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Algae Cultures to Biofuels. Heather Sommers Molluscan Aquaculture April 25 th , 2007. Overview. What is Algae Basics Types Importance Making algae into a fuel source Biodiesel History Hydrogen History Biomass How to Culture. What is Algae?. Algae Simple plant Most live in water

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algae cultures to biofuels

Algae Cultures to Biofuels

Heather Sommers

Molluscan Aquaculture

April 25th, 2007

overview
Overview
  • What is Algae
    • Basics
    • Types
    • Importance
  • Making algae into a fuel source
    • Biodiesel
      • History
    • Hydrogen
      • History
    • Biomass
  • How to Culture
what is algae
What is Algae?
  • Algae
    • Simple plant
    • Most live in water
    • Photosynthetic
      • Capture light energy
      • Convert inorganic to organic matter
    • Nonvascular
    • Use lipids and oils to help float in water
    • Range from small, single-celled species to complex multicellular species, such as the giant kelps
types
Red Algae

Benthic

Macro

Green Algae

Chlorophyll a and b

Plants

Freshwater

Brown Algae

Benthic

Macro

Kelp

Marine

Diatoms

Single celled

Silica cell wall

Blue Green Algae

Vertical migration

Fix N2 from air

Freshwater

Dinoflagellates

Toxic; suck out O2

Cause red tides

Organic matter

Types
background
Background
  • Location
    • Most habitats
  • How many
    • Over 36,000 species
  • How does it feed?
    • Photosynthesis
    • All have chlorophyll
  • Uses
    • food, fertilizer, foodstock, pharmaceutical, pollution control, water treatment, dyes, agar, Fuels
biodiesel history
Biodiesel History
  • From 1978 to 1996 the U.S. Department of Energy funded a program to develop renewable transportation fuels from algae
    • The main focus of the program was known as the Aquatic Species Program (or ASP)
    • Production of biodiesel from high lipid-content algae grown in ponds
    • Utilized waste CO2 from coal fired power plants

(Department of Energy. 1996)

why make it a fuel
Why make it a fuel?
  • Algae can be used to make biodiesel
  • Produces large amounts oil
    • When compared to terrestrial crops grown for the same purpose
    • Algae contain anywhere between 2% and 40% of lipids/oils by weight
    • Once harvested, this oil can be converted into fuels for transportation, aviation or heating
  • High growth rate and easy to grow
    • Warm Seasons
      • Amphora sp.
      • Tetraselmis suecica
    • Cold Seasons
      • Monoraphidium minutum
    • Use of diatoms and green algae
harvesting biodiesel
Harvesting Biodiesel
  • Microalgae have much faster growth-rates than terrestrial crops
  • Algal-oil processes into biodiesel as easily as oil derived from land-based crops
  • Use microalgae
    • Less complex structure
    • Faster growing rate
    • High oil content
  • How to harvest
    • Open-pond systems
      • Can be difficult
      • Type of algae has to be hardy
      • Can be less hardy and grow slower
    • Use Bioreactor Tubes
    • Use existing infrastructures
      • Provides the raw materials for the system, such as CO2 and nutrients
      • Changes those wastes into resources.

(Solix BioFuels. 2006)

factories
Factories

(Enhanced Biofuels & Technologies Ltd. 2007)

how to get oil
How to get oil
  • Expeller/Press
    • Algae is dried
    • Oil content can be "pressed" out with an oil press
    • Extracts 70-75% of the oils out of algae
  • Hexane Solvent Method
    • Uses chemicals (such as hexane and methanol)
    • Can be harmful and explosive 
    • Cold press & hexane solvent = extract 95% of oil
  • Supercritical Fluid Extraction
    • CO2 is liquefied under pressure and heated to the point that it has the properties of both a liquid and gas
    • This liquefied fluid then acts as the solvent in extracting the oil
    • Can Extract almost 100% of the oils
    • Expensive equipment 
oil yield
Oil Yield

Gallons of Oil per Acre per Year

  • Corn . . . . . . . 15
  • Soybeans . . . .48
  • Safflower. . . . . 83
  • Sunflower . . . 102
  • Rapeseed. . . 127
  • Oil Palm . . . . 635
  • Micro Algae . .1850 [based on actual biomass yields]
  • Micro Algae . .5000-15000 [theoretical laboratory yield]

Cultivating Algae for Liquid Fuel Production (http://oakhavenpc.org/cultivating_algae.htm); 2005

other uses
Other Uses
  • Hydrogen
    • Algae can be grown to produce hydrogen
      • Discovered first in 1939 by Hans Gaffrom
      • Late 1990’s it was found that if sulfur deprived, algae will produce hydrogen
  • Biomass
    • Algae can be grown to produce biomass
      • Burned to produce heat and electricity
      • Can still produce greenhouse gases
biomass yield
Biomass Yield

Metric Tons per Hectare per Year

  • Algae.....51.1 [USA average, 1978]
  • Sugarcane.....79.2 [Brazilian average, 2005]
  • Sorghum.....70 [India average, 2005]
  • Cassava.....65 [Nigeria average, 1985]
  • Oil palm.....50 [Global average, 2005]

Cultivating Algae for Liquid Fuel Production (http://oakhavenpc.org/cultivating_algae.htm); NREL, 2005

importance
Importance
  • Algae is easy to grow
  • Can produce a high yield of oil
  • Oil can be processed into biodiesel
  • Help to solve dependence on fossil fuels
  • Can be better for the Earth
references
References
  • Cultivating Algae for Liquid Fuel Production (http://oakhavenpc.org/cultivating_algae.htm); NREL, 2005
  • Department of Energy, Office of Fuel Development. “Aquatic Species Program”. 1996.
  • Enhanced Biofuels & Technologies Ltd. 2007. Accessed: http://www.ebtplc.com/c4c.htm
  • Guiry, M.D. and Blunden, G. (Eds) 1991. Seaweed Resources in Europe: Uses and Potential. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-92947-6
  • Mumford, T.F. and Miura, A. 1988. 4. Porphyra as food: cultivation and economics. p.87 — 117. In Lembi, C.A. and Waaland, J.R. (Ed.) Algae and Human Affairs. 1988. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0 521 32115 8
  • John Sheehan, Terri Dunahay, John Benemann and Paul Roessler, "A Look Back at the U.S. Department of Energy's Aquatic Species Program-Bio-diesel from Algae, Closeout Report", July 1998, NREL/TP-580-24 190 http://www.nrel.gov/docs/legosti/fy98/24190.pdf
  • Michael Briggs, Widescale Biodiesel Production from Algae, University of New Hampshire, Physics Department, revised August 2004. http://www.unh.edu/p2/biodiesel/article_alge.html
  • Sheehan, J., T. Dunahay, J. Benemann, and P. Roessler. 1998. A look back at the U.S. Department of Energy’s aquatic species program - Biodiesel from algae. US Dept. Energy, Office of Fuels Development, Nat. Renewable Energy Lab., Golden, CO.
  • Solix BioFuels, 2006. accessed: http://www.solixbiofuels.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12&Itemid=26
  • Websites:
    • http://www.ecology.com/dr-jacks-natural-world/most-important-organism/index.html
    • http://journeytoforever.org/biodiesel_yield.html