Oil by Labor Day

  1. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,535
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    For those of you who know about my efforts to join the biofuels industry, we did in fact have algae oil by Labor Day, which was the goal this summer. One of my short cuts failed so for now we only got a few grams extracted, with the rest still in the algae, but a number of tests seem to confirm that the oil is there and we are within reasonable range of the target yields. I guess I will have to break down and spend some bucks to get the oil out. Nonetheless, it was cool to finally see some real oil!

    Of course we have about a thousand issues to sort out yet, but we are working the problems, and all in all our efforts have been successful. The biggest goal was to test the bioreactor design in 100+ weather and see if we could keep the algae alive and productive, which, after a few modifications, we did.

    I just harvested the second batch from a semi-scale [cross section at scale] field test reactor, that ran for two months. Even more encouraging are the number of cost and energy reductions made in the process and design. So far, overall, we are pretty much on target.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Astronuc

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    Congratulations, Ivan!

    Ever since your announcement, I can't pass a pond, especially one covered in pond scum, without thinking about you. :biggrin:

    Cheers!
     
  4. turbo

    turbo 7,366
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    Nice! I like that you might be able to scale-up without too much trouble or expense, once you've got the base stock established.
     
  5. Integral

    Integral 7,349
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    Yeah, when I see Ivan I think of pond scum too! :rofl:
     
  6. Bravo! Hopeing everything runs in your favor. I can't seem to help it either..but feel P.S.O.C {Pond Scum Oil Company} has a nice ring to it.
     
  7. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,535
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    What is this, "old men with beards gang up on Ivan day"? :biggrin:

    Thanks guys, and likewise Astro, when I drive by the decommissioned Trojan plant, I always think of you. o:)
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2007
  8. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    Integral has a beard?

    Well, I have a few more years before I'm decommissioned. :biggrin:
     
  9. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,535
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    Down to his knees. :uhh:
     
  10. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    His pics have disappeared from the Members Photo Thread. Got any?
     
  11. Integral

    Integral 7,349
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    Yeah, as long as I am sitting on my heels!

    Opps! looks I cleaned up some web space, I'll see if I can get some back up soon.
     
  12. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,535
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    Here's the funny thing, for years I have used the ultimate line to win arguments with Tsu: "You're right, I'm wrong, I'm slime." So it seems that life has come full circle, but now she has to call me Mr. Slime.
     
  13. I just did some googling to see what the extraction process entailed. There are a few different methods of varying cost and ease. Which are you experimenting with?
     
  14. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,535
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    pressure and solvents

    I just didn't have enough pressure in my rigged approach, and I didn't want to invest in a good production press until I saw some real results.

    I have a relatively cheap back-up plan that should work well. Then, once I see the oil in sufficient quantity, I'll buy a press.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2007
  15. I have no idea what kind of a press you need, but there's nothing like a large hydraulic car jack for creating great pressure.

    Edit: Here's someone's home made press for sunflower seeds:

    http://journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library/oilpress.html

    It seems to take a long time: half an hour per batch.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2007
  16. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,535
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    Yep.

    There are far more sophisticated approaches, and efficiency is a huge concern, but all in all this part of the process is relatively straight forward.

    The hardest part was keeping it alive and healthy in hot weather [this strain likes it around 68 degrees F], but that problem is solved.
     
  17. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,535
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    btw, it occurred to me that I should mention that the Trojan plant was a nuclear power plant, and not the other kind of Trojan plant. :biggrin:
     
  18. Math Is Hard

    Math Is Hard 4,915
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    oops! I had that completely wrong! Thanks for clarifying. :redface:
     
  19. Chi Meson

    Chi Meson 1,772
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    Ivan, Do you have a link to the technical aspects/statistics of algae-oil. It sounds like an interesting subject for my students.
     
  20. Thats fantastic Ivan Seeking... NOw all you need to do is find a nice alge farm in mexico or the carribean..low cost, nice weather, year round production...hire me and i will run the joint..lol
     
  21. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,535
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    Here's the bible:
    http://www1.eere.energy.gov/biomass/pdfs/biodiesel_from_algae.pdf

    It's out of date but the basis for everything done since.

    Here is a good resource
    http://www.oilgae.com/algae/oil/oil.html

    There are many different algae candidates for oil production and not much is known about many of them. Each has its own unique selection of fatty acids, so each will produce a different quality [or type of] fuel. Some contain no triglycerides, which means that these are not candidates for biodiesel, however they may be useful in other ways as a fuel source, or for the production of bio-plastics.

    There is much work to be done. Note also that this is now a competitive field and no one is going to give away their work, so specific information is often difficult or impossible to find.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2007
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