Sunday, February 22, 2009

Assesing Biofuel-Algae.





(This picture showed a kind of algae blooming freely in open pond)

Today, Biofuel,alternative energy,green energy,clean energy,green investments and development are top agenda and already all is looking very promising.

When the traditional fossil fuel which had been for centuries abundant and surplus, cheap and affordable are now being barricading chiefly for the reasons that needs attention.
One of the major reason is depleting fuel reserves worldwide while at the same time a dynamic rising demand world over as more and more people are using machines and as technologies, and human life is made to depend entirely on fuel.As development progressed day by day in diverse countries worldwide, fossil fuel used per day has tripled and in many cases demand exceeds production causing imbalance commerce causing economic havoc that ripple effect across the nations.


(This picture showed my algae crude lipid resembling like the crude oil from under ground)
The second major reason stems from pollution oriented from which climate change campaign is directly involved.From this end, many believed that the use of fossil fuel adds more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere(0.03% current composition has not being significantly changed) absorbs heat radiation from the sun (CO2 specific heat capacity/thermal conductivity varies with temperature /pressure) and instead of sending back into the space it keeps back resulting in rising temperature causing ice reserves in the north and south poles to melt which gives sea level rise.
Thirdly, countries are checking their checking their financial records that showed hundreds of millions of dollars on fuel imports per year and how long they are relying would pay of half their earnings,furthermore, tight policies due to fuel politics and power play that is directly threatening immediate future.
These and other reasons are stemming a lot of research and developments into new biofuel projects worldwide. Already, there are vehicles including planes, both commercial and military which are being used due to unique fuel properties better than fossil fuel.

The booming mushroom increase in developments past 12 months has really upset fossil fuel producers, as a results the prices per barrel had been reduced right up from about 200 dollars to 50 dollars aiming only to scare the investors.The same scenario happened in 1980s when alcohol or bioethanol woke up to challenge the fossil fuel and investors and developers were scared off when priced was dipped to 30 dollars per barrel. The oil producers are smart to monopolise the market.
This time when biodiesel,bioethanol,biobuthanol,biogas, and other biomass produced via specialised ways has all now faced with the same old tricks again.
But we must learn from history to decide our future. The question of fuel is very important today when there is time.
Researches are indicating a lot of potential sources from which biofuel basically for our cars /generators/homes-stoves and lighting house etc..can be derived.These are in one aspect all renewable and clean energy, for instance, biodiesel from canola oil,jatropha, or other oilseeds are potential. However,one must decide and choose by better analysis on their sustainability,affordability or viability,checking its cost ,resources ,time,socio-economic aspects etc..These are the factors that need considering to identify and implement such that the identified source can adequately meet environment ,social and market criteria to be profitable and affordable at the market.
(This pictures jatropha nursery and its fruits from which biofuel is made top and bottom respectively) Wood chip or related matter is another easy source from which bioethanol can be derived by utilizing enzymes that convert the wood chip to simple digestible units that yeast can use to excrete bioethanol for usage, such is multi stage whereby a lot of machines and resource are utilized to give the final product. The price tag on the final product may depend on the amount of money used plus the mark up price, this means the life of the operation depends on minimizing cost and making the by product more affordable at the market or involve expensive cost and increase price tag that may deemed unprofitable and unsustainable.
Cassava biofuel must also follow the same route to be profitable or not. From planting, space,yield,fertilization,time,processing, labour and other related either office ,field work,processing or engineering sum up to two most important issues.Firstly the cost involved throughout,secondly how much unit energy is invested from a tractor using fuel energy right to conveyor belts ,a motor using electric power to all power all in the processing plants to the transport that deliver the final product.
How much energy is input and how much energy is out put and and what percentage which from that one can identify as whether or not this project is profitable,sustainable or the product value.
There are some other minor mistakes that will have socio-economic impacts on the such as fertilization and leaching,land space and population involved that may used up all their available land denying other essential crops supply and market plus others that may emerge depending on their location of the energy farms,locality , micro-climate ,ecosystems,food chains which may become as due to land clearing. However, handful being manageable the factors for considering an alternative clean energy source depends on which alternative is chosen.(Cassava farm and a its tuber, bioethanol is from made from this source,below)

One of the attention focused clean energy alternative is algae. According to recent statistics and researches, algae is shown to be the best alternative for handful of reasons that others will not close up near. One of this is the fact that algae can give energy or basically the energy fuel compound called crude lipid is 50-100 times greater. This means, for instance, if oil palm gives 10 tons per hectare per year (not true figure), algae is going 500-5000 tons per hectare per year. One could do simple math for just 10 hectares and compare to your own nation's yearly demand!
In my research , this hungry algae can consume any carbon source (sugar/molasses/ other waste) or even carbon dioxide to repay back double in less than 7 days! This is the magic since no plant can one cultivate within 7 days after which is ready to use. On a continuous couple of batches, the production and processing can go 24 hours Sunday to Sunday 12 months a year production especially in the tropics, this will produce more than the demand, fossil fuel dependency can be cut off and independently fuel free in one's own right. The money used for fuel purchase can be diverted to alleviating poverty, developments and increasing living standards for all.
This is the picture seen by many of the countries today, including Papua New Guinea very neighbour , Indonesia is ferociously investing and developing algae biodiesel while not one such is yet discussed in Leader's House Meeting yet after sky rocketing price of living as instigated by fuel price.
Given the body mass of the algae is 50% or more means it is all biodiesel, even now with developing genetic engineering more option is available to make the algae obey to our desire by increasing more crude lipid content per cell or growing more faster by metabolic engineering or making them to use alternative indigestible carbon source to be used efficiently reducing potential pollution pollutants and giving us our fuel.
Recently Ukraine declared as going algae development for biofuel,the Prime minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko declared as her country must develop or perish given the energy crisis.

Their appointed developers as known of the algae sternly believed that algae can sustain their dependency on the foreign fuel if developed because of the the very high potential of 50 -100 times energy yield whencompared to any other energy crop so far. The algae will not only biodiesel but also bioethanol and biogas from the same algal biomass.
The Kiev(Capital) Institute of Automation group stated that they have already done the design documentation and now going ready to establish the pilot production from the algae.
Algae is carbon sequestrating or removing carbon dioxide in exchange for fuel.Given the fact that different algae has different crude lipid content and different crude lipid carbon chains is preferable if for instance if one like to make fuel for aeroplanes then a selected algae strain is grown, or for vehicle . From stand point of oil, lipid is very high, algae grown n the bioreactors are very efficient then those grown in the ponds basically due to poor penetration of light ,unequal which slows growth rate, or rapid evaporation of water that needs replacing or further more, due to contamination of other algae from the air that come into contact with the algae and compete with the tamed one.

Bioreactors or photobioreactors are deemed very efficient and seem to to be the technology for thei centruy when fuel cam be cultured by this technology and mass supply.

America is now going all for alternative energy development t and algae is taking bigger share of the attention fuel as the next generation.

Solazyme has promised to mass produce algae biomass for fuel in three years from now as reported and is remaining very promising given the tends world wide on biofuel issues.This was also one of the companies that had produced first algae jet fuel.

PetroSun is another mighty company that is taking the opportunity forward in eco friendly for the next generation fuel by making available algae to fuel technologies, its progress is highly positive.

Since algae does not require larger space comparing to marginal soya bean for fuel for instance, it remain the only option for clean energy development. The world is now at the edge where one has to develop biofuel or import from others, the latter may not be a very good option as it will always be expensive.The former ,however, seem to be the option, as we continue to increase our need for more fuel ,more problems await those who do not wake up to the first fuel alarm.

Today we have no option but must develop one or another because fossil fuel will not remain forever.