Algal Biofuels
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Algal Biofuels
Environment-friendly, renewable, not competing with food markets, sustainable. Also includes Cyanobacterial biofuels.
Curated by Marko Dolinar
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CyanoFactory project completed

CyanoFactory project completed | Algal Biofuels | Scoop.it

A 3-years EU-funded project entitled CyanoFactoy completed its activities on Nov. 30, 2015. The project was focused on novel ways of direct hydrogen production in cyanobacteria using synthetic biology.

 

Check the project website at cyanofactory.eu.

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Algal biofuel projects awarded at the 2015 R&D 100 Awards

Algal biofuel projects awarded at the 2015 R&D 100 Awards | Algal Biofuels | Scoop.it

Two projects funded by the Energy Department’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) have received awards at this year’s 2015 R&D 100 Awards. The annual “Oscars of Invention” awards recognize excellence in innovative technologies.

 

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, with Genifuel Corporation, received a prize in the processing/prototyping category for their hydrothermal process to convert wet biomass into biofuels. The innovative, breakthrough process can turn many different wet biomass feedstocks, including algae, into biocrude oil in less than 60 minutes at a high yield and with low energy costs.

 

Taking home a prize in the mechanical/materials category, as well as a R&D Magazine’s Editor’s Choice award, was National Renewable Energy Laboratory for producing ethylene—a valuable chemical precursor to plastics—from genetically engineered cyanobacteria.

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Breweries' wastewater to algal biofuels

Breweries' wastewater to algal biofuels | Algal Biofuels | Scoop.it

Algae is valuable. You can potentially sell it as medicine, fertilizer or fuel. But growing algae requires a lot of chemicals, like nitrogen and phosphorus. But these are the exact same chemicals in the wastewater from breweries.

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Microalgae map path toward renewable energy future

Microalgae map path toward renewable energy future | Algal Biofuels | Scoop.it

A team from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory set up the cyanobacterium Cyanothece 51142 in a bioreactor, limited the supply of nitrogen, and kept the lights on 24 hours a day for several weeks. The team used an array of high-tech equipment to yield biomolecular profiles of the organism as it converted light energy to hydrogen. 

In a "multi-omics experiment," combining genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics of the organism's activity, scientists scrutinized 5,303 genes and 1,360 proteins at eight separate times over the course of 48 hours as the bacteria, with limited nitrogen supply, switched on the activity of the nitrogenase protein.

Scientists found that in addition to drawing upon its previously stored energy, the organism captures light and uses that energy to split water to create hydrogen in real time. As one component of the organism is creating energy by collecting light energy, another part is using that energy simultaneously to create hydrogen.

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Innovative algal fuel Made in Germany

Synthetic fuel for vehicles was produced at the Leuna chemicals complex near Leipzig for decades. Now algae are being cultivated in photobioreactors.

Marko Dolinar's insight:

A 3-minutes video produced by Deutsche Welle.

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Summary: Algae Week in Washington

Summary: Algae Week in Washington | Algal Biofuels | Scoop.it

More algae research should be supported. This research will include studies into how to control and optimize algae biomass characteristics, and should look at how algae biomass can be best used to address resource constraints and balance global demands for food and fuel.

 

A holistic and nuanced view of algae is needed because just as certain algae can be amenable as a platform for oil and fuels, still others may be more useful to produce food, feed, chemicals, or pharmaceuticals. The takeaway here is that we need to understand the biomass resources we produce and make the best use of those resources.

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Scientists Turn Green Algae Into Biofuel at $50 a Barrel

Scientists Turn Green Algae Into Biofuel at $50 a Barrel | Algal Biofuels | Scoop.it

An Israeli company called Univerve has pioneered a cultivation system that gets ever more sunlight to speed up photosynthesis and get the algae working ever harder.

They report in the Technology journal that they bubbled air through a suspended, modular triangular structure with transparent walls so the algae get their solar energy from all sides and their oxygen at all times.

They promise green reactors holding 100 cubic meters of “production medium” or algae. There is a bonus: algae make omega-3 oils, so it could also serve the food industry and deliver cattle feed, as well as feedstock for the biofuel business.

In Montreal, Canada, researchers report in the same journal that they can tap into the photosynthesis in the tank full of algae and directly retrieve clean energy in the form of electricity. The process involves tapping into the electron transfer chains in the plant life that turn sunlight into carbon-based tissue.

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The 8-Slide Guide to the US Algae Program

he US DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office’s Algae Program is carrying out a long-term applied research and development strategy to increase the yields and lower the costs of algal biofuels by working with partners to develop new technologies, to integrate technologies at commercially-relevant scales, and conduct crosscutting analyses to understand the potential and challenges of an algal biofuel industry that is capable of annually producing billions of gallons of renewable diesel, gasoline, and jet fuels.

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MSU and ExxonMobil to advance biofuel research

MSU and ExxonMobil to advance biofuel research | Algal Biofuels | Scoop.it
A new $1 million relationship between MSU and ExxonMobil will expand research designed to progress the fundamental science required to advance algae-based fuels.
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EPA workshop on risk assessment of genetically altered algae

 

In Washington, the EPA will be hosting a public meeting entitled, “Workshop for Public Input on Considerations for Risk Assessment of Genetically Engineered Algae” on September 30, 2015. The objective of this workshop is to receive public input and comments on EPA’s data needs to support risk assessments of biotechnology products subject to oversight under the Toxic Substances Control Act that make use of genetically engineered algae and cyanobacteria.

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Genetic manipulation for algal biofuel production

Genetic manipulation for algal biofuel production | Algal Biofuels | Scoop.it

Studies of the genes involved in oil synthesis in microalgae allow scientists to use a gene promoter to increase algal production of triacylglycerols, which in turn enhances potential biofuel yields.

 

Hiroyuki Ohta at Tokyo Institute of Technology, together with scientists based at institutions across Tokyo, Japan, have uncovered a way of enhancing the production of fat-based molecules called triacylglycerols in the Nannochloropsis algal strain NIES-2145, thereby increasing oil synthesis from the microalgae.

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Energy from manure-fed algae

Energy from manure-fed algae | Algal Biofuels | Scoop.it

A long-simmering project to wring fuel and electricity from manure-fed algae at a Charlotte dairy farm warmed up Thursday with the announcement of a key partnership with Vermont's largest power utility.

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Microalgae Set to Fuel Our Cars by 2018

Microalgae Set to Fuel Our Cars by 2018 | Algal Biofuels | Scoop.it

 

researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory worked on not only replicating but speeding up the algae’s “cooking” process to the point where a small mixture of algae and water could be turned into crude in less than an hour. Completely refinable, this oil could be converted into jet fuel, gasoline, or diesel, while generating chemical elements and minerals for producing electricity, natural gas, and fertilizer to cultivate more algae. According to the Department of Energy, in order to meet the country’s entire oil consumption levels, we would need about 15,000 square miles of land — roughly the size of a state like Maryland — set aside for algae cultivation and refinement. This may sound like a lot of real estate, but if we wanted to replace diesel alone with bio-diesel from something like soybeans, it would require the use of half of the nation’s land mass.

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A power cell that harnesses electricity from algae

A power cell that harnesses electricity from algae | Algal Biofuels | Scoop.it

Scientists in Canada have used blue-green algae to energise a new kind of power cell that harnesses an electrical charge from the photosynthesis and respiration of cyanobacteria, which are the microorganisms that make up blue-green algae.

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Cyanobacterial hydrogen production dissected

Cyanobacterial hydrogen production dissected | Algal Biofuels | Scoop.it

Researchers set up Cyanothece 51142 in a bioreactor, limited the supply of nitrogen, and illuminated the vessel 24 hours a day for several weeks. The team obtained minute-by-minute profiling of the organism from an array of equipment as it processed water using light energy to generate hydrogen. The study was a "multi-omics experiment" analysing genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics of the organism's activity, as well as reaction kinetics. The team analysed data for 5303 genes and 1360 proteins at eight separate times. The organism generates hydrogen at a much higher rate than any other known natural system.

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Seaweed farms for biofuels and food

Seaweed farms for biofuels and food | Algal Biofuels | Scoop.it

Seaweed is finding many uses beyond food, from medicine to fuels, and it may be that seaweed farms will offer refuges for marine species under threat from increasing acidification. And scientists recently worked out how to cultivate green algae for biofuel in huge quantities at $50 a barrel, which is about the cost of crude oil.

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Increasing uses of genetically engineered algae spur EPA to update guidance

Increasing uses of genetically engineered algae spur EPA to update guidance | Algal Biofuels | Scoop.it
Spurred by developments in biotech, the Environmental Protection Agency is updating guidance manufacturers should use before submitting required information
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Algenol's Commercial Algal Ethanol Fuel Partnership

U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) partner Algenol signed an agreement with Protec Fuel to market and distribute commercial ethanol produced from algae for fleets and retail consumption from Algenol’s commercial demonstration module in Fort Myers, Florida.

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Duke scientists making algae biofuel more viable

Duke scientists making algae biofuel more viable | Algal Biofuels | Scoop.it

A Duke University professor has been awarded a $5.2 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to explore ways of making algae a cost efficient fuel source.The Duke-led Marine Algae Industrialization Consortium, comprised of both universities and energy companies, aims to lower the cost of algae oil, which can be used in place of fossil fuels. The team is working to identify algae proteins that can be used in protein-based nutritional products in order to make the entire algae farming process more cost-efficient.

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Cyanobacteria in the Oceans Produce Millions of Tons of Hydrocarbons Each Year

Cyanobacteria in the Oceans Produce Millions of Tons of Hydrocarbons Each Year | Algal Biofuels | Scoop.it

Scientists measured the amount of hydrocarbons in a range of laboratory-grown cyanobacteria and used the data to estimate the amount produced in the oceans.

 

Although each individual cell contains minuscule quantities of hydrocarbons, the researchers estimated that the amount produced by two of the most abundant cyanobacteria in the world - Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus - is more than two million tonnes in the ocean at any one time. This indicates that these two groups alone produce between 300 and 800 million tonnes of hydrocarbons per year, yet the concentration at any time in unpolluted areas of the oceans is tiny, thanks to other bacteria that break down the hydrocarbons as they are produced.

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A Carbon-Neutral Fuel Alternative

A Carbon-Neutral Fuel Alternative | Algal Biofuels | Scoop.it

there has been much effort from the national labs and DOE-funded projects that look at techno-economic analysis and lifecycle analyses of algal biofuels. And these projects have identified two key barriers to getting these biofuels within the cost per gallon range of gasoline: low yields of algae biofuels and high costs of producing algal biomass. “The goal for the funding provided by the DOE is getting the gasoline gallon dollar equivalent of biofuel product down to less than $5/gallon,” says Stuart. “And right now, by some estimates, it’s at around $8/gallon.”

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A demo facility shows potential of algae as sustainable energy source

A demo facility shows potential of algae as sustainable energy source | Algal Biofuels | Scoop.it

The EU-funded BIOFAT project – which runs until April 2016 – has confirmed algae's potential as a sustainable source of biofuel and bio-products with low greenhouse gas emissions. Pilot-scale processing facilities, each one-half hectare in size, were constructed in Italy and Portugal, and a scaled-up 10-hectare demonstration facility is currently being finalised.

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Fuel Made From Algae Could Help Fukushima

Fuel Made From Algae Could Help Fukushima | Algal Biofuels | Scoop.it

In the ongoing search for a non-nuclear energy, Fukushima could find a partial answer in living, green, microalgae. And algae can help the rest of the world, too.

A Japanese think tank tells the Asahi Shimbun newspaper that universities and other groups in the area are working to mass produce an algae native to Fukushima. The coastal prefecture in northern Japan suffered nuclear meltdown following the massive earthquake in 2011. Algae sucks in carbon dioxide to produce natural oil, making it an attractive biofuel. Tests have apparently shown that the Fukushima algae is able to survive cold winters, which gives algae an edge over other alternative biofuels based on corn.

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New Zealand biofuel prospects

New Zealand biofuel prospects | Algal Biofuels | Scoop.it

Among others, a recently issued report highlighted the option to use algal biomass for use as a biofuel feedstock. The idea would be to grow and harvest algae produced as part of the operation of wastewater treatment (WWTP) pond systems. The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research is currently operating a demonstration-scale pond system containing two full-scale 1 hectare high-rate algal ponds.

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DBT-Pan IIT Centre for Bioenergy in India

DBT-Pan IIT Centre for Bioenergy in India | Algal Biofuels | Scoop.it

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of science and technology, government of India has set up the DBT-Pan IIT Centre for Bioenergy, a virtual centre spread across five Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

This is the fourth centre in bioenergy research set up by DBT in addition to the DBT-IOC Centre for Advanced Bioenergy Faridabad, DBT-ICT Centre for Energy Biosciences Mumbai and DBT-ICGEB.

 

The main objective of this centre is to develop advanced technologies in the area of biofuels, paving the way for a sustainable solution to the energy crisis. The centre will undertake research activities in areas such as cyanobacterial biofuels, biofuels from micro-algae, and others.

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