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ARC6840 Renewable Energy Hoang Kien TRAN. March Studies. 2010 Abstract
Abstract Almost all energy sources on Earth are derived from the Sun. Many people believe photovoltaic is the future of human energy. This idea is strengthened by many science-fiction movies and books where future cities are portrayed with spires clad in shiny photovoltaic panels. However, from the biology point of view, photosynthesis seems to be a more efficient process of energy conversion. It has been evolved and optimized by nature through millennia. Today technology allows biomass to be converted into useful energy through different processes such as thermal, chemical or biochemical conversions which result in different form of energy. Algae, with considerable advantages, is argued to be an important source of human energy in near future.
Y. as the feedstock for this generation are edible products like wheat. Corn. especially the mentioned discovery from United Environment and Energy LLC. stems. sugarcane. wind. stalks. While not using edible material. the instability of climate supposed to increase as caused by greenhouse gas emission from fossil fuel usage. This paper aims to review the potential of algae as a non-food feedstock for bio-diesel. a study is presented claiming that an economical process to transform algae product into bio-diesel is commercially possible. it brings issues related to human food crisis. which may allow a cheaper bio-diesel production.) Animal Fat Agriculture by2nd Generation product (Stalks. peel…) Non-food crop (jatropha. woodchips. Bio-fuel can be produced from a variety of sources. has the potential to overcome its counterparts. Wheat. ect. Algae can easily be cultivated in waste water and salt water. wood and special crops. Table 1: Generations of Biofuels Sources High sugar yield Crop 1st Generation (Sugar cane. leaves. Horseheads. rapeseed. Beet…) High oil yield crop (sunflower. vegetable oil and animal fat. which can be use for human food production. First generation bio-fuel is processed from sugar. Second generation bio-fuel is from non-food materials like waste.. N. corn. switch grass…) 3rd Algae Generation Organic Waste Forms of Fuel Vegetable Oil Bio-gasoline Bio-alcohol Bio-diesel Bio-hydrogen BioDME Bio-methanol Butanol & isobutanol DMF Wood diesel Bio-diesel Bio-buthanol Hydrogen Bio-gasoline Methane SVO . urge the need to find reliable alternative sources of energy. The coming depletion of fossil fuel and more important.1. bio-fuel generalization is the must-happen in near future. at the 237th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. This generation emphasizes on the conversion of cellulose to ethanol. The gap is the cost for operation and oil extraction. While electricity companies might find solution in solar. . second generation bio-fuel sources cultivation still uses up arable land and fresh water for irrigation. Recently. As the oil prize is rising along with the depletion of fossil fuel. has high yield of oil content and short harvest cycle.. fuel industry puts its hope on bio-fuel. Introduction The only setback of bio-fuels is the cost of their production. hydro or ocean power. Algae fuel comes as the third generation of bio-fuel. However. but many companies and agencies are investing in researches to lower the capital and operation costs to make bio-fuel economically available. starch. Many researchers in biochemical laboratories are trying to find solution to fill this gap.
Alga can use NH4+.1. alg w n e nd gae cult tivation can avo the impact on arable land and freshwater.00 species exist of 00 t. Algae can grow easily in h A w harsh condition and can us n se contamination in wastewater to give high oil productivity c y. 200 ory s 08). while the cultivation is rather simp H ple. the biodiese el conversion is mor c re complicated a and cost. act as a treatment for wastewater b before released to env vironment. CO2 emission from using algae fu is equal to that uel t the algae conver rted during pr roduction there efore reduce the gree enhouse gas em mission to almost zero. algae are photos synthetic. the uni icellular and so ome simple mu ulticellular speci ies.2. canola an switch grass The results s nd s. jatro opha or rapese eed. 2010).2. ivity and advant tages Table 2 Microalgae Productivity 2: Des spite the high c cost for operatio algae have relatively high oil on. Figure 1: Microalgae . a m. s sunflower. Amo t ong the algae. There are m more than 50. S sh Some species t that has high o content in th oil heir biom mass up to 75% but common species with higher productivity %.000 have been s studied (Mata et al. PO43 contamination in wastewater as ae H r nutr rient. e prod ductivity per ar rea unit. However. showed that alg gae farm need less fert m tilizer and freshw water. Being able to e grow at high rate in conditions like wastewater an saltwater. NO3−. which around 30. Algae producti . thanks to their simple structur can grow fas in re st hars condition. Al lgae and algae fuel as solutio d s on fo clean a or and rene ewable e energy 2. 2. they can c cap pture solar pow wer and carbon dioxide and convert them to oxy ygen and biomass. What is Algae . called microalgae. up to 3 300 times to th of conventio hat onal bio-fuel sources like soybean. n are more ideal for b bio-fuel product tion. oid University of Virgin (Jan 2010) has just carrie out a report on nia ed Env vironmental Scie ence & Techno ology looking int energy cost and to a env vironmental impa acts of algae fuel production an compare to that nd t of c corn. Alga are a large group of aquatic simple specie from unicellu ae es ular to m multicellular form Like plants. bas sed on laborato experiments (Hartman.
Algae can be cultivated in different systems. like open ponds or closed environment like photo-bioreactors (PBRs). PRBs have better control of conditions and growth. Current Algae Biodiesel Production Process Among algae fuel products. algae need to be provided adequate temperature. like the application of sundrying. A complete biodiesel production from algae includes 5 stages: cultivation. biomass processing. Figure 2: Algae Biodiesel Production Process .1. due to the small scale. harvesting. PBRs are not yet considered a superior technology to open ponds. 1). spray-drying. appearance of other biotic factors like bacteria or virus. Biomass Processing and Oil Extraction: biomass processing involves the dehydration of biomass. Oil is then extracted from biomass for biodiesel production. which can extract to 98% fatty acids from biomass (Hartman. Cultivation and Harvesting: In order to grow at ideal rate. the most common is bio-diesel. technical setback like leakage. General solvents used are hexane. CO2. Future scenario of algae culture is the combination of both technologies. overheating and bio-foul. However. where and which is decided based on the conditions of the site. 2008). PBRs are more flexible and allow adjustments to suit the characteristics of different algae species. open ponds has lower cost to build and higher capability in volume and durability. 2010). prevent CO2 and water lost while restrict contamination from outside. pH. ethanol (96%). New extraction methods including the use of ultrasonic and microwave are being studied. They can also allow higher densities and concentrations.3. chemicals. originally in form of lipids and fatty acids using solvents. Economic Biodiesel from Algae 3. or a hexane–ethanol (96%) mixture. Other elements can affect algae growth are content of O2. Compared to the closed reactors. sunlight and nutrients. However. The experiments in these method result higher efficiency in oil extraction and reduce the chemical required to be added. therefore possess higher productivity (Mata et al. oil extraction and biodiesel production by transesterification (Fig. high installation and operation cost. open ponds can be affected by changes in weather and other contaminators. According to design. or drum-drying.
(2006) from Axens. which could be a turning point in biodiesel production. However. This solid catalyst is a mixture of metal oxide developed by the research team. there are no water disposal costs. called “continuously flowing fixed-bed method” achieved considerable reduction in processing cost. the lead researcher of the project. and the process is considerably faster.Y. This method. Although the appearance of a catalyst is not always mandatory. it helps to enhance the reaction rate to achieve higher productivity. Generally. which can effectively remove the step previously mentioned. said Ben Wen (2009). carried out by researchers from United Environment and Energy LLC. France also introduced the Esterfip-H process of high quality glycerin production via heterogeneous solid catalyst. Continuous method has some advantages to batch methods. concentration and products quality. A recently method which has been developed by United Environment and Energy LLC utilize solid catalysts to achieve an economic biodiesel production process. including higher capability to control growth rate. Lastly. The main feature of Wen’s continuously flowing fixed-bed method is the use of solid catalyst utilizing solid catalyst. it is required that these catalysts are to be neutralized to purify the final product by using mineral acid. Unlike liquid catalysts. this step adds extra cost of labor. Prior to Wen’s project. Bloch M. Continuously flowing fixed-bed method Bernstein (2009) reported a development in biodiesel processing technology. N. algae oil is converted to alkyl esters and glycerol through the transesterification reaction (Fig. making this fuel economically and environmentally viable in the future. "This is the first economical way to produce biodiesel from algae oil. which has high biodiesel yield." Figure 3: Transesterification Reaction 3. Ph. 2) with the aid of a catalyst.D. (2006) demonstrated the use of solid base catalyst in triglyceride transesterification. In the Bio-Oil International Conference. and so renders this fuel less desirable in the investors’ cost-benefit point of view. material and time to the overall production process. it generates wastewater from the washing reaction. Mass ratio of output biodiesel product to input oil is about 1:1. thus allow the process flows undisrupted.2. et al.. ." Said Ben Wen. solid catalyst can be used again and again without having to be neutralized by additional chemical. In addition. He concluded that heterogeneous catalysts have potential to lower biodiesel production cost. "It costs much less than conventional processes because you would need a much smaller factory. high glycerol quality and simplified operations. therefore give biodiesel economically competence to its fossil counterpart.Biodiesel conversion: After being extracted from biomass. This is called neutralization washing step. liquid catalysts (NaOH or KOH) are used to improve the reaction rate. The normally used catalyst is NaOH or KOH. there is the risk that contaminant possibly remains in the product. It even significantly contributes to the overall cost of algae biodiesel production. Lotero. vice president of United Environment and Energy LLC. Horseheads. According to Wen (2009).
They include GHG reduction. Unfortunately. crude oil prices has the trend to keep rising over time.3. like happened in Jan 2009. 4. Looking into the interest of investors. it can be considered non CO2 emission because the CO2 emitted in algae biodiesel combustion balance that converted by the algae itself through photosynthesis. 2010).4. They are providing funds for researches trying to lower the capital and operational cost of algae fuel production. the innovative method developed by Wen’s group promised a reduced cost installation. as fossil oil reserves is limited and depleting.2. Investment Biodiesel from algae. biodiesel. Besides. Production With high productivity. algae culture can provide a sustainable feedstock for algae fuel industry. Environmental benefits Apart from direct economical benefits. and environmental benefits we can determine whether algae fuel is a preferable alternative to conventional diesel. generally follows the crude oil prices. which is derived from mineral oil. et al. Yet. petroleum will surpass biodiesel in cost. if being generally applied.1. 4. this industry will attract investors and replace petroleum diesel in the market. with adequate supply of water and nutrients. Biodiesel processing plant currently has considerable capital cost. Such supply can include cheap sources of CO2 and high-nutrients waste water from industrial activities. can fill the gap of cost-benefit efficiency in algae biodiesel production. with its advantages is a promising alternative fuel to fossil diesel. For instance. (Fig. As oil price keep rising. USA. highest since October 2008. non-direct environmental benefits are the features that make algae fuel desirable. The discussed “continuously flowing fixed-bed method” is claimed to achieve to 40% reduction in processing cost compared to existing methods. Ben Wen’s project is funded by The National Science Foundation. Naturally. people seem interested in biodiesel but they turn their back to it at any moment the crude oil price fall. water disposal equipment and operation costs are also terminated. Petroleum diesel. losing its commercial competence. Applying algae cultivation system as part of . 3) Nonetheless. This innovation. being a renewable and environmentally fuel. Sooner or later. wastewater and flue gas treatment solution. Evaluation: This section aims to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of biodiesel compared to conventional diesel in near future. With the design of efficient processing plant units.. On the other hand. investors have always been dissuaded from investing into this product by the high cost of processing. While biodiesel performance compared to diesel is not significantly different. Figure 4: Open pond vs Bio-Reactor Cultivation 4. the economic efficiency of production and market. algae biodiesel production can be widely developed and satisfy the fuel demands in near future. without the catalyst neutralization washing step. and less impact on agriculture than other terrestrial crop (Booth. 2005: 39-46). attracts the concerns of governments and organizations. It hits the peak again in March 2010 at close to 84 USD per barrel (AFP News Agency. Large scale system will give the best performance and reduced cost for algae cultivation.
4. global biodiesel industry will grow to 3. Applied on diesel market. It also stated that biofuel market will grow to 12. Attracting considerable amount of concern and investment. algae has the potential to reign as the major source of bio-fuel feedstock. which contributes to 15% of total world CO2 emission. Market Currently." said Tim Zenk. "There needs to be policy work done to incorporate these new concepts like algae. it means that 5% must be biodiesel. there is nothing could prevent bio-fuel from taking over conventional petroleum based fuel. which is an organism that actually consumes large amounts of carbon in the process of creating a liquid transportation fuel. India estimated that by 2017. Compared to other sources in costeffectiveness issues and environmental impacts.4. algae fuel industry is preparing to bloom in this century. Energy Policy Act of 2005 in USA and Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation in Europe demands that a proportion of renewable fuel must be included in all transportation fuel.900 million gallon. industrial activities wastewater treatment can effectively mitigate industrial CO2 emission. much more efforts need to be done before algae fuel could totally get into current energy infrastructure system. This information anticipates a good future market for algae fuel production. However. Global Biofuel Market Analysis (2008) from Bharat Book Bureau. to the next few decades. vice president of corporate affairs at Sapphire. (2009) Figure 5: Diesel and Crude Oil prize .3%. When the cost-effectiveness mathematic is solved.
Through photosynthesis. A particular technology. is said to be able to solve this problem. contributing to global energy security and environmental sustainability. algae biodiesel will be commercially viable and able to replace diesel in the market. thus reduce impact on arable land and fresh water for agriculture. They can be cultivated in wastewater and saltwater. If this technology should be applied widely. the researchers claimed to be able to reduce at maximum 40% of processing cost. especially biodiesel. Biofuel is considered the most reasonable alternation for conventional petroleum fuel. biofuel is renewable and contributes to the GHG reduction in global scale.5. Biodiesel from algae has a significant setback in competency to petroleum diesel. using contaminants in water as nutrients. . higher productivity per area unit and rapid growth rate than other biodiesel sources. Algae have many qualities to serve as the feedstock for biofuel production. Conclusion The rising energy consumption and environmental issues. Using solid catalyst in its transesterification process. it has the potential to make biodiesel from algae the alternative fuel for fossil diesel. They have higher oil yield per mass. which is the high cost in processing. presented by a group of researchers from United Environment and Energy LLC. the foreseen depletion of fossil fuel encourage the world to consider renewable alternative energy sources. If this gap will somehow be filled. they fix carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Derived from biomass.
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