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Will Fossil Fuels be Disrupted by this Future Multi Trillion

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Will Fossil Fuels be Disrupted by this Future Multi Trillion

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 01 Dec 2010, 19:52:27

Will Fossil Fuels be Disrupted by this Future Multi Trillion Dollar Industry

Greg Mitchell, a researcher at the prestigious Scripps Institute of Oceanography, expects seaweed to become a multi-trillion dollar industry -- sometime after a ten year developmental period. This new industry should disrupt the use of fossil fuels, according to Mitchell.

According to the Biomass Handbook, cultivated seaweed can yield close to 130 tons per ha per year. Fast growing willow may yield just above 10 tonnes per ha per year. And miscanthus grass can yield 15 tonnes dry mass per ha per year. Giant King Grass (PDF) may produce 5 X or more yield than miscanthus, in tropical climates.

Those are rough figures which are subject to change as faster-growing strains are developed via several means. Besides rapid growth and 6 X a year harvesting, seaweed takes advantage of large areas of the Earth's surface which cannot be utilised to grow land trees or land grass for biomass. Seaweed essentially doubles available biomass growing area -- or more -- which throws conventional calculations for biomass potential out the window. Some problems must be worked out, but by the time humans truly need the massive quantities of biomass they can get from seaweed (and special grasses and trees), the problems should have been solved.


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Re: Will Fossil Fuels be Disrupted by this Future Multi Tril

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Wed 01 Dec 2010, 19:57:35

No.
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Re: Will Fossil Fuels be Disrupted by this Future Multi Tril

Unread postby eastbay » Wed 01 Dec 2010, 19:58:44

vtsnowedin wrote:No.


Correct answer.
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Re: Will Fossil Fuels be Disrupted by this Future Multi Tril

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 08 Dec 2010, 18:29:50

Biofuel News: Research Moving away from Algae to Seaweed

It’s coming – research interest is moving toward seaweed from algae. For algae enthusiasts, keep in mind that technically speaking common algae is micro algae and seaweed is macro algae. They both offer a huge advantage to other plants in line for fuel production.

These two life forms offer efficiency; they grow without using energy to make cellulose, the land plant’s answer to structure for gravity, wind and animal assaults. For comparison algae are thought to produce 50% of the O2 while they’re less than 1% of the total plant biomass on Earth. That said, adding seaweed or macro algae to the biomass for fuel effort would seem inevitable.



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Re: Will Fossil Fuels be Disrupted by this Future Multi Tril

Unread postby peripato » Wed 08 Dec 2010, 20:55:10

Graeme wrote:Biofuel News: Research Moving away from Algae to Seaweed

It’s coming – research interest is moving toward seaweed from algae. For algae enthusiasts, keep in mind that technically speaking common algae is micro algae and seaweed is macro algae. They both offer a huge advantage to other plants in line for fuel production.

These two life forms offer efficiency; they grow without using energy to make cellulose, the land plant’s answer to structure for gravity, wind and animal assaults. For comparison algae are thought to produce 50% of the O2 while they’re less than 1% of the total plant biomass on Earth. That said, adding seaweed or macro algae to the biomass for fuel effort would seem inevitable.



oilprice

Anyone still under the illusion that this is a solution should read Robert Rapier's blog on these and other energy related matters. Rapier, who also post on The Oil Drum, is far from being a doomer. Although I'm sure it's just a matter of time...
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Re: Will Fossil Fuels be Disrupted by this Future Multi Tril

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 15 Dec 2010, 16:47:04

Seaweed as biofuel? Metabolic engineering makes it a viable option

Is red seaweed a viable future biofuel? Now that a University of Illinois metabolic engineer has developed a strain of yeast that can make short work of fermenting galactose, the answer is an unequivocal yes.

"When Americans think about biofuel crops, they think of corn, miscanthus, and switchgrass. ln small island or peninsular nations, though, the natural, obvious choice is marine biomass," said Yong-Su Jin, a U of I assistant professor of microbial genomics and a faculty member in its Institute for Genomic Biology.

Producers of biofuels made from terrestrial biomass crops have had difficulty breaking down recalcitrant fibers and extracting fermentable sugars. The harsh pretreatment processes used to release the sugars also resulted in toxic byproducts, inhibiting subsequent microbial fermentation, he said.

But marine biomass can be easily degraded to fermentable sugars, and production rates and range of distribution are higher than terrestrial biomass, he said.

"However, making biofuels from red seaweed has been problematic because the process yields both glucose and galactose, and until now galactose fermentation has been very inefficient," he said.

But Jin and his colleagues have recently identified three genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the microbe most often used to ferment the sugars, whose overexpression increased galactose fermentation by 250 percent when compared to a control strain.

"This discovery greatly improves the economic viability of marine biofuels," he said.


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