December 09 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy Year: 2018 Rating: 1
Seeing a Future Beyond the Hype for Algae Bioenergy
'Algae' is often referred to as a 'Next Big Thing' category technology by cleantech investors and bio-industrialists. But I've found that most people have no real understanding of what algae 'is' or 'isn't' as a new energy solution.
I've posted six videos that should give that quick overview. Some videos contain statements that I find to be short-sighted or overly focused on near-term challenges. But overall, they describe the potential of algae bioenergy solutions in a very accessible way. Enjoy!
[Editor's note: Great video lecture via Twitter AlgaMan, Thanks!!!]
- Algae are 'original oil producers' on Earth (Video #1) - petroleum is the result of ancient sea-living microbes that arranged carbon and hydrogen into complex chains that we blow up for energy.
- Algae grow quickly using carbon dioxide (via gas, or biomass waste), light and water as their fuel source. (Video #3) Their byproduct? High energy content hydro-carbon chains.
- Algae produce tremendous yields (Est 10,000-30,000 gallons/acre/year), compared to plant based biofuels (Corn at 20/year; Palm at 800) (Video #4)
Video #1 - MIT's Algae biophotoreactor
Scientific America produced show with Alan Alda. The program was focused on hydrogen (e.g. electricity) with a special segment on algae-to-hydrogen production.
Video #2 - Solayzme
Solazyme takes a slightly different approach without direct sunlight. Their algae produce fatty acids by eating sugar - which could be huge for agricultural byproducts and organic waste.
Video #3 - Arizona's RedHawk Natural Gas Plant
This Green Fuels Technology pilot project has struggled, but the History Channel program is a good overview of integration into utility power plants.
Video #4 - Valcent
Valcent uses vertically hung 'bags' to increase surface area and manage heat/water challenges associated with algae growth. (Via CNN)
Video #5 - Research
A longer video from research perspective of UC-Berkeley scientists. Slightly dated but a nice overview
Video #6 - University of Texas
NY Times Green Inc Blogs has posted 'The Promise of Algae' an exclusive video interview with
Algae for Dummies (link) - maybe a school project? Educational, funny -- with Biblical connections. Not sure what it is really!
In German, but great visuals!
Related algae posts on The Energy Roadmap.com
Comprehensive list of algae biofuel startups
Investors betting on biological future for biofuels – We can ‘grow’ energy!
‘Growing Energy’ – TED Talk by Juan Enriquez
Steve Jurvetson: Biology and Energy are Converging & Accelerating
PetroSun developing catfish algae farm solutions
Clean Coal via algae? Bioenergy could transform China's coal industry in 20 years.
UK to invest in 'Green Oil' for 2020