biodiesel all over the world.

The real opportunity for biodiesel to save our energy dependent society lies in algae. Algae has proven to be capable of a higher yield per acre of biodiesel convertible oil than any other plant. With time and effective engineering of an efficient algae farming method, we will be able to utilize the solar energy more efficiently than ever, and we will easily be able to answer the worlds energy needs with biodiesel.

Biodiesel may not be the holy grail of energy sources, but it comes pretty close in these times of oil wars and a rapidly depleted ozone layer. Perhaps you should look into biodiesel as your personal alternative fuel today. The more informed we are as a society, the brighter the future may be for our children.

What’s more Biodiesel is not the fuel of tomorrow, I dare to say it is the fuel of today.

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NASA – Growing algae underwater?

NASA Ames Research Center makes biofuel from wastewater..

NASA has thrown its weight behind a clever method of growing algae in wastewater for the purpose of making biofuel.onathan Trent, a bioengineer at NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif comments that the forward-osmosis membranes OMEGA only release fresh water into the ocean, and dont permit salty water to contaminate the bags.

Such a process would mainly rely on the energy of the ocean waves to mix the algae, as well as sunlight and carbon dioxide. The offshore locations and the wide oceans would also have more than enough room to grow massive amounts of algae needed to produce biofuels for an energy-hungry world.

One possible future plan would combine the algae-growth system with a gigantic offshore wind farm being built by Germany, Sweden and Denmark. Wind power could then provide lights to keep algae growing underwater and during the nighttime hours – a fitting vision for the sustainable future of spaceship Earth.

Its renewable carbon negative fuel from algae making use of sunlight,sewage and co2-a solution for today’s problem!

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Algae grows best in PBR

The two primary methods currently available for growing and harvesting algae are open pond systems and closed system photobioreactors (PBR). PBR’s create an enclosed growing environment for algae cultivation where light, air, and nutrients are supplied at regulated levels to ensure optimized growth. The problems versus benefits between the two systems are presented in bullet points in clear and detailed manner.


The site clearly shows that photobioreactor scores over traditional open pond systems. An unbiased presentation of facts helps in making a choice.

PBR efficiencies still require fine tuning. Government funding or subsidies would be a necessity especially for start up and small bio fuels companies. More research is required to isolate the most cost effective extraction processes.

Despite these limitations, bio algae production from PBR’s represents one of the United States’ greatest opportunities for transition away from strictly fossil fuels, while providing a high protein food source for humans and as a feed stock for animal, poultry, and fish live stocks. It can also assist in the reduction of greenhouse gases by sequestering CO2. As production levels increase PBR’s will be able to use their own oil output to run themselves removing the argument that it still requires fossil fuels to bio fuel production.

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