Algae Biodiesel Company Opens First Large Greenhouse
October 21, 2008 11:10 AM
comment(s) - last by
GreenFuel experimented with growing algae in tubes and bags at its Arizona pilot farm. While most of its competitors are sticking to these methods, GreenFuels has developed a closely-guarded greenhouse technologies which grows algae at higher yields and an automated system to harvest the crop. It will be debutting this setup at a commercial scale plant in Spain, to be complete in 2011.
Algae company's harvest will make biodiesel, nutritious livestock feed
Many in the alternative fuels industry agree that algae is where the mid-range future of the biodiesel industry lies. While fuels such as ethanol and
may prevail in the short term, algae is seen as the final stepping stone before full synthetic gasoline production. This value is due to
algae's ability to grow rich long chain hydrocarbons
. When algae is genetically engineered, it can produce large amounts of oil that is essentially diesel grade.
The big question with algae tech is not whether it will arrive, but when it will arrive.
had previously followed Cambridge, Mass. based GreenFuel Technologies'
effort to bring its specially bred algae to the market
. The company, founded by MIT graduates, had built a pilot farm in Arizona, previously. By growing algae in tubes, it found that algae would get optimal sun exposure. Its only problem was that it grew too much algae, blocking out light, and eventually killing part of the crop.
Now GreenFuel is taking its experience and has become the first algae company to announce a profitable business deal and the construction of a commercial scale growth facility. Spain's Aurantia, a leading alternative energy investment firm, has agreed to pay GreenFuels $92M to build a 100 hectacre (250 acre) algae farm. The farm will produce 25,000 tons of biomass yearly.
GreenFuel, which recently celebrated its 7th anniversary, already has a 100 square-meter prototype greenhouse operating at the site in Spain. GreenFuel ditched the growing tubes, opting for a top-secret tubeless proprietary growing process, one which includes automated harvesting. Thus far the company has declined to reveal the secretive workings of this new design.
It has, however, announced its intention to scale the production up quickly. It plans to have a 1,000 square-meter installation online by the end of the year. The full farm is scheduled to be completed by 2011.
The plant will take carbon dioxide emissions from the nearby Holcim cement plant near Jerez, Spain and use it to increase algae yields. This will cut down on Holcim cement plant near Jerez, Spain, almost 10 percent of the factory's output. This will help the factory meet tougher emissions standards.
The developers are in the process of selecting which strains of algae to grow. Certain strains are optimized for biodiesel production; bred to produce extra oil. Other strains produce extra nutrients like protein and make for more nutritious animal feed.
CEO Simon Upfill-Brown acknowledges that the field is full of overly optimistic visions, but insists his company is firmly grounded in reality and a series of successful trials. He states, "Some people are making clearly outrageous claims. We're at the stage where we can say we are pretty comfortable and very optimistic that we're getting all the way there in phases."
One trouble spot for the upcoming farm is falling gas prices. With gas low, it may be harder for the farm's biodiesel production to be economically competitive. This was cited as the resaon for rival Imperium Renewables' delay of its plan to launch a smaller algae farm in Hawaii.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Diesel prices are somewhat higher than gasoline...
10/21/2008 4:51:13 PM
I believe you can also use catalyst to "crack" the diesel and increase your gasoline yield. All you are doing is breaking down the heavier molecules into the smaller ones of gasoline. ( for example. Of the straight chain hydrocarbons you can take one 30 carbon length hydrocarbon found in diesel and make three 10 carbon length hydrocarbons found in gasoline.)
So if the demand for gasoline is higher and you produce more of it, there is less diesel and heating oil for those markets driving the price up. This is what they are talking about when the say they are switching the refineries over to heating oil production in the winter. They are doing less "cracking" and improving the kerosene range yield. If they do not use the catalyst then they are doing a simple distillation of the crude which will give unaltered percentages of each fraction from the crude.
"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
Inside The Magic Box -- How Coskata Will Deliver $1/Gallon Ethanol
October 14, 2008, 3:51 PM
A Green Harvest -- Teams Seek to Optimize Algae to Oil Process
August 21, 2008, 9:15 AM
Algae May Solve Ethanol vs. Gas Dilemma
May 2, 2008, 2:33 PM
Creationists are Mad About Google Doodle Depicting Evolution
November 24, 2015, 8:48 PM
DHS and TSA: Whoops, We Missed That 73 Airport Employees May be Terrorists
November 19, 2015, 2:16 PM
Star Wars Spinoff Film "Rogue One", Theme Park Attractions Announced
August 17, 2015, 12:20 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information