The DOE is getting ready to spend $85 billion on research to create biofuels made from algae and other advanced techniques. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds will be made available "for the development of algae-based biofuels and advanced, infrastructure-compatible biofuels" that can be brought "to market in an accelerated timeframe."
When the subject of algae comes up in relation to biofuels, it's usually concerning biodiesel. That's because algae are very high in oil content. However, one of the main reasons for interest in algae is that it grows fast and consumes a significant amount of carbon dioxide. With that in mind, there is no reason algae couldn't also be used to produce ethanol. A company called Algenol has refined strains of algae specifically for ethanol production in salt water. Algenol has submitted a grant app
One of the most promising biofuel feedstocks in recent years has been algae. Algae is high in oil content, potentially providing much higher yields of fuel than any other current crop - as much as 100 times more than soy, for example. Researchers at the University of Nevada-Reno have been testing a pair of outdoor algae ponds to evaluate the viability of growing fuel algae in the region. The first phase was a success with algae growing in a pair of 5,000 gallon ponds even with overnight temperat
One of the more promising sources of biofuels in recent years has been algae. While there are a number of small scale tests along with some larger scale commercialization projects, the UK's Carbon Trust wants to accelerate the process. The Trust has launched an Algae Biodiesel Challenge with goal of making algae-sourced liquid fuels commercially viable by 2020. The first phase of the £30 million project will focus on research and development including finding the best strains of algae, yie
Algae and second-generation biofuels hold a lot of promise to getting the U.S. off of petroleum-based fuels. This certainly isn't a secret to anyone - if you need some background, you can check out our coverage of the Jan Kreider's talk at the recent Sustainable Mobility Seminar - but algae are not a huge part of the national energy dialogue.
It's not all li-ion battery tech that the federal government is givng support to these days; biofuels are getting some tax dollars as well. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced that six biofuel projects at universities around the U.S. will be getting up to $4.4 million in funding. The good news is that the money is for work in non-food cellulosic ethanol research. Full details are available after the jump, but here are some snippets:
Bio-powered flight is not the exclusive dream of San Francisco startup Solazyme. There have bee recent bio-flight advancements from Virgin Airlines, which flew from London to Amsterdam using biofuel in February, and the BioJet I. But Solazyme announced it has reached a small milestone that could make greener flying easier for everyone: it has created jet fuel from algae.
Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a "novel technology" that uses "commercially advantageous" strains of algae to make biofuels. While work on algae and biofuels is taking place around the world, UW might be on to something here, at least if we trust the investment firm Allied Minds. Allied Minds announced yesterday that it will create a new company, AXI, LLC, with the school to commercialize these strains and make biofuel with them.
Bloomfield Hills, MI-based Sequest LLC is contemplating building a pilot algae biodiesel plant in Holland (on Michigan's west side). Holland has a number of attributes that make it a good location for this particular project. Sequest wants the plant to use waste water for growing the algae and carbon-dioxide to feed it. A coal-fired power plant is in close proximity to the local water treatment plant. Michigan State University also has a research lab nearby.
Inventure Chemical and Seambiotic have announced a joint venture to create a pilot commercial plant which will use algae to produce an array of chemicals and biofuels. The plant uses CO2 as feedstock for the algae. Inventure Chemicals comes into the partnership with knowledge about second-generation biofuel manufacturing, as it has facilities in operation in Seattle, and Seambiotic brings its newly developed strains of microalgae.
If it works, this could be great/terrible. Sapphire Energy announced yesterday that they have been able to take algae and mix in sunlight, CO2 and other photosynthetic microorganisms to make 91 octane gasoline "that conforms to ASTM certification." The renewable gasoline, as Sapphire calls it, contains "high-value hydrocarbons chemically identical to those in gasoline," which could potentially lower gas prices (depending on how much it costs to make a gallon of this stuff) but won't do much for
Two companies, Holcim and Aurantia are starting a new project to reuse CO2. They take the CO2 produced by a cement plant in Jerez de la Frontera in Spain and "feed" it to microalgae which then turn around and produce biodiesel. The results of this project will be tested to assess if the carbon dioxide supplied by the cement plant is suitable for the algae. The two companies will also select the best type of algae for the project as well as assessing the viability of the project. The test will be
There are plenty of flex-fuel capable cars on the roads, but there is not nearly enough ethanol available to power all of them on the gasoline alternative. It's no secret that corn-based ethanol is not the answer to our oil woes, but if that's the case, what alternatives should we be looking closest at? Regular readers are surely aware that cellulosic ethanol is the way to go when it comes to alcohol-based fuels, but even with that process, a crop of some sort is required. Additionally, biodiese
Over the past couple of years, algae has been gaining a lot of attention as a potentially high-yield source of biodiesel fuel. As the controversy over food vs. fuel and water use grows for corn ethanol, researchers have been trying to find alternatives that don't require arable land and more energy to produce than they yield. Algae is looking like one of the best prospects with yields per acre of up to 100 times what can be achieved from soy and other crops.
At the Sundance film festival this week, Solazyme is promoting its scalable process that makes biodiesel from algae by driving a car through the busy streets of Park City, Utah. The Mercedes is fueled by Soladiesel, the Solazyme biodiesel that is "biodegradable, nontoxic and safe" and made using algae. Solazyme is working with Chevron on developing and testing the biodiesel. You can also see the Soladiesel car in Josh Tikell's Fields of Fuel documentary.
Shell Oil formed a joint venture with HR Biopetroleum called Cellana and they plan to produce biofuels from marine algae. Shell, which owns a majority stake in the venture, will start production of a demonstration facility on the Kona coast of Hawai'i Island immediately. The production volume for the facility, which is on a site leased from the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA), will be small but the main goal is to research which natural microalgae species produce the highes
Diesel fuel is a small market next to gasoline - only 40 Billion gallons a year or thereabouts compared to about 140 Billion gallons. Still 40 Billion is nothing to laugh at. Biofuels production in the U.S. is still under one billion gals/year. In all of Europe it is 1.4 billion gallons. To ramp up production may cause as much disturbance in soy and other oil-rich crops as ethanol has caused in corn and other food prices. But algae, well that's another story. It grows where and when people don't