Algae fuel, impressive, it seems.

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Algae fuel, impressive, it seems.

Postby Robthebob » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:20 pm

Throwing my life away for this whole Fusion mess.

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Postby kunkmiester » Thu Jul 16, 2009 6:38 pm

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Postby MSimon » Sat Jul 18, 2009 2:40 pm


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Postby Skipjack » Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:00 pm

Yikes 32 USD per gallon?
That is insane! In order to be somewhat successful it would have to come down to at least 4 USD per gallon. That would still be quite pricey. Otherwise it would not be economic, even with lots of government subsidies.
So I hope that their research will help reduce the cost to 1/8th of the current. I do have a very strong believ in the power of genetic engineering, so I do think that it could be possible.

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Postby MSimon » Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:19 pm


D Tibbets
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Postby D Tibbets » Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:14 pm

[EDITED]
About a year ago there was a reference (from PhysicsNews?) where on a small scale, algae was grown with waste heat and CO2 from a coal plant. The alge was dried and fed back into the incinerator. This has to be substantially cheaper since the apparently expensive oil extration step can be eliminated. This operation does not yield a transportation fuel (except through batteries), but if the alge farming process can produce biodiesel at an energy profit, then direct incineration at a coal plant should be scalable (especially with vertical farming) to such an extent that eventually the coal could be eliminated from the plant entirely.
The capital and maintance costs of the farming portion of the plant might significantly increase the cost over that of mining and transporting the coal.

How much land would be needed to replace the coal in a 500 MW plant, Or at least provide a significant suppliment?
No idea, except, if you can grow 20,000 gallons of alge oil per year, it might be reasonable that you could grow 40,000 gallons of dried algae biomass (all burnable) per year/ acre. If a typical coal power plant is surrounded by ~ 1 square mile and most of that land area was used to grow algae, then ~ 25 million gallons could be produced. Convert that to dry weight, enter the difference in BTU per ton... One thing that might help in this application is that the waste heat could be used as process heat to help grow the algae and dry it.

Concerning the cost, I don't know how difficult it is to extract the vegitable oil from alge comparred to corn oil or soybean oil, but there is certainly alot more oil per pound of feedstock (~50%), so I assume it would be comparable if not cheaper per pound of oil extracted (once production was scaled up). Biodiesel from soybeans is already competative with petrolium diesel.

Some interesting information-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodiesel

Dan Tibbets
Last edited by D Tibbets on Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby MSimon » Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:43 pm


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Postby MSimon » Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:44 pm



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