Algae to be Used for Cheap Ethanol Production

By on June 29th, 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009 11:40

algenol_2_bennj_69The companies Algenol Biofuels and Dow Chemical have partnered to build algae farms that can turn carbon dioxide into ethanol as a vehicle fuel or an ingredient in plastics. The team has announced that they will build a demonstration plant that would effectively convert CO2 into fuel.

The plant is worth applause not just because of the end result, but also because algae cultivation doesn’t require much space and the output can be produced in an efficient manner. The companies plan to grow algae in “bioreactors,” which are actually troughs covered with flexible plastic and filled with saltwater. The water is saturated with carbon dioxide, which helps algae grow. The algae that grows inside these bioreactors uses photosynthesis to convert CO2 and water into ethanol, oxygen and fresh water.

The oxygen generated can be used to burn coal in a power plant in a much cleaner way, and the carbon dioxide emitted by the burning of coal can in turn be fed into the algae bioreactor for the process to continue in a carbon neutral way. Currently the company has about 40 bioreactors in Florida and they plan to install 3,100 units on a 24-acre site at Dow’s Freeport, Tex., site.

Algenol Biofuels believes that their demonstration plant can produce over 100,000 gallons of ethanol each year with the cost being as low as $1 a gallon. “We give them the oxygen, we get very pure carbon dioxide, and the output is very cheap ethanol,” said Mr. Woods, who said the target price was $1 a gallon.

Source: Ecofriend


Posted in category Ethanol
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3 Responses to “Algae to be Used for Cheap Ethanol Production”

  1. Alternative Energy Source News says:

    July 5th, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Is Algenol Biofuels listed on the stock market? If true this will be truely a huge innovation.

  2. Mike says:

    August 5th, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    By producing biofuel from seawater or even wastewater how much of the water is used in the fuel? How much seawater will disappear each year? What will it do to the oceans, say over a 20 time period? It sounds like a great way to produce fuel but is it just going to create another very serious problem. Such as depleting the worlds oceans? Thank You!

  3. Jacqueline Cerny says:

    August 29th, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Making Ethanol from Algae is wonderful. I love my E-85 Chevy, but it is sometimes hard to find an E-85 station. By making more E-85; it would then be available in more areas. As the demand grew, it became hard to find used corn oil, now with them using \"pond scum\" and sea water, as well as other stuff that use to be hard to get rid of — GREAT FOR THE ENVIRONMENT and WONDERS for my wallet. The fuel distribution is already in place and easy; unlike the electric recharge cars. The gas station near our home sells E-85 for $.50 a gallon cheaper than gasoline. I love it as I notice no difference in city mileage, and only a minor difference in highway mileage.

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