View Full Version : algOS – Oil from Algae Open Source

8th April 2008, 08:47 PM
This seems to me, a very good idea.

1st May 2008, 05:44 AM
Yield of Various Plant Oils

Crop Oil in Liters per hectare

Castor 1413

Sunflower 952

Safflower 779

Palm 5950

Soy 446

Coconut 2689

Algae 100000Thus, with sodium ethanolate as the catalyst, ethanol is reacted with the algal oil ( the triglyceride) to produce bio-diesel & glycerol. The end products of this reaction are hence biodiesel, sodium ethanolate and glycerol.~To produce that amount would require a land mass of almost 15,000 square miles. To put that in perspective, consider that the Sonora desert in the southwestern US comprises 120,000 square miles. Enough biodiesel to replace all petroleum transportation fuels could be grown in 15,000 square miles, or roughly 12.5 percent of the area of the Sonora desert (note for clarification - I am not advocating putting 15,000 square miles of algae ponds in the Sonora desert. This hypothetical example is used strictly for the purpose of showing the scale of land required). That 15,000 square miles works out to roughly 9.5 million acres - far less than the 450 million acres currently used for crop farming in the US, and the over 500 million acres used as grazing land for farm animals.~Please note this was US petroleum transportation.

It should also be noted that most algal crops yield 4 products, not one.

1. Biodiesel
2. Ethanol
3. Cattle Feed
4. Solid Fuel

Algae consist of basically 4 components.

1. Oil
2. Carbohydrates
3. Proteins
4. Cellulose

The oil is extracted and turned into biodiesel. The Carbohydrates are fermented and turned into an alcohol based fuel. Though this process may be more desirable.The bioconversion of biomass to mixed alcohol fuels can be accomplished using the MixAlco process. Through bioconversion of biomass to a mixed alcohol fuel, more energy from the biomass will end up as liquid fuels than in converting biomass to ethanol by yeast fermentation.The proteins are separated and used as animal feed. You then burn the cellulose.

For those of you with a "Mad Max" vision of the future, relax.

1st May 2008, 05:58 AM
Sounds like a helluva lot better idea than burning food!

1st May 2008, 06:09 AM
If there's ever one devised for bacterio-fuel they can have my toe cheese. :D

1st May 2008, 06:33 AM
A few additional things occurred to me.

A. The mixed alcohol process also produces hydrogen gas, which could be used with the ethanol to turn the algal oil into biodiesel. Meaning you are growing the primary component you need to convert the oil into fuel. I'm not sure how the proportions would work out.

B. It occurs to me that you could use the cellulose fuel to run the distillation of the ethanol and/or mixed alcohols. Again, it would be interesting to see if this produced enough cellulose fuel to satisfy the heat requirements for the distillation. And again, you are growing another component of the system in the same tank.

C. Producing animal feed from such non-arable areas should decrease the need to grow crops for animal feed. Thus increasing the arable land area that could be dedicated to growing human consumable crops. In addition, it occurs to me that many food animals don't really need arable land. I wonder what a system like this would do to the estimated maximum world food production.

D. My brother commented to me, "Don't virus's rupture cell walls?". This was while we where discussing various methods of algal oil extraction, a major consumer of the input energy needed in the manufacturing of biodiesel from algae.

3rd May 2008, 04:23 AM
If there's ever one devised for bacterio-fuel they can have my toe cheese. :DUh... Actually...
UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science announced the release of E. coli that is engineered to produce butanol.:D

13th July 2008, 07:11 AM
I've been watching some of the news coverage on oil prices. They keep talking about things like wind power generation and nuclear power plants in relation to oil prices. I thought the following would be useful pieces of information. All info drawn from http://www.eia.doe.gov/

All numbers in thousands of barrels.
Total US oil import for 2006=5,003,082
Total domestic oil production 2006=1,862,259
Total oil foreign and domestic 2006=6,865,341
Total oil consumed for electrical power production 2006=115,370
Percentage of total oil used for electrical power production=1.68

My conclusion, removing all the oil consuming power plants would have a negligible effect on oil prices. That is not to say that we shouldn't. I'm just pointing out that the connection between oil prices and electrical consumption is insignificant.

I would have run the numbers for 2007, but I couldn't get oil consumption for electrical power data for that year.

13th July 2008, 07:36 AM
Lovely. That's all we need. More oil. That just leads to more greenhouse gases.

We need to get away from oil...

13th July 2008, 01:47 PM
OK. I've had enough of that!

No. "We" don't need to do anything!

You do!

If you really believe, Kona ... lead (http://www.schulersolutions.com/how_to_lead_by_example.html). Don't tell the way, show the way (http://www.allbusiness.com/human-resources/employee-development-leadership/11344-1.html)!

Preaching at everybody else about their nasty evil oil habit -- while driving a gas guzzling Detroit dinosaur -- doesn't do your credibility any good at all. In fact, it quickly marks you as one who has become a plaything of the nefarious and/or foolish.

Taking personal responsibility in sometimes very uncomfortable ways does the opposite.

However, there are times when expediency rules. I understand that. We've all been there, and done that. So the best way to personally get around that dilemma, is to take some of your hard earned paycheck ... and very publicly buy yourself some carbon credits (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_credit) from some poor third world susbsistance farmer.

Ayup! The whole concept is uncomfortable as h*ll when it comes home to roost. But, don't let that discourage or dissuade you! Something has got to be done. Momentum must be overcome. But, the blunt truth is it will be you younger folks who are going to have to fix this mess, and you sure aren't going to get it done by assigning blame and shouting slogans and posting platitudes. The time of action is upon you. Have your Detroit iron crushed. Selling it simply passes the problem on to somebody else. Then eat beans, and rice, then rice and beans until you've saved enough cash for an electric or a used hybrid. Then come tell us what you've done, not what we need to do!

Then, instead of a sneer and a chuckle, you might get a thoughtful hum, and someone might think to themselves, "Huh!? Well, if Kona can do it ... Maybe I can too!"


13th July 2008, 02:27 PM
"Huh!? Well, if Kona can do it ... Maybe I can too!"
<Soap Box> When I switched to 100% renewables from my electricity supplier, I did it not only to be grrener myself, but so I could look my friends in the eye and tell them I'd done it, not that it was something "I'm gonna do one day", and that all it took was a decision. OK, so it's more expensive, but "I put my money where my mouth is". </Soap Box>

13th July 2008, 02:44 PM
Interesting links Dan. All of them very true. Wisdom most people know and/or have seem and understand intellectually, but until you really see them in action most people don't really understand how large the difference is.

For a second I thought you where addressing me directly, but it turned out to be a link.:D

13th July 2008, 07:46 PM
Dan I drive that car only because I need to get to work. Otherwise I would ride a bike. I don't use the car unless I'm going to work, Church or a computer fix call. No trips for errands or groceries. I don't drive if I do not need to.

I was talking about those people that use a huge SUV to go 3 blocks for a cup of coffee. Wasteful.

I can come up with more examples...

13th July 2008, 08:11 PM
More examples are neither needed ... nor wanted, Kona. Bluntly, this is a free country. (Where you and I live and work.) Freedom applies equally to all. Those people who use their chosen vehicles in a fashion which suits them are absolutely free to do so. The only changes you can, or are indeed welcome to effect, are in your own behavior. Passing judgement on others just isn't going to help. Again, bluntly, it's their SUV, their gas, their coffee and their business. Not yours.

You cannot effect change just because you want it. Therefore, if change is what you desire, you must teach. And that brings us right back to my points above. In order to teach -- effectively -- you must become a leader. And the only way to become a leader, is to earn the respect of those you are trying to teach. "Do as I say ... not as I do," just doesn't cut it! Never has, never will. It is also critical to remember that regardless of what your ego says, if you are average, more than half the people you meet, are actually smarter than you are. You can still teach and lead them, but you'll need to get your ducks thoroughly lined up first!

Then, there will be those whom you will not be able to teach, nor convince of anything. Them, you simply need to leave unto themselves, and remain friendly, and drop the contentious subjects. Continuing to hammer away at them will only serve to build resentment, discord, disunity and strife. All of which will eventually have very negative consequences.

In short, leave the agendas out of it. Especially here on the forum.

'Nuff said?


13th July 2008, 08:16 PM
You are right we have freedoms here. But in the end using oil the way we do will come back and haunt us.

I'm just tired of people complaining about the price of gas yet being so wasteful. Yet I guess my hands are not as clean as they should be in this so as you suggest...

I'll quit preaching!

13th July 2008, 08:18 PM
Good plan! <..:)..>

20th July 2008, 08:58 AM
Here's some cost analysis that is very interesting.

According to the data above biodiesel from algae would cost about twice what diesel was priced at. Possible slightly more. This study was done in 1997.

Price of diesel in 1997, 1.25 per gallon.
Price of diesel today, 2.94 per gallon.
Price of diesel today if only inflation is compensated for from the 1997 price, 1.65 per gallon.
Estimated price of biodiesel based on above data, 3.30 per gallon.

I've given the price of diesel at the ultra low sulfur rate, as biodiesel contains virtually no sulfur.

As you can see, though we are not there yet, the profitability of producing biodiesel is not that far off.

20th July 2008, 09:18 AM
Something else just occurred to me, generally speaking you get better mpg out of diesel then you do out of gasoline. I'll have to see if I can round up the numbers and get some kind of percentage differential in mpg ratings of gasoline vs biodiesel. Diesel also generally provides better low end torque.. Though it looks like you can run into fuel liquidity issues in cold weather more quickly with biodiesel. I'll post more when I have some better data.