Algae to oil breakthrough news.
April 20, 2009 at 4:32 pm #890
This just came in today from OOIL, otcbb traded company, http://www.originoil.com/. Interesting,…April 21, 2009 at 9:16 am #5623
Lots of talk, no concrete information.
Reading between the lines, it would seem to have a new solution for extraction. Probably some chemical that efficiently destroys the cell membranes of the algea. Could be good, it would certainly solve one big piece of the puzzle. They are going to have to wait till oil goes over the 100 mark again though.April 21, 2009 at 1:27 pm #5625
I notice they are using red and blue LED lights for growing the algae, which is what I have in mind for seastead hydroponic lighting. It seems it would still be more economical to use direct solar lighting using 3M Lightpipes for algae culture than to convert from light to electricity back to light, since algae is essentially a solar energy conversion process anyway. It would be ideal to have a solar panel which transmits the red and bluse wavelengths for plant or algae cultivation while capturing all of the other wavelengths, including UV and IR, for power generation.April 21, 2009 at 1:38 pm #5627
I’m not a big fan of using chemicals in algae harvesting, it makes things overly complicated. One of the best I’ve seen is a ultra sonic pulse that turns algae into a slurry of oil, water and biomass which just settles out or can be thrown through a centrifuge for seperation. At a lower frequency, this same device can keep the algae culture in a state of flux, ensuring a fair mix and distribution of nutrients and CO2.
If anyone has seen a PV module that allows for the transfer of red and blue wavelengths while using the remaining wavelengths for electricity generation, I would be very interested in this technology. To my knowledge no such tech exists… but I’d love to be proven wrong!!
-JasonApril 21, 2009 at 3:49 pm #5633
Using self-created light to grow algae for energy purposes is never ever going to work. Id sooner respond to a nigerian scam than take that seriously. If that is an intergral part of their approach, they are lying about appications for energy generation: itd better just be part of the test-rig.
What is your basis for the judgement ‘overly complicated’? Adding some chemical seems like the potentially most efficient approach, assuming a suitable molecule/protein exists. In theory, you could alter the algae such that they self-destruct based on a certain biochemical signal.
I am aware of the mechanical techniques, but they all have rather disappointing energy requirements, ultrasound included when you look at the figures close-up.April 22, 2009 at 1:14 pm #5645
I agree on the self created light thing… can’t work very efficiently. I’ve been following the KISS rule in designing and researching both my personal seastead as well as the technologies (like Algae) that I want working on it. KISS = Keep It Simple Stupid! To that end, Algae needs to be open to the sunlight. Keeping the system in a closed loop seems to be the most efficient method of producing Algae. Design of this system for maximized efficiency while meeting our needs is key. The leftover biomass can be burned (producing CO2 which can be reinjected into the system) as a secondary source of heat (energy). Processing micro algae to harvest the oil isn’t easy. I’ve seen a hand centrifuge and hand press provide surprisingly good results, but definitely not maximizing the yield of oil.
It’s a work in progress.
-JasonApril 22, 2009 at 3:22 pm #5648
I found a company called “LG Sound” that sells all manner of ultrasonic algae control systems. They are mainly for removing algae from ponds and pools, but they do basically what you guys are talking about…they say that their devices use “precise frequencies” that target the cellular structure of the algae.
They have one device that will work out to a distance of 150m…and a solar-powered device that works out to 185m…but some of the smaller ones would work best for a small closed-loop algae growth system I think.
Their smaller device, good for small ponds and industrial cooling towers, runs about $1k US. A bit pricey just to test, but not as bad as I thought. I’m still doing research on them so if I find anything else I’ll post it.February 9, 2010 at 2:20 am #9524
I saw this posts and starting researching other uses for algae, and its really incredible how much it could be used for. if george washington carver had focused on algae instead of peanuts, he probably wouldve made just as many if not more discoveries. it can be eaten both by people, used as feed for livestock, used as fertilizer, and made into fuel, just to name a few things. just thought id throw this out on the table: could algae be used (along with solar cells, wind turbines, and other energy sources) to power a seastead? could a small factory cost-efficiently produce “green crude” oil to power vehicles and such? ive been thinking about it, but im not sure.
sorry that i got off topic.
ZachFebruary 14, 2010 at 8:28 pm #9571
Some have expressed concern over the LED lights.
In a scientific experiment, the fewer variables you have, the better.
Like: “There is a Hot and cold area” and “There is a light and dark area”…
In this case, they want to prove they can get the algae to extract oil, so a steady stream of light looks better than a rise/fall of the sun and variance on cloudy days. People then implementing this research will either deal with longer times over day/night or have perhaps a solar charger charge up lights that’ll feed the algae at night.
If I wanted to get conspiratorial, my concern would be that would they or rather would an oil company buy this research and copyright it, but then either charge grossly or outright refuse anyone wanting to implement it? When you have a copyright, you can stop even non-commercial use of your product. IMO, the oil companies would fund such research for a while, then pull the plug on it but covet the intellectual property rights, to therefore stop any competition and ensure the next three months profits.February 15, 2010 at 2:18 am #9572
The hard part is separating the oil. It’s not like oil-seed, where you can just use a roller-press(think old-timey laundry wringer) to separate the solids from the oils. With the Sunlower oil-seed types, up th 85% of the oil comes out with simple mechanical operations. The algae doesn’t have as much oil to begin with… It’s also bound in the fluids of the algae, so it has more processing and filtering, before converting it to a usable bio-fuel.
If the algae can simply be dried and squeezed, then the oil filtered, that would be much simpler. Might need a fluidized bed air-drying system, the a roller/filter press. The dry plant material could then be pelletized for feed or fuel… First you have to increase the oil content, with either selective breeding or genetic modification. That’s already years in research, with little or no improvement.
The single most productive terrestrial oil-seed I know of is Rape. It gets turned to, now and again, but I don’t know if there’s any commercial use, other than the oil.
If you can’t swim with the big fish, stick to the reefApril 4, 2010 at 8:23 am #9977
Considering how a large number of future seasteader hopefuls are libertarians who want to set up shop in international waters I fail to see how a little thing like an oil company coveting “Intellectual Property” (or anyone else coveting intellectual property for that matter) is going to cause a problem. Since a large proportion of libertarians(at least to the best of my knowledge) see intellectual property as an attempt to homestead the physical properties of others, this will most likely lead to a manufacturing base being developed outside the jurisdiction of any one country i.e. International Waters.
This also applies to internet servers and the like hosting media and so on.
In fact the lack of intellectual property on a number of seasteads could be an extremely lucrative characteristic and one of the things that could make seasteading profitable on the long run.April 4, 2010 at 2:40 pm #9981
Libertarians are not necessarily uniformly against intellectual property. Opposition tends to come from the left. I tend to believe that intellectual property may have general economic benefits. Lots of technologies that we use everyday such as the GUI, Internet, medicines had development benefitted from protection of patents, etc. Obviously this is an area of huge philosophical debate which we probably don’t want to open here, but lots of technological progress might not have happened without some protection for new ideas and inventions. If all ideas are free of ownership, then where is the economic incentive or advantage in developing them into products since anyone can do it? If everyone owns every idea, then no one owns them, and there may not be enough potential economic reward to fund development into something practical.
Another issue is that unless an independent nation is formed, which would be many years or decades in the future, a seastead would generally fly the flag of some existing nation and generally follow its laws. Most nations are signatories to intellectual property treaties, though they don’t actually follow the practices to the same degree. One could also try to get a Taiwan flag, etc.
In practice a seastead could be a good place to innovate and create new technologies. There are probably many different ways to get oil from algae from ultrasonics, to thermal depolymerization, to radio frequency heating, to pyrolysis, etc.
April 4, 2010 at 11:19 pm #9982
Regardless of whether you believe in intellectual property or not (I’m not sure if there is any strong evidence of its overall benefits) it will be inevitable that at least some (maybe not all perhaps) of the Libertarian seastead colonies will reject the concept of intellectual property. These seasteads will then be able to avail of the niche resulting from their uniqueness.
I’ve heard that all the research pertaining to advantages/disadvantages of intellectual property has either shown intellectual property laws to be detrimental or were inconclusive. Now I can’t say for sure myself. But I do think that any country without intellectual property laws will still fully avail of technologies developed anywhere else in the world and not face the legal ramifications of further development of elsewhere patented technology. I think that havens like these would be amongst the few places that have technology developed with the customer in mind rather than just the companies own future profits as is evident from the imposed limitations placed on devices e.g incompatible chargers or other spare parts or software, region coding for DVD’s, imposed compliance with copyright laws programed into computers to prevent copying of protected media and so on (other examples are welcome). And we might in fact see universal consoles, and vehicles and lightbulbs that once again last a lifetime and so on.
Anyway I’m sure these places would make a mint from all the medical tourists who would otherwise pay an arm and leg for propriety drugs elsewhere. And while I agree that greed and self interest may be a driving force in developing wonderful new drugs as is shown by profiteering pharmaceutical companies the fear of our own mortality would in its own right be another example of self interest that could have the same effect. Only this time it might result in narrowing the research to solving the more critical medical problems(lethal diseases) while eliminating the incetive to create them(if one believes in pharma companies creating and unleashing viruses for profit).April 5, 2010 at 9:15 pm #9986
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