Archive for the “Oil from Algae” Category

I’ve been very skeptical about the viability of getting fuel from algae. Now it seems Exxon is cutting its losses on algae biofuels after investing over $100 million only to find that it couldn’t achieve commercial viability. They were planning to invest a lot more (as reported by the NYTimes in 2009, up to $600 […]

Oil from algae (oilgae?) isn’t going anywhere, as I’ve been writing and as the NYTimes highlights in a recent article beginning with the bankruptcy of one “standard-bearer for the algae revolution,” which lost $70 million because, as the Times put it the claims of algae biofuel companies get ahead of the science

I’m dubious about the idea of getting biodiesel from sewage sludge, as is recently being touted. One reason I’m dubious is that we’ve yet to see a proper demonstration of the feasibility of getting oil from algae. Given that sewage sludge is a much more complicated beast, I don’t see its promise as a source […]

The algae industry is but one example of the crying need for independent evaluation of claims before we expend even more tax dollars on them. I’ll get to an important precedent for this approach in a moment. The algae industry is on a tear, crying crocodile tears about tax incentives. Thus we see them as […]

As the Guardian reports, DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency says it is just months away from producing a jet fuel from algae for the same cost as its fossil-fuel equivalent. This is astounding news, and I’d like to know what assumptions are operating here.

As reported yesterday in ScienceDaily here, With many companies investing heavily in algae-based biofuels, researchers from the University of Virginia’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering have found there are significant environmental hurdles to overcome before fuel production ramps up. The ScienceDaily article summarizes some aspects of a paper by Clarens, et al., “Environmental Life […]

The entrepreneurs are very busy in the area of oil-from-algae. There’s a huge cast of characters involved in this effort, which I really do hope pans out, but which I think still has significant technical challenges to overcome. This field is an interesting microcosm of many aspects of our age. One way to make money […]

The main logjam (there are others) in terms of the viability of getting fuel from algae lies with separating the hydrocarbons (lipids, or fats) from the rest of the green mix, which is largely water. I’ve spent a fair amount of time looking at how to dewater sludges, and it’s a difficult process because the […]

I’ve had some response to my post expressing some skepticism about the viability of oil from algae. One reader suggested the cost of fuel from the process is in the range of $1.50 a gallon. Of course, if that were true, we’d likely see a lot of algae farms out there. In fact, because of […]