As energy costs continue to rise, Touchstone Research Laboratory may have the answer to reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil: algae.
Now, Triadelphia-based Touchstone will participate in a $15 million U.S. Department of Energy program for Advancements in Sustainable Algal Production.
The goal of the program is to have test beds across the country growing algae in different environments to understand how various new technologies perform in different environments. The department’s companies and research institutes will now have access to facilities and data from long-term algal cultivation trials for use in establishing a realistic and coherent state of technology for algal biofuels.
Algae.Tec Ltd. (AEB), a producer of algal oils used in clean fuel, plans to raise as much as $600 million and win fuel supply deals allowing it to build as many as six factories by 2015 in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Australia and the U.S.
“We will be using different project finance structures for all of these projects and they’ll all be roughly $100 million,” Chairman Roger Stroud said by phone from Sao Paulo.
Airlines in July 2011 won approval from the U.S. technical standards body to fly passenger planes using compounds made from inedible plants and organic waste mixed with petroleum-derived fuel. The ruling allows for blends of up to 50 percent biofuel. Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA) in July 2011 became the world’s first carrier to offer routine scheduled flights running on biofuel.
Sapphire Energy, Inc., one of the world leaders in algae-based green crude oil production, today announced the first phase of its Green Crude Farm, the world’s first commercial demonstration algae-to-energy facility, is now operational. Construction of this first phase, which began on June 1, 2011, was completed on time and on budget.
When completed, the facility will produce 1.5 million gallons per year of crude oil and consist of approximately 300 acres of algae cultivation ponds and processing facilities. By reaching this key milestone, Sapphire Energy is on target to make algae-based Green Crude a viable alternative fuel solution capable of significantly reducing the nation’s need for foreign crude oil, which will serve as the blueprint for scalable algae biofuel facilities globally.
Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego (Scripps) have entered into an agreement focusing on the design of an innovative system in which algae consume carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from natural gas combustion and cost-effectively convert it into valuable byproducts such as biomethane, biodiesel and animal feed.
The new collaboration between Scripps and SoCalGas includes an investigative research and systems engineering study to explore how algae production systems currently in development could most effectively capture industrial CO2 emissions. Targeted CO2 sources include: natural gas power plants, large engines used in natural gas compression and water pumping and boilers used to produce steam for industrial processes such as enhanced oil recovery.
The Algae.Tec advanced engineered algae to biofuels facility Shoalhaven One was officially opened today by the New South Wales Minister for Resources and Energy the Honourable Chris Hartcher, MP.
A VIP crowd including executives from the University of Wollongong, the Manildra Group, the renewable energy investment community, shareholders and coal and biofuels association representatives attended the official ceremony at Nowra, south of Sydney.
Algae.Tec is an advanced algae to biofuels company with a high-yield, enclosed and scalable algae growth and harvesting system. The showcase facility is connected into the Manildra Group waste carbon dioxide, which is used in the algae growth process.
To officially commission the facility, Minister Hartcher activated the hi-tech lighting system that delivers the Algae.Tec super yield capabilities.
$10 million project aims to grow algae for biofuels inside plastic bags.
Shortly, NASA will show off some of its latest technology: a system for growing algae in floating plastic bags. The system is the result of a $10 million, two-year project that investigated whether the algae could be used to make biofuels, including jet fuel.
The system is designed to reduce the cost of making fuel from algae by making it possible to put algae farms near wastewater facilities, which offer a large source of nutrients.
Robert Henrikson and Mark Edwards announced seven prize winners of the International Algae Competition at a special event on April 12 at the Algae Technology Platform Conference in San Diego, CA. Juror scoring was very close. There were ties for first place prizes.
Beyond these prizes, competition winners, finalists and many entries will be recognized in upcoming media news releases, articles, videos, publications, exhibitions and Imagine Our Algae Future, a full color book based on the International Algae Competition to be available soon on Amazon.com.
Dr Peter Heffernan CEO, Marine Institute, and Prof Ian Wright, Deputy Director, Science and Technology, National Oceanography Centre (UK) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), in the presence of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, TD, to foster closer co-operation and joint activities between Ireland and the UK in the area of marine research, development and innovation.
Co-operation planned is strategic and will reflect areas of mutual interest including: hydrography, seafloor and habitat mapping of the Atlantic; the development of fixed point ocean observatories; sensor development and associated platforms, and knowledge transfer and policy advice.
Minister Coveney, welcoming the MoU, re-stated the government’s view that research and innovation are key drivers of economic development and recovery as outlined in the national Consultation Document: Our Ocean Wealth – Towards on Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland (www.ouroceanwealth.ie) and the National Research Prioritisation Exercise.
Algae are getting more attention from the world of science for its possible uses as a source of alternative energy. These simple organisms are very easy to manage and have shown strong resilience to a variety of environments that would be somewhat hostile to other life forms. As such, Algae have become a popular subject for use as a form of organic power. OriginOil, a company that converts algae into fuel, is looking to show off the uses for the organism in a new pilot project that will be launched in Los Angeles, California, at some point this year.
The company is working to create an urban algae farm that will be used to grow algae from wastewater.
The Indian Ministry of Science and Technology announced the government’s first test-run of 100 percent algae-derived biodiesel in a Chevrolet Tavera, a diesel multi-utility vehicle made by General Motors for the Indian market. The event took place March 30.