Algae Back Under The Spotlight

30 03 2009

The Ohio-based company AlgaeVenture Systems announced on March 25, a new development in the production of algae into fuel that would cut the cost by 99 percent.

Algae Venture Systems

Algae Venture Systems

“For nearly 40 years, it has been widely accepted that if the cost of removing, harvesting and dewatering algae could be reduced to $50 a ton, algae could become a significant source of fuel,” said Ross Youngs, CEO of Univenture, parent corporation of AlgaeVenture Systems.

“We have demonstrated a truly disruptive technology that reduces that cost by more than 99 percent – from $875 per ton to $1.92 per ton,” Youngs said. “This breakthrough moves algae back into the spotlight as an economically viable, plentiful source of fuel.”





Italian Slime

30 03 2009

Algae

Algae

The green sludge that has clung to docks, boats and buildings throughout the old city of Venice, Italy is slowly becoming a saving grace instead of a nuisance.

Recently the city of Venice announced a 200 million euro project to build the first algae-fueled power plant.

“The algae will be cultivated in laboratories and put in plastic cylinders where water, carbon dioxide, and sunshine can trigger photosynthesis. The resulting biomass will be treated further to produce a fuel to turn turbines. The carbon dioxide produced in the process will be fed back to the algae, resulting in zero emissions from the plant.”

Algae into Fuel

Algae into Fuel





Stimulus Package To The Rescue

29 03 2009

The Environmental Protection Agency was awarded almost $100 million from the stimulus package to fund environmental programs.

The first project to receive funds was a clean-diesel program run by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which was awarded $1.73 million.

cdphe-profile





What Is Diesel

6 03 2009

I realized I’ve been writing a lot about biodiesel and diesel engines, but I’m not entirely sure how diesel is different from gasoline. Here’s what I learned:

The diesel engine was created in 1892 by Rudolf Diesel who considered vegetable seed oil as fuel for his invention.

Air Compression in Diesel Engine

Air Compression in Diesel Engine

A diesel engine is different because air is compressed (which heats it up) then fuel is injected. In a gasoline engine, both air and fuel are compressed together then ignited.

The compressed air reaches hotter temperatures in a diesel engine as opposed to a gasoline engine, thereby making the diesel engine more fuel efficient.

Fuel Injection in Diesel Engine

Fuel Injection in Diesel Engine

Biodiesel is very similar to petroleum diesel. It is made when plant oils are combined with methanol and chemically altered to make fatty acids.





Rate My Biofuel

4 03 2009

United States:
Switchgrass

Switchgrass

Switchgrass

Soybeans

Soybeans

Soybeans

Corn

Corn

Corn

Brazil:
Sugar Cane

Sugar Cane

Sugar Cane

Europe:
Sugar Beet

Sugar Beet

Sugar Beet

Wheat

Wheat

Wheat

China:
Cassava

Cassava

Cassava

Sorghum

Sorghum

Sorghum

Southeast Asia:
Miscanthus

Miscanthus

Miscanthus

Oil Palm

Palm

Palm

India:
Jathropa

Jathropha

Jathropha

Learn more about: switchgrass, soybeans, corn, sugar cane, sugar beet, wheat, cassava, sorghum, miscanthus, palm oil and jatropha.





The Magic Bean

23 02 2009
Jatropha Curcas

Jatropha Curcas

The jatropha plant is a bushy hedge that grows seed pods that contain a great amount of oil. The seeds are harvested to make biodiesel, as well as many other products including, cosmetics, paper and soap.

Jatropha and its Seeds

Jatropha and its Seeds

Unlike other plants harvested for biofuels, jatropha flourishes in arid climates and soils. “This means growing jatropha never has to compete with growing food. Also, on a per acre basis, jatropha can yield up to 10 times the amount of oil as other sources of biodiesel. It is also a perennial, lasting up to 50 years without replanting.”

Jatropha has been planted in several countries such as, India, Costa Rica and the U.S. One Florida-based company, My Dream Fuel, was recently featured in Time Magazine for its production of the plant.

My Dream Fuel Founder

"My Dream Fuel" Founder

Perhaphs the only downside is that little is known about domesticating jatropha.