Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New Ethanol Technology

Wood Chips

Wood Chips and Other Waste Can be Converted to Ethanol

Making ethanol from food doesn't save much carbon, but making ethanol from waste can save tons of carbon and potentially bring the cost of fuel down in the process. What we need are a lot of new ideas and reserach on how to squeeze the most ethanol from existing waste streams.

The Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) will begin work testing a catalyst developed by Dow Chemical of Midland, MI, that may “massively boost” cellulosic ethanol output from biomass.

The process heats biomass to high temperatures and withholds oxygen so it doesn’t burn. The output product is a mix of hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The gas can be converted using catalysts to make a variety of alcohols, including ethanol.

The Dow technology could more than double the output of ethanol from 60 – 80 gallons per ton of biomass to 130 gallons per ton of biomass.

Potential feedstocks include agricultural waste, municipal solid waste and sewage sludge.

More @: Technology Review

Monday, July 28, 2008

New Source of BioFuels


Algenol Facility - Sonoran Desert

Algenol, a private U.S. company, plans to make ethanol from algae. Most biofuel made from algae comes to us in the form of biodiesel. Algae make oil, oil is extracted and refined into biodiesel. Paul Woods, Algenol's chief executive devised a way to coax algae into secreting ethanol.

Ethanol can be extracted from the process without killing the algae.

Algenol has signed a $850 million deal with a Mexican company BioFields to grow algae, one of the planet's first life forms, that has been trained to convert water, sunlight, and the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into motor fuel.

Algenol plans to make 100 million gallons of ethanol, about the average annual capacity of one traditional US distillery, in Mexico's Sonoran Desert by the end of the 2009. By the end of 2012, it plans to increase that to 1 billion gallons.

In addition to the $850 million BioFields deal, the company has also received about US$70 million in funding from investors.

Algenol also operates the world's largest algae library in Baltimore, Maryland to study the organism that can grow in salt or fresh water, and expanding the technique to locations beyond Mexico. The company is targeting to build algae-to-ethanol farms on coasts in the United States

From Algenol:

Algenol’s DIRECT TO ETHANOL™ technology can produce ethanol at an affordable price.

1. Algenol can sell ethanol at a price that is cheaper than any other fuel all across the United States.

2. Algenol produces ethanol at a rate of over 6,000 gallons per acre per year.

• (Corn produces around 370 gallons per acre per year).

• (Sugarcane produces around 890 gallons per acre per year).

3. Algenol will exceed its target 10,000 gallons per acre per year by the end of 2008

Via: Planet Ark, Algenol