Algae could help to meet Kyoto standard.

CougTek

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Source.
Bolted onto the exhaust stacks of a brick-and-glass 20-megawatt power plant behind MIT's campus are rows of fat, clear tubes, each with green algae soup simmering inside.

Fed a generous helping of CO2-laden emissions, courtesy of the power plant's exhaust stack, the algae grow quickly even in the wan rays of a New England sun. The cleansed exhaust bubbles skyward, but with 40 percent less CO2 (a larger cut than the Kyoto treaty mandates) and another bonus: 86 percent less nitrous oxide.

After the CO2 is soaked up like a sponge, the algae is harvested daily. From that harvest, a combustible vegetable oil is squeezed out: biodiesel for automobiles.

[...]

For his part, Berzin calculates that just one 1,000 megawatt power plant using his system could produce more than 40 million gallons of biodiesel and 50 million gallons of ethanol a year. That would require a 2,000-acre "farm" of algae-filled tubes near the power plant. There are nearly 1,000 power plants nationwide with enough space nearby for a few hundred to a few thousand acres to grow algae and make a good profit, he says.
Of course, his idea will be bought and drawn by some oil company as it would cut their profits. Still, if there would be people with a spine, that could work great.
 

sechs

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It's a great idea, but it doesn't solve the global climate change issues.

It just runs the carbon one more time around the cycle before releasing it to the atmosphere.

Once the system is closed, things will begin to get better.
 

Stereodude

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Of course, his idea will be bought and drawn by some oil company as it would cut their profits. Still, if there would be people with a spine, that could work great.
I realize I'm replying to a post that's over 2 years old, but you are way off base. The oil companies would like nothing more than a cheap clean source of reusable energy they can sell to the public. Oil's a pain in the butt to deal with. You've got to find it, drill for it, transport it, refine it, transport it again, and finally sell it. All the while you have a single digit profit margin and are vilified by the media.

Lets say they come up with a new energy source that they don't have to find, drill, transport, or refine and there's an unlimited supply of it. Lets say instead of it costing them $3.00 a gallon to sell you gas for $3.20 a gallon it cost them $.50 a gallon to sell you this new energy source that they will sell you for $1.00 a gallon.

You think they wouldn't dump oil in a heartbeat for this new energy source? Please? They would patent every aspect of the process, machinery, and production, and laugh all the way to bank at all the people sitting on now worthless oil fields while the money rolls in at record levels they can't even dream of now.
 

udaman

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I realize I'm replying to a post that's over 2 years old, but you are way off base. The oil companies would like nothing more than a cheap clean source of reusable energy they can sell to the public. Oil's a pain in the butt to deal with. You've got to find it, drill for it, transport it, refine it, transport it again, and finally sell it. All the while you have a single digit profit margin and are vilified by the media.

Lets say they come up with a new energy source that they don't have to find, drill, transport, or refine and there's an unlimited supply of it. Lets say instead of it costing them $3.00 a gallon to sell you gas for $3.20 a gallon it cost them $.50 a gallon to sell you this new energy source that they will sell you for $1.00 a gallon.

You think they wouldn't dump oil in a heartbeat for this new energy source? Please? They would patent every aspect of the process, machinery, and production, and laugh all the way to bank at all the people sitting on now worthless oil fields while the money rolls in at record levels they can't even dream of now.
Of imported oil, IIRC California currently gets ~30% from Saudi sources, next largest source, Venezuala?. Oil companies are reporting record profits so I won't cry over their 'low-profit' margins when they are still making billions (sure the countries in the mid-East where the oil fields are are making many billions more, so what), they aren't Apple Comp. Inc. after all :D

And yet, every single day I see our LA drivers, cost/gal. be damned, driving *exactly* in the same manner, gassing that accelerator pedal, trying to be the 1st car to get to the next stop light, lol. Still driving like aggressive psychopathic road warriors hell bent on mayhem and destruction, completely selfish in their complete disregard for other people's safety. Wish I had a space based laser system I could target these A-holes, and just hit a button and have them vaporized in an instant...would be great!

Estimated costs broken down for the last decade in California (using Alaskan N. Shore price as base):

http://www.energy.ca.gov/gasoline/margins/index.html
 

ddrueding

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Prices simply aren't high enough to cause a change in behavior yet.

Algae seems to be technically the best source for bio-fuel, but I'm afraid that the political capital of places like Iowa (where massive amounts of corn are grown) will cause this to be the source of choice for the foreseeable future, despite it being a bad source for energy and impacting food sources*.

So which is a greater enemy to the adoption of an efficient source of renewable energy? Fossil fuels (and their political benefactors) or inefficient sources of renewable energy (and their political benefactors)?

I don't think that using the same product for food and energy is a bad thing. We need both food and energy, and having to maintain separate supply/reserve chains for each is less efficient. We just need a lot of whatever it is.
 

ddrueding

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Have you been to a grocery store lately? It's a terrible idea!
It isn't a terrible idea. The fact that supply is really short, causing demand (and price) to increase is a separate issue (and potentially a temporary one). It would be a terrible idea if we assumed that supply for energy will never be satisfied, therefore the price of food would continue to rise.

Let me stop here and restate that corn is a bad source for Bio-fuel.


But let's assume that it wasn't, for the purpose of arguing the statement:

Using the same product for food and energy is not a bad thing.
We need to produce food. Large numbers of jobs and large amounts of resources (land, equipment, etc) are allocated to this purpose. Because food is such an important resource, we also stockpile reserves, to make sure we never run out.

We need to produce energy. Large numbers of jobs and large amounts of resources (land, equipment, etc) are allocated to this purpose. Because energy is such an important resource, we also stockpile reserves of oil and (ought to) overbuild capacity, to make sure we never run out.

In this scenario, what happens if our need for energy decreases and our need for food increases? Jobs are lost, equipment is unused, and our reserves are either too much or too little.

Now, what if this was one giant pool of jobs, land, and equipment with a single massive pool of reserves? It is easier to maintain, quicker to adapt, and simpler to keep track of. In theory, it is a more efficient system.
 

Stereodude

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Your argument is flawed. It assumes an unlimited supply of food. That isn't the case or food would be free and of no value like air.

The solution to high energy prices is more energy. Simple supply and demand. You can't conserve your way into lower energy prices to matter what the democrats say.
 

ddrueding

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Your argument is flawed. It assumes an unlimited supply of food. That isn't the case or food would be free and of no value like air.
Not unlimited food. Just adequate to meet demand while maintaining a reasonable profit margin. With the recent hike in food prices (partly due to it's new multi-use capability), new supply is scrambling to come on-line (even in 3rd world nations). After the market has a chance to adjust to this new-found demand, things will stabilize again.

The solution to high energy prices is more energy. Simple supply and demand. You can't conserve your way into lower energy prices to matter what the democrats say.
I agree completely, and support nuclear for base loads and solar for daytime peak loads to get us out of oil-based fuels for fixed power sources. Who was disagreeing with this point?
 

Fushigi

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Conservation of consumption reduces expense, not cost, by reducing demand. Production costs aren't reduced.

So you do save, just not by directly getting suppliers to cut costs. In theory this could lead to even higher per-unit costs for energy to let the provider maintain profitability but in the current overall marketplace (localities may be different), demand simply cannot be reduced enough via conservation to have an impact sufficient for this to occur.
 

timwhit

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Conservation of consumption reduces expense, not cost, by reducing demand. Production costs aren't reduced.

So you do save, just not by directly getting suppliers to cut costs. In theory this could lead to even higher per-unit costs for energy to let the provider maintain profitability but in the current overall marketplace (localities may be different), demand simply cannot be reduced enough via conservation to have an impact sufficient for this to occur.
I believe you are referring to fixed cost. While this does have an effect on the marketplace price, supply and demand also come into play heavily.
 

sechs

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Algae seems to be technically the best source for bio-fuel, but I'm afraid that the political capital of places like Iowa (where massive amounts of corn are grown) will cause this to be the source of choice for the foreseeable future, despite it being a bad source for energy and impacting food sources.
Honestly, we should be cutting the chemicals out of the loop. There's enough solar energy hitting the unpopulated deserts of southern Nevada to power the entire United States.

If you insist on sticking with chemical fuels, honestly, sugar can is as good as any. You can get far more energy out of it than you put in (unlike, say, corn); and, with the proper systems in place, production is energy self-sufficient using both waste and by-products for fuel. The fact of the matter is that far more cane sugar is produced in world than is consumed for food.

The problem, in the United States at least, is decades-old protectionist policies on the sugar industry. This industry was long-ago decimated in the United States by increased costs and the rise of corn sweeteners -- there's really nothing to protect. If Brazil can become energy-independent on sugar cane, we can certainly use it to make a dent.
 

sechs

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Have you been to a grocery store lately? It's a terrible idea!
Yes, and we have had cheap, plentiful factory food for too long.

If there was an easy way to turn human fat into usable energy, the crisis could be averted....
 

sechs

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Also, as prices increase, more resources become cost-effective.
Case in point: Proven oil reserves

Oil reserves are the estimated quantities of crude oil that analysis of geologic and engineering data demonstrates with reasonable certainty are recoverable under existing economic and operating conditions. So, as the price of oil increases, more oil becomes economically extractable.

So, given that, over time, the price of oil will rise, for any given field, the amount of proven oil reserves plus actually-recovered oil increases.
 

Stereodude

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Yeah! Let's drill in ANWR and forget about it!
It's odd how the people who complain the loudest about the US being dependent on foreign oil are the same people who prevent the US from developing it's own oil sources and and other energy sources.

Somehow the Sierra club and all the greenies on the left have got the country by the balls. We can't build new nuclear plants, we can't drill for oil in ANWR or in the Gulf of Mexico, or off the coast of Florida & California, we have to get rid of coal fired power plants, we have to let the EPA run wild and stifle US manufacturing with crazy restrictions, we can't build new refineries to produce gasoline, we have to make all these unique blends of gasoline for different regions of the US, we have to put ethanol in the gasoline driving up the price food, we have to increase the CAFE standards, etc, etc, etc.

The same people who push all these policies are the same people complaining about the cost of energy and the price of gasoline. Yeah, clearly we need more regulation, restrictions, and conservation campaigns. Clearly they're very effective at reducing prices and eliminating our dependence on foreign oil. :rolleyes:
 

Stereodude

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Case in point: Proven oil reserves

Oil reserves are the estimated quantities of crude oil that analysis of geologic and engineering data demonstrates with reasonable certainty are recoverable under existing economic and operating conditions. So, as the price of oil increases, more oil becomes economically extractable.

So, given that, over time, the price of oil will rise, for any given field, the amount of proven oil reserves plus actually-recovered oil increases.
Uh... what you're saying is true. As prices rise it becomes more economical to get hard to get oil, but the original point was that prices won't drop due to conservation only by an increase in supply.
 

Stereodude

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Yes, and we have had cheap, plentiful factory food for too long.

If there was an easy way to turn human fat into usable energy, the crisis could be averted....
Yes, poor people should not be able to buy food. People in the 3rd world should have to starve to death because food is far too cheap and plentiful. We have had cheap, plentiful food for far too long. We should have expensive and scarce food.

Is that really the position you want to take? :confused:
 

sechs

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It's odd how the people who complain the loudest about the US being dependent on foreign oil are the same people who prevent the US from developing it's own oil sources and and other energy sources.
Those must be your people. My complaint is *that* we are dependent upon oil. That we must import such a huge amount of it only makes it worse.

The fact of the matter is that there is not enough oil in the United States to fulfill our needs. If we drilled in ANWR, for example, it would be decades before it made any impact on the supply of oil, and that impact would be small. If your complaint is energy-independence, you'd be pushing coal; we have enough in the United States to last hundreds of years.

But, like I said, there's enough free solar energy out there to solve the problem....
 

sechs

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Yes, poor people should not be able to buy food. People in the 3rd world should have to starve to death because food is far too cheap and plentiful. We have had cheap, plentiful food for far too long. We should have expensive and scarce food.

Is that really the position you want to take?
I declare straw-man argument.

The price of food in the grocery store has no bearing on whether people in the 3rd world starve. Those people don't have money and, thus, could never afford food, whatever the price.

I never said that food should expensive or scarce. I simply said that we've had cheap, plentiful food for too long. These are clearly not the same thing.
 

udaman

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Honestly, we should be cutting the chemicals out of the loop. There's enough solar energy hitting the unpopulated deserts of southern Nevada to power the entire United States.
Probably true, but there is no way to harness that solar radiation w/100% efficiency. Nuclear fission or fusion are the best bets for the future (cept in Russian contracts :p ).


If you insist on sticking with chemical fuels, honestly, sugar can is as good as any. You can get far more energy out of it than you put in (unlike, say, corn); and, with the proper systems in place, production is energy self-sufficient using both waste and by-products for fuel. The fact of the matter is that far more cane sugar is produced in world than is consumed for food.

The problem, in the United States at least, is decades-old protectionist policies on the sugar industry. This industry was long-ago decimated in the United States by increased costs and the rise of corn sweeteners -- there's really nothing to protect. If Brazil can become energy-independent on sugar cane, we can certainly use it to make a dent.
Brazil energy independent for how long, as long as there is a sizable population that doesn't use much energy, ok. But if they follow the leads of China & India---w/the USA model ;) , then power requirements will grow exponentially. Shame on you sechs, unit of energy density for those alternatives is quite more expensive compared to gas/petrol. With the nice side 'benefit' of deforestation of the Amazon rainforests. Guess we should do that here, to make a small dent, instead of drilling in the Artic circle?


http://www.montana.edu/wwwpb/ag/baudr318.html

Rising Gasoline prices: Put hemp in your tank
(2005 article below when fuel was less expensive, USD was higher, cause that's what drives the price of fuel in the US now, not demand, demand has actually dropped a little, but it would take $5/gal for US drivers to even reduce auto fuel consumption enough to moderate prices, assuming the value of the dollar doesn't lose anymore than it already has...even @$6/gal in LA, few would change their stomping down hard on the accelerator pedal behaviors- really, a spaced based laser under my control can fix the problem, in LA at least :D )

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=873
 

Stereodude

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I never said that food should expensive or scarce. I simply said that we've had cheap, plentiful food for too long. These are clearly not the same thing.
Are you going to argue with my about the definition of the word "is" next? You clearly have a problem with cheap and plentiful food, but you want to claim that you never said that it should be expensive or scarce.

You're right, you didn't say it, but you clearly intimated that the statement I wrote is indeed your opinion. You can't both think that food is too cheap and too plentiful, but that it shouldn't be expensive or scarce.
The price of food in the grocery store has no bearing on whether people in the 3rd world starve. Those people don't have money and, thus, could never afford food, whatever the price.
You must have missed the riots in the 3rd world countries over the price of food then, but oh yeah I forgot people in 3rd world countries don't buy food. Apparently they steal it. :rolleyes:
 

Stereodude

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Funny how when the CAFE standards were introduced they were going to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil. I wonder why that hasn't worked? I mean after all we started conserving and clearly conservation is the key. :confused:
 

udaman

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Funny how when the CAFE standards were introduced they were going to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil. I wonder why that hasn't worked? I mean after all we started conserving and clearly conservation is the key. :confused:
^^^source please?

At the highest price oil hit last summer, consumption was only off IIRC ~10%. Consumption would have to drop more than 1/2 to levels where our dependence on oil is minimal. Won't happen in our generation, certainly not even with 2 terms under Obama. Now that oil has dropped to under $2/gal, even with recession, consumption certainly isn't going to drop in 1/2 this year, or the next, even the next decade.

Continental Airlines uses biofuel on test flight


http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-biofuel8-2009jan08,0,761065.story

Airlines began seriously looking at potential new fuel sources as oil prices skyrocketed last year and led several carriers to file for bankruptcy. But despite oil prices slumping sharply since then, industry officials said airlines didn't want to be burned again by being too dependent on a single source of fuel.

Algae and jatropha are among some of the more promising biofuel sources because they don't compete with food production or contribute to deforestation, industry officials said.

But airline officials and jet makers cautioned that although tests have been promising, it may take a decade or more before biofuels become a significant source of fuel for airlines. In addition to expanding production sharply, many new refineries would have to be built to produce fuel needed by the carriers.

Air New Zealand, which has been one of the more ambitious in developing alternative fuels, hopes to use biofuel for 10% of its needs by 2013.
...drop in the bucket for the near term.

Sechs' Mercury News link is dead, with no title of the story; those who did not read it initially have zero idea what that was about.
 

Stereodude

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^^^source please?
Uh... they were enacted in response to the Arab oil embargo of 1973-74. Even an Apple user like you should be able figure out that since they a "response" they were supposed to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
 

LunarMist

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I declare straw-man argument.

The price of food in the grocery store has no bearing on whether people in the 3rd world starve. Those people don't have money and, thus, could never afford food, whatever the price.

I never said that food should expensive or scarce. I simply said that we've had cheap, plentiful food for too long. These are clearly not the same thing.
Let them eat Soylent Green. :puke-r:
 

Corvair

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Alternative combustible fuels are fine, but the ones that are also food sources (i.e. -- corn or sugarcane) are pretty poor choices because they have pushed the prices of food up for peoples that have historically relied on corn for food (mainly Latin America).

There's some company somewhere near here that has been screwing around with algae as a source of refineable oil-like fuel for a few years now. Their algae farm uses a technology called "Vertigro" that uses a series of vertical tubes to grow and process everything in.

A hell of a lot of fuel can be produced on a single acre of land. Also, the system doesn't use much water because the water used in the operation of the facility is recycled.

As the photosynthesis takes place, the algae basically sucks carbon dioxide out of the air, absorbs sunlight, grows, and creates a carbon-rich fuel within its biomass. Fuel oil is squeezed from the algae and the water recycled for more algae growing.



 

udaman

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Obama is supposed to issue an order allowing the 17 states that want to impose greenhouse emission standards a go ahead. Auto manufacturers (Detroit) screaming bloody murder saying it could cost upwards of $5,000 addition to each vehicle to meet those standards.

Mean while Honda says they are ready for that change.

And prices for auto fuel are going back up from lows in December, up more than 35 cents/gallon. And why is that? As I said before, price of fuel has little to do with demand/supply, all to do with speculators. Same bankrupt companies like the huge AIG corp that has been bailed out to the tune of billions, is one of those fuel speculators. Yeah, blame OPEC & big oil companies...or blame ourselves (corporate investor/speculators)?

60 Minutes: Speculation Affected Oil Price Swings More Than Supply And Demand


http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/01/08/60minutes/main4707770.shtml


As the president of the Petroleum Marketers Association, he represents more than 8,000 retail and wholesale suppliers, everyone from home heating oil companies to gas station owners.

When 60 Minutes talked to him last summer, his members were getting blamed for gouging the public, even though their costs had also gone through the roof. He told Kroft the problem was in the commodities markets, which had been invaded by a new breed of investor.

"Approximately 60 to 70 percent of the oil contracts in the futures markets are now held by speculative entities. Not by companies that need oil, not by the airlines, not by the oil companies. But by investors that are looking to make money from their speculative positions," Gilligan explained.

Gilligan said these investors don't actually take delivery of the oil. "All they do is buy the paper, and hope that they can sell it for more than they paid for it. Before they have to take delivery."

"They're trying to make money on the market for oil?" Kroft asked.

"Absolutely," Gilligan replied. "On the volatility that exists in the market. They make it going up and down."

He says his members in the home heating oil business, like Sean Cota of Bellows Falls, Vt., were the first to notice the effects a few years ago when prices seemed to disconnect from the basic fundamentals of supply and demand. Cota says there was plenty of product at the supply terminals, but the prices kept going up and up.

"We've had three price changes during the day where we pick up products, actually don't know what we paid for it and we'll go out and we'll sell that to the retail customer guessing at what the price was," Cota remembered. "The volatility is being driven by the huge amounts of money and the huge amounts of leverage that is going in to these markets."

About the same time, hedge fund manager Michael Masters reached the same conclusion. Masters' expertise is in tracking the flow of investments into and out of financial markets and he noticed huge amounts of money leaving stocks for commodities and oil futures, most of it going into index funds, betting the price of oil was going to go up.

Asked who was buying this "paper oil," Masters told Kroft, "The California pension fund. Harvard Endowment. Lots of large institutional investors. And, by the way, other investors, hedge funds, Wall Street trading desks were following right behind them, putting money - sovereign wealth funds were putting money in the futures markets as well. So you had all these investors putting money in the futures markets. And that was driving the price up."
 
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