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May 12, 2007



More scammin'. Why build an algae farm in Montana?

Algae grows faster with less sunlight? Don't they mean more diffuse sunlight? Check out the DeBeers scam on The Oil Drum.

This covered pool that has so far only stored heat is most likely located in Montana so bilked investors in South Africa can't get anywhere near it.

From the article in The Oil Drum on the DeBeers project it looks like the polycarbonate tubing they wanted to use for closed systems turned out to be too expensive. The initial cost yielded a 50 year payback and the tubes need replacement due to UV degradation in 10 to 15 years.

This covered pool scam would seem to be nothing more than a way around that cost for the con men running this scheme.


I'm really starting to wonder

If the theoretical limit of photosynthesis is limited to 11% solar efficiency.

Then why are we even looking at Algae as compared to printable solar panels?


The fundamentals for this process are all very positive. It seems only a matter of time until Green Star or someone else makes it work. The potential for algae is undeniable.

Management of large processes of "cultures" such as this have been successful in the treatment of waste sewage for years.

Many bio-cultures work best at lower temperatures than one would intuitively think. Likely this is the reason for the Montana location. In any case... who cares where it is if they can make fuel from sunlight. I wish them luck and success. If we are lucky this will spawn a new giant fuel industry for us. JohnBo


"Then why are we even looking at Algae as compared to printable solar panels?"

Grey, I think there will always be a need for some liquid type fuels for aviation, the manufacturer of plastics, etc. Oil from algea can be made into a "crude oil" from which derivatives can be extracted or formulated.

The oil patch may now be transformed into the oil farm. :) JohnBo


Well, even if you need a liquid fuel
The only way you can get jetfuel out of biomass is by gasifying it using Fischer Trophe.

If you're really hard up for liquid fuels
Why not just do a H2Car style program where you take

Water + Electrolysis + CO2

Mix em together, and presto, you got liquid fuel.

All with solar tech which is far more effecient than biomass solar energy.


But why would we even need to go that far?
Oil may be getting more scarce, but it's not like we're running on empty anytime soon.


I agree that crude oil is plentiful and will be around for many years.

I think it's a matter of economics. If algae produced products are competitive then it's viable. It's an interesting battle. I hope some of the sustainable processes can become successful. JohnBo


The snowload on that pool cover seems problematic. Not only would it likely collapse, the melting snow would lower the temperature of the algae pond and the shade would stop the growth.

I like algae biodiesel, just not these companies purporting to be developing this technology. It could be especially effective coupled with biogas digestors and solid oxide fuel cell/turbines.

The biogas feeds the fuel cells, the cO2 from the fuel cells feeds the algae, then the biodiesel is removed from the algae leaving cellulose powder that can feed the fuel cells.

Manure, garbage, farm waste, and biomass can be used in the biodigestor as feed stock to produce the biogas. Organic fertilizer is a valuable byproduct. The organic fertilizer replaces fossil based fertilizer that emits a lot of GHG in production.

And soil fertilized with the organic fertilizer will store GHG carbon out of the atmosphere, where chemical fertilizer has depleted the soil of carbon storing organic matter. Restoring the huge carbon sink effect of agricultural land lost to chemical farming.


For instance:
Sugarcane as compared to Solar Panels


Well there's also a lot of Greenhouse benefits to be had by turning "waste biomass" into charcoal fertilizer.

It doesn't readily decompose into N2O and CH4.

And it replaces fertilizers that otherwise would be petroleum based.


What about the CO2 costs? Compressed CO2 is fairly expensive. Unless direct CO2 from power plants or CO2 extracted from the air is used, the whole scheme is a useless waste of money. As it stands, the only dried blue green algae sold is the painfully expensive stuff sold in health food stores. Perhaps sterilized air could be bubbled through the algae tanks.


That's why it's best to use the algae solar biofuel setup with a biogas digestor and fuel cell. The CO2 from the fuel cell feeds the algae.

The beauty of the biogas digestor is that it accepts biomass, manure, food waste, and turns it all into biogas and organic fertilizer. Other schemes can't mix the different waste streams in the same system.

The organic fertilizer replaces fossil fuel based fertilizer that releases cO2 in production and when it is used on soil. this CO2 release happens in two ways. the chemical fertilizer breaks down organic matter in the soil that acts as a carbon sink. It also breaks down carbon sink organic matter in wetlands when it runs off the field. That's three major sources of cO2 and methane (23 times worse as a gHG than cO2) from chemical fertilizer, avoided by using organic fertilizer.

Furthermore the organic fertilizer builds the soil ecosystem and turns it back into a natural carbon sink. Prairie soil stores 1.8 tons of CO2 per year per acre. It was 20+ feet thick when settlers busted the sod for farming. Now it is mostly an inert growing medium for chemical farming laced with toxins and ready to form a huge dustbowl with the next GHG caused drought cycle.

These various savings of gHGs and sequestration of cO2 out of the atmosphere make this system the best by far. And non-toxic organic, good tasting, high quality food maybe the best byproduct.

People might actually eat more vegetables and live longer, healthier, and happier lives if those veggies tasted like they used to 40 years ago. Eaten a raw tomato from a store lately? Then you know what I mean.


There's quite a bit of speculation on Algae's potential from rather credible sources.

There's also the point that all the biofuels besides BESIDES Algae would be even worse than Oil, and cost billions of dollars to do virtually nothing in reducing our oil consumption, air pollution, or CO2 emmisions.

Infact it could quite easily make things worse.


Using biomass charcoal to replace oil based fertilizers, now thats great.

But theres no reason we can't already do that right now without algae.




If you want to learn about the latest research in turning waste biomass into char and at the same time creating a product that scrubs CO2 from stack gases and creates fertilizer that is a very long lasting carbon sink go to:www.eprida.com Danny Day at U. of Ga. in Athens Ga. has a prototype plant up and runing. (test runs of up to 100+ hours)

Jeff Sutter

The terra preda sequestration / fertilizer strategy is the best way for biomass processing schemes to become net carbon negative - a wonderful capability. The concept of collocating the biomass reactor with a biodiesel burning generator (perhaps a small turbine) gives rise to all sorts of tunable synergies: generator heat and CO2 are inputs to the reactor and the algae. O2 and biodiesel from the algae feeds the generator. The aggregate emits air - and the rest is slow pyrolyzed to char and then amoniated to make low run-off fertilizer - a dream com true. I sure hope someone like GSPI figures out how to harvest algae in its asymtotic growth phase w/o killing the small criters - that appears to be the key next step.


Green Star's algae plan is the only one that makes sense. Every high-tech trick has been tried with millions of dollars behind nearly every one. GSPI's design is simple and addresses the process variables for maintaining high growth curves. The "strain" multiplies rapidly and has fair body fat. The leftover protein makes great animal feed. The process makes oxygen. The Montana trial showed production in extreme environments. Low cost and robust process design are the keys to success. Bravo GSPI.

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I have read that The beauty of the biogas digestor is that it accepts biomass, manure, food waste, and turns it all into biogas and organic fertilizer. Other schemes can't mix the different waste streams in the same system.

Green Star

Glad to visit your bog......

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What capacity of energy they are going to get from this pound? What purpose/s this energy will serve?
Is it done yet?

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Lubechem International introduces a wide range of very high performance petroleum additives, based on components technology.

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The government needs to raise centers in every community for recycling different materials that people waste and use it to create "greener and cleaner" environment.

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Great article, I think we should aim to make all kind of wastes bio-recycled.

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