“first economical way to produce biodiesel from algae oil”-researcher

A  study scheduled for presentation  at the 237th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society will show “the first economical way to produce biodiesel from algae oil,”according to lead researcher Ben Wen, Ph.D., vice president of UnitedEnvironment and Energy LLC, Horseheads, N.Y quoted in Science Daily. The key is that this is a solid catalyst which speeds the transesterifcication process. The research was funded by the US National Science Foundation”, . It might apply to other lipids.

Although this may grab headlines in our part of the world. There is quite a lot of research on metal catalysts for transesterification.

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2 Responses to “first economical way to produce biodiesel from algae oil”-researcher

  1. roger vaughan 28 March, 2009 at 2:33 pm #

    This United Environment and Energy news combined with our news below makes March 2009 a big month for Algae…

    Press Release: Breakthrough Brings Algae Into Energy Spotlight

    − Ohio company slashes cost of harvesting, dewatering and drying; Reduces processing cost by more than 99 percent −

    MARYSVILLE, OH, March 23, 2009 – A technological breakthrough that dramatically reduces the cost of removing water from algae – making algae an economically feasible source of fuel – was announced today by AlgaeVenture Systems following a demonstration of the process to a select group of collaborators and funding sources.

    “For nearly 40 years, it has been widely accepted that if the cost of removing, harvesting and dewatering algae could be reduced to $50 a ton, algae could become a significant source of fuel,” said Ross Youngs, CEO of Univenture, the parent corporation of AlgaeVenture Systems.

    “Today we have demonstrated a truly disruptive technology that reduces that cost by more than 99 percent – from $875 per ton to $1.92 per ton,” Youngs said. “We believe that this breakthrough moves algae back into the spotlight as an economically viable, plentiful source of fuel in the future.”

    The AlgaeVenture Systems breakthrough comes at a time when interest in algae is on the rise. It was originally studied as an alternative energy source after the 1970s oil embargo. However, the Department of Energy determined that even though algae offered significant capability to produce biofuels, the cost was prohibitive. The Department ended its algae program in 1996, but interest was revived when oil reached record prices in 2008.

    Univenture established AlgaeVenture Systems to address the growth of algae in industrial and agricultural areas in Ohio and other areas of the Midwest that demonstrated opportunities for algae farms to be located near existing waste and waste sources. The company believes this creates the opportunity to develop a variety of products – including fuels – while cleaning up waste from land and water.

    The company’s focus is to manufacture and install simplified greenhouse ponds near power plants, wastewater plants, farm waste facilities, food processing plants and other locations where the geography and climate support algae growth year-round.

    “Algae farmers have the option to grow food, feed or fuel, and can change crops and be ready for harvest in less than 20 days,” Youngs said. “Algae can protect our fuel supplies because it can be grown virtually anywhere in the United States, and can benefit national security by decentralizing the fuel supply and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.”

    The technology developed by AlgaeVenture Systems – studying processes that exist in nature – utilizes a variety of methods of moving water, including capillary effect, cohesion, absorption and transpiration pull – the method used by trees and plants to move water from their roots to the highest growth, often hundreds of feet straight up.

    “The process is counterintuitive,” Youngs said, “because with so much water and so little algae, it is natural to want to move the algae. But moving the water instead is very efficient, and all water is recycled. In fact, there are circumstances where adding water actually improves separation and drying.”

    AlgaeVenture Systems’ prototype is scalable and portable, and can be custom made to a customer’s specifications. While it was designed specifically for microalgae, the invention is also applicable to several other separating and dewatering applications.

    More details about the technology can be found at http://www.AlgaeVS.com.

    Questions contact: Amy Bucklin / 937-645-4604

    About Univenture
    Univenture firmly believes in the conservation of both ecological and economic resources. The company is, and has been since its inception, environmentally conscious, bringing to market a variety of patented and award-winning molded and converted plastic products that are environmentally friendly. Univenture started AlgaeVenture Systems to develop technology and systems for algal production of lipids and biomass, which can be used for fuels, plastics, advanced materials, feeds, foods, and other valuable resources.

    Univenture has been designing and manufacturing converted and molded plastic products, including bio-based plastics, since its founding in 1988. The company was listed on the Inc. 500 fastest growing privately held companies five times in the 1990s, and its founder, Ross O. Youngs, was named National Business Person of the Year by the Small Business Administration in 1997. The dedicated focus of the Univenture team has resulted in numerous industry awards and accolades for its innovation, commitment to customers and sales growth.

    Univenture has corporate offices and operations in Marysville, Ohio; with offices in Reno, Nevada; Dublin, Ireland and Shenzhen, China. For more information on Univenture, visit http://www.univenture.com or call Univenture’s corporate headquarters at 800-992-8262.

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  2. Chris Johnson 29 March, 2009 at 12:38 am #


    Heartily and respectfully recommend a visit to
    http://www.evercatfuels.com. I’m not smart enough to know whether those smart people up in Minnesota actually solved the puzzle, but they appear to think so.

    Cheers, Chris Johnson

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