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BioDiesel from Algae

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BioDiesel from Algae. Oil Extraction. By: Kyle Fricker. Background Information. Acre-by-acre microalgae can produce 30-100 times the oil yield of soybeans for biodiesel production Algae can grow on marginal land and in brackish water - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of BioDiesel from Algae

  • Oil Extraction By:Kyle Fricker

  • Background InformationAcre-by-acre microalgae can produce 30-100 times the oil yield of soybeans for biodiesel productionAlgae can grow on marginal land and in brackish waterThe biomass left-over from oil-pressing can either be fed to cattle as a protein supplement, or fermented into ethanol (and possibly recycled into the biodiesel refining process)

  • SonicationIdea: Send ultrasonic sound waves through algae/water solution, break algal cell walls, let oil collect at the top of the liquid and skim offCurrently used in ponds to kill off troublesome algae Positive: environmentally benign, relatively low costNegative: not effective yet, most internet sources claim using ultrasound along with other methods microwaves, solvents, mechanical presses

  • Mechanical PressMortar and pestle (not very economical)Screw Press numerous online sources claim to use this method with average yieldsMust be sized quite small since algal cells are microscopicDutch company, AlgeaLink, sells screw presses along with photo reactors for growing the algae. They allege to yielding 50% oil by mass, but the cheapest press costs 7300Most industrial processes mechanically press, then treat the sludge with a solvent to extract the oil that remains

  • Osmotic ShockGrow algae in high saline solution and harvest into a sludgeAfter dumping the sludge into distilled water, the cells theoretically will burst with the mass exodus of saltsOil can then be skimmed off the surfaceI did not find any experimentation on this method, yet the theory makes sense and experimentation is relatively easy

  • Freezing & Deconstructive DecompressionIs it possible to freeze and thaw a batch of algae to break the cell wall?When they are frozen, the cells will expandOnce allowed to thaw, the change in size could rupture cell walls allowing for the lipids to be releasedSimilarly, if algae were compressed and rapidly decompressed, would the force on the cells be too much to handle?Not much, if any, research has been done on these ideas yet they are easy experiments to perform

  • Solvent ExtractionWidely used, high yieldsExpensive; deal with nasty chemicalsUsually used in conjunction withother extraction techniques

  • The PlanIt seems the best yields and time consumption can be achieved by combining a few of the aforementionedI will be looking into sonication, freezing, deconstructive decompression, and possibly osmotic shockResults will be viewed under a light microscope

  • Algae-to-BioFuelThis stuff is actually happeningPetroSun has a commercialalgae-to-biofuel plant insouthern Texas that opened in April 2008.Heres a picture of the facility taken from Google Earth

  • Fossil Fuel is Fossil Thinking


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