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Algae Reseach Penn State

Algae Reseach Penn State

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Published by: Rytchad Ola on Oct 19, 2010
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Biodiesel Fuel Production from Algae

A reasonable alternative renewable Energy
Definition Paper In Partial fulfillment of the course work requirement in “Energy in the Changing World”. The Pennsylvania State University.

Paper written by: Richard Olawoyin 8/1/2010

the macro algae also known as the seaweed or the micro algae which are the fastest growing photosynthesizing organisms.000 gallons of oil/acre/year. Algaculture: Concept and Cultivation 3. pipelines refineries and pumps due to the similar molecular configuration to the fossil fuel. technological and other impediments associated to algae species and varieties.based fuel produced. which has been noted to be capable of sucking in about 15kg of CO2 per gallon of algae. it can complete an entire growing cycle every ten days. micro-algae will under peak growing conditions produce up to 15. and the fat can later be converted into biodiesel. Algae fuel is considered as a third generation feedstock which can be cultivated in saline water or other water unsuitable for crop plant. This is an added advantage to its production and usage. this attribute makes Algae environmentally friendly as it is an important component of carbon sequestration. this also gives algae an edge as its production is not in competition with food production resources. Biodiesel from Algae 4. Biofuel generated from algae can easily and readily replace gasoline in existing infrastructure. Concentration on algae production as biofuel would undoubtedly save the day as corn and soybeans will then be spared for consumption as food by humans. Algae reduces as much as 61% of greenhouse gases and 70% reduction can be achieved for diesel fuel. Cost of making oil from Algae: Benefits and Challenges 5. Algal is remarkably more efficient at photosynthesis than any other plant. “Algaeoleum” is a biofuel produced from algae and it is commercially viable due to the capacity to serve as low emission fuel for transportation purposes. Although is sky is bright in terms of the commercial potential for microalgae. When compared to gasoline mile by mile on a lifecycle basis. For Algae to be better productive they require CO2 in large quantities.Table of contents: 1.1 1 Farming Algal Fuel: Economics Challenge Process Potential: Global Aquaculture Advocate 13(4): 71-73 (July/August) 2008 1 . such as in car tanks. environmental conditions and production technical knowhow must be met for practical significant production. Conclusion Biodiesel Fuel Production from Algae as Renewable Energy Definition Paper 1. Introduction: Algae are photosynthetic organisms that contain two forms of chlorophyll which are used to capture light energy to facilitate the production of carbohydrates. protein and fat. There are two types of algae. Introduction 2.

there is tendency for the culture to become dense and this may prevent light from getting through to other parts of the culture. preventing settling of algae and equal exposure to light source. 2 . Proper mixing techniques are important so as to balance the light ration reaching all parts of the culture. for instance this method is currently being used in algae research at the Pennsylvania State University Curtis laboratory. Cultivators however prefer the use of closed system if they have to choose between these two though the open ponds are cheaper to construct but are also highly vulnerable to contamination by other microorganisms. The following highlights some of the other factors. It is also important for the water to contain some nutrients which accelerates the growth. A more preferable production method is the monoculture of algae entails growing just one species to avoid the issue of dominance if mixed cultures are employed. Factors that Determine Algal Growth Rate: In algae cultivation. The open system can be easily converted to a closed one by simply enclosing a pond with a translucent layer which effectively solves many of the problems related to an open system. This allows the growing of more species and also allows that species to remain dominant. lakes etc. As the algae grow and multiply. This will ultimately defeat the purpose of having a monoculture. algal requires certain physical. plastic tubes or polyethylene sleeves or bags. Optimum productivity is attained under this condition where the time of exchange of one volume of liquid equals the volume of the algae. Growing algae: For the purpose of diesel production from algae. here the algae can be grown with provision of all necessary nutrients including CO2 under controlled and appropriate conditions by the cultivator. Algaculture: Concept and Cultivation The concept ideally involves the farming of a specific or varied species of algae to serve the purpose of which it is intended.2. Minerals. CO2 and water are all needed in the right proportion to achieve this. Pond and closed cultivation methods: Algae can be cultured in open-ponds such as trench. glass tubes. Examples are tanks. there are basically three processes of algae culture that a mostly used    The photobioreactor Closed loop system Open pond Photobioreactors (PBR): These are closed systems of translucent containers with an accessible light source.  Water: The water temperature must be at within a sustainable range that supports the growth of that specific species of algae.  Light and Mixing: Light is quintessential for photosynthesis to take place. biological and chemical factors to be met in order to attain maximum productive level .

3.1016/j. Condensed Matter . PMID 17350212 http://mse. Aeration: The algae culture also needs a proper circulation process because it is required to have unlimited and uninterrupted access with air in other to capture the CO2 needed for the photosynthesis. Estimates of the cost to extract oil from microalgae vary. Centrifugation: Harvesting of microalgae can be done using the process of centrifugation Flotation: The water supply to the culture can be aerated into froth.2007.001. Extraction: Micro-algae have considerable potential for the production of biofuel and in particular biodiesel2. Chisti. M.Biodiesel from Algae: Harvesting: The process of harvesting algae primarily depends on the size of the algae which will determine how easily the organism will settle and be ready to be filtered.mcmaster. doi:10. Hamilton: McMaster University. 1. Biotechnology Advances 25 (3): 294–306.Extraction of oils from algae is carried out using different techniques due to its many commercial and industrial uses.biotechadv. sedimentation takes place and it is then harvested. 4. the algae begin to flocculate by its self. just as in the case of fossil fuel extraction and processing. (2007). the microalgae are the most common since they grow rapidly. but are likely to be around $1.Materials Engineering Newsletter. this process is known as the froth floatation. if this is done then the algae can be skimmed from the top.    Temperature: The ideal temperature required for algae to grow must be maintained pH .80 (US$)/kg (compared to $0. 3 3 . The best used harvesting techniques of microalgae include. including the ultrasound method which is still under development. Mechanical techniques: Filtration methods can be employed to harvest the algae using strong membranes such as microscrrens and microstrainers.  Chemical techniques: This involves the use of flocculants or once the CO2 supply to the cultivation system is interrupted.50 (US$)/kg for palm oil).pdf.02. 2009. Algae Fuel. this process is called autoflocculation. Budiman. but they also pose challenges in harvesting due to their motile unicellular nature and small size. Vol.3 2 .Algae thrives better between a pH of 7 to 9 to have an optimum growth rate Algae Type selection: The best species that produces the best natural oil should be chosen for cultivation since different algae have different growth rates. For the purpose of bio fuel production. "Biodiesel from microalgae".     These are just a few of the harvesting techniques available amongst others. Department of Materials Science and Engineering. McMaster University. Y. Settling and sedimentation: Once the algae are allowed to settle.ca/Condensed%20Matter/November2009.

it accelerates the extraction process and increases yield4. Retrieved 2007-11-06. hielscher.com/ultrasonics/algae_extraction_01. which simply crushes the algae and squeezes out the oil since when the algal is dry it contains its oil content.com. This is known as the Ultrasonic extraction.Schematics showing algae life cycle Oxygen Oxygen Sun Ox yg en Algae Microalgae Chlorophyll CO2 + Water Macroalgae Cultivation CO 2 Hydrogen Hydrocarbon or Lipids Carbohydrates Biomass Se qu est rat io n Hydrogen Fuel Biodiesel Alkanes or Green diesel Ethanol Interme diate Level CO 2 Syngas CH4 FT Liquids Methane Fu el Se qu est rat io n Associated Emissions Physical Extraction: Crushing is the first step in separating the algae from the oil.htm#Ultrasonic_Enzymatic_Extraction. the resulting bubbles which collapses at the wall creates shock waves that eventually causes the walls to break and release their contents into the solvent.hielscher. Cavitation bubbles can also be created in the solvent using ultrasonic waves from an Ultrasonic reactor. http://www. 4 . 4 "Ultrasonically assisted enzymatic extraction".

000 per hectare per annum. Cost Of Making Oil From Algae One of the major setbacks in the commercialization of algae fuels is the problem associated with cost. and then its heated above a threshold level to the supercritical state. 5 Farming algal fuel: economics challenge process potential Global Aquaculture Advocate 13(4): 71-73 (July/August). Several researches are currently going on to determine the best possible way to produce oil from algae at the lowest possible cost. 5 Benefits of Algae production:       There is no competition between food and fuel production as both can be produced simultaneously without pressure on food crops. 4. it can be as high as 14%. There is higher efficiency of about 5% when algae are produced and if conditions are very favorable. cost of harvesting equipment. It is very environmentally friendly since it improves the climate by capturing CO2 and provides greenhouse gas mitigation benefits. There is no pressure on land.$150.2 per 1000 annual gallons which is approximately $100 per million gallons for drum filtration. The major cost drivers during harvesting are the cost of chemicals.76-$7. 000 .93/L. unlike normal crops with 1% efficiency. which makes algae remain with a low land foot print. Researchers at the University of Kentucky estimated production costs for algal biodiesel to be between $18-$30/gal that is $4. The oils can be extracted from the algae by repeated washing using this chemical solvent in a process known as the Soxhlet extraction. provision of fuel security due to stability in supply. Harvesting Cost: The cost of operations during harvesting has been estimated to be about $0. It could cost about $0. Other benefits include by are not limited to. 5 . it can also be used then as a solvent for the oil extraction.12 per gallon to extract oil from algae using the press method. and there is no emission like other biofuel or fossil fuels. since the yields of biomass is 15 times higher than normal crops. When pressure is applied to CO2 with the intention of liquefying it.Chemical extraction: Certain chemical solvent can be used to extract oil from algae such as hexane. improves the economy by providing jobs and creating means of export. cost of dying algae and maintenance. Algae can be grown quickly in 1-10days and up to 99% of the carbon dioxide in solution can be converted. Water can also be used as a solvent when enzymes are used to degrade the cell walls in a process known as Enzymatic Extraction. While the capital cost of open and closed ponds are estimated to be about $125.

. R. P. Algae Company Number 56: Plankton Power. S. There is also a problem of algal waste that will arise when the production of algal biofuels becomes commercialized.Challenges: Although algaeoleum sounds like the celebrity in the biofuel world. Bioprod. 6 Pienkos. Kovalyova. 9 . Vol. [Online] Thomson Reuters. there is a need for advancement in technologies to be able to produce algae commercially at a scale equivalent to the production of 1000 hectares without endless use of resources. and processing remains the paradigm for the successful transitioning from an energy dependent nation to a well secured and efficient one. A. 3. 7 . More economical production systems are vital.] http://www. it has its own downside as well. Wijffels. Trends in Biotechnology. Potential of Sponges and Microalgae for Marine Biotechnology. Greentech Media. The Promise and Challenges of Microalgal-derived Biofuels.H. also in the treatment of wastewater associated with fossil oil production. Also. 26. J.. [ Cited: 10 12 2009. 8 . 2007. 7. the cost of production is the number one discouragement when it comes to investing in algae fuel. Better techniques for harvesting are essential. 3 6 2009. [Online] Greentech Media Inc. such as each household making algal fuel production the easiest since sliced bread. 26-31. Bioref. 431-440. In half a decade to a decade.greentechmedia. . 9 Efficient algal cultivation.] http://www. 04 08 2009. Presently the process of producing fuel from algae would appear to be uneconomic even with over 50 algal biofuel companies and none has been able to come up with a better way of producing commercial-scale quantities at inexpensive prices 6. the fate of the success story lies on research and development which will transform the landscape from laboratory experiments to massive production stations outdoors enabling greater biomass with higher oil content algal species that also grows rapidly.com/articles/read/plankton-power-another-algae. 2009. pp. once all the challenges facing the commercial production of algal are met. European body sees algae fuel industry in 10-15 years. Biofuels. [Cited: 10 12 2009. For production to be more economically viable the cost will have to come down by two orders of magnitude8. Reuters. pp.com/article/idUSTRE5526HY20090603. There also exist some technical difficulties in transiting experimental algae in the laboratory to farms outdoors.. St John. A positive solution is crucial with better technologies and interdisciplinary studies where for instance algal production can be linked to other fuel generations and supplies.reuters. Conclusion The European Algae Biomass Association has estimated that in order to achieve a complete transition from laboratory experiments into industrial-scale production of algal biofuel it may take another 10 to 15 years to turn. 1. it will be remarkable to have the capability for algal production to be done in micro-refineries. As outlined earlier. While biofuel production from algae remains technologically achievable. 6 .T & Darzins.

oilgae.” Aquatic Species Program Review: Proceedings of the April 1984 Principal Investigators’Meeting.print 5. K.Bibliography 1.org/biodiesel_yield. SERI/CP-231-2341. John Benemann and Paul Roessler. The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2030: Exxonmobil. The Oilgae Digest from Oilgae – Home of Algal Energy – www. "A Look Back at the U.nrel.S. (1984a) “Microalgal technology research at SERI: Modulated light photobiology.com/2102-1008_3-5714269. 160-169. Olivier Danielo.com. Golden. Department of Energy's Aquatic Species Program-Bio-diesel from Algae.pdf 6. May 2005 http://www.html?tag=st. Colorado. 7 .gov/docs/legosti/fy98/24190.util.L. 255.greenfuelonline." News.pdf 4. http://journeytoforever.com/news/algaefuel.html 3. Terry. July 1998.com. Solar Energy Research Institute. pp. 2005 http://news. NREL/TP-580-24 190 http://www.com 2010 2. "Start-up drills for oil in algae. "An Algae Based Fuel. John Sheehan. No. Terri Dunahay. May 20." Biofutur.com 7. Closeout Report". Martin LaMonica.

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