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## Algae to the rescue

 Quote by OmCheeto claims that they can produce 100,000 gallons of oil from algae, per acre, per year.
Uh, no. As I said, there are all sorts of wild claims out there, and many may be honest mistakes, but those sorts of yields are simply not possible.

The other pitfall is the cost per square foot of the bioreactor. Some designs apparently would work wonderfully but won't be competitive until we hit $15-$20 per gallon for gasoline.

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 Quote by OmCheeto The article stated that 1/10th of the state of New Mexico could produce all our energy needs. Today. And all we need is a bunch of cellophane.

Since NM covers about 122,000 sq miles, ten pecent would be 12,000 square miles - not too far off from what we were discussing earlier. So I wonder if you misread that and it said 10,000 gallons per acre-year...?

The US consumes about 146 billion gallons of gasoline each year. Using a 1:1 conversion, ignoring the advantages of going to diesel, and taking this over 12,000 sq miles, we would need about 19,000 gallons per acre-year. Factoring in the increased efficiency for diesel over IC engines would result in about a 30% reduction in the demand.

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 Quote by Ivan Seeking Since NM covers about 122,000 sq miles, ten pecent would be 12,000 square miles - not too far off from what we were discussing earlier. So I wonder if you misread that and it said 10,000 gallons per acre-year...?
Nope. The "advertisement" stated 100,000. I don't think it was a typo either.
On their website, they claim that a pond algae farm will produce 10k gal/acre yr.
Since their system is vertical, they presumably get 10 times the output.
Although I could not find the 100k number on their website. So that may be an interviewish kind of wishing number made up by the inventor.
 The US consumes about 146 billion gallons of gasoline each year. Using a 1:1 conversion, ignoring the advantages of going to diesel, and taking this over 12,000 sq miles, we would need about 19,000 gallons per acre-year. Factoring in the increased efficiency for diesel over IC engines would result in about a 30% reduction in the demand.

My spreadsheet has confirmed your numbers.
Odd how an area just 100x100 miles can produce enough energy to run the nation.

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 Quote by OmCheeto Since their system is vertical, they presumably get 10 times the output.
Ah, they are playing games with the footprint as opposed to height. In other words, by making a taller structure, one can capture the solar flux that would illuminate the adjacent acreage.

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 Quote by baywax Yeah, who cares. The technology will be world wide if the de-centralization factor weighs in with regard to algae as a source for energy. Then everyone can stay at home with their algae fields, forever. I wonder what the next issue to go to war about will be.
The water rights to fill up the ponds to grow the algae of course!

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 Quote by Ivan Seeking Ah, they are playing games with the footprint as opposed to height. In other words, by making a taller structure, one can capture the solar flux that would illuminate the adjacent acreage.
So where do I find some 98 octane algae?
I've been thinking about this all day.

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 Quote by DaleSpam The water rights to fill up the ponds to grow the algae of course!
Which makes a good point: In the long run it would seem to make the most sense to use salt-water algae.

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 Quote by OmCheeto So where do I find some 98 octane algae? I've been thinking about this all day.
http://www.utex.org/

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 Quote by Ivan Seeking http://www.utex.org/
ummm.....

 http://www.utex.org FAQ Q: What strains can you recommended for biodiesel? We are not studying this topic and you should check publications for information. http://www.oilgae.com/algae/oil/yield/yield.html
Well, I only need one gallon a day until my I get my poly-hybrid vehicle built.
So I'm curious about the process of turning the algae into biofuel.
But if you're not into giving out trade secrets, when does your company go public?

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 Quote by Ivan Seeking Which makes a good point: In the long run it would seem to make the most sense to use salt-water algae.
Do you have any info about the type of genetic modifications that might be done with algae for this application?
 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor Staff Emeritus There are plenty of strains of salt-water algae.

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 Quote by OmCheeto ummm..... Well, I only need one gallon a day until my I get my poly-hybrid vehicle built. So I'm curious about the process of turning the algae into biofuel. But if you're not into giving out trade secrets, when does your company go public?
Oilgae has links to all of the information that you could want. There are no simple answers, but many different approaches to each aspect of the process can be found.

We hit a bit of a delay with the company but hope to be back on track shortly.

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 Quote by Ivan Seeking Which makes a good point: In the long run it would seem to make the most sense to use salt-water algae.
That is an interesting idea. In a lot of places you have desert regions right on the coastline, that would be ideal for such algae farms. But most places you would still have to pump the water inland even though you wouldn't have to desalinate it. I bet you would still get a net gain even a hundred miles inland. Of course, I wonder what sea-water runoff would do to the land "downstream"?
 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor Staff Emeritus It seems to me that one would want to stay in the coastal areas for both of the reasons that you cited - salt contamination and energy. Why do it on land?

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 Quote by Ivan Seeking Why do it on land?
I was thinking about that too, it has several advantages. Lots of surface area available with no property rights to worry about. Plenty of water. Easy access to worldwide markets. No need to level, grade, etc.

But containment would be difficult, particularly in the open ocean and particularly during big storms.
 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor Staff Emeritus It has been suggested that the entire Salton Sea could be used for algae production, but I have no idea what the supply rate of water might be of if the idea is practical.

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 Quote by Ivan Seeking It has been suggested that the entire Salton Sea could be used for algae production, but I have no idea what the supply rate of water might be of if the idea is practical.
Heh, appears it is not supposed to be there. A big oops.
http://www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=639
 One of the world's largest inland seas, Salton Sea was created by accident in 1905 when increased flooding on the Colorado River allowed water to crash through canal barriers and for the next 18 months the entire flow of the Colorado River rushed downhill into the Salton Trough. By the time engineers were finally able to stop the breaching water in 1907, the Salton Sea had been born - 45 miles long and 20 miles wide - equalling 110 miles of shoreline. This 360 square-mile basin is a popular site for boaters, water-skiers and anglers. Most fish currently caught are Tilapia, but Corvina, Gulf Croaker and Sargo have been known to jump on a line. Kayakers, birdwatchers and other visitors can enjoy the site's many recreation opportunities. Because the sea's low altitude (227 feet below sea level), atmospheric pressure improves speed and ski boat engine performance.
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