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THE Algae Thread pt 3 (merged)

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: THE Algae Thread pt 2 (merged)

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Thu 23 Jul 2015, 14:03:14

Using rounded numbers from further up the thread.
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Re: THE Algae Thread pt 2 (merged)

Unread postby pstarr » Thu 23 Jul 2015, 14:29:28

Folks, here you go folks, the cost to build the outdoor pools.

Re: The Mother of all Biofuels Debates (large scale)
Postby pstarr » Sun Sep 24, 2006 10:53 am

And the cost of a covered algae biofuel system is absurdly high. I did some very rough estimates All plankton fuel posts for an inexpensive polytunnel greenhouse to grow US gasoline. At $35/sq. ft. (including cover, concrete pond, pump and filter, pipes, ducts, fans etc.) a 52,000 sq.ki indoor algae growroom would cost $16 trillion--the entire GDP of the US for 2 years. Triple that for a professional metal/glass greenhouse to last more than a few years.

That's just startup before water delivery, fertilizer, waste disposal, harvest, removal and processing of lipids, storage and distribution of fuel etc.
(note: Previous work at All plankton fuel posts suggested 52,000 sq. km or 559,723,341,668 sq. ft. would suffice to replace all our petroleum needs. )

And the cost to operate the pool

Re: The Mother of all Biofuels Debates (large scale)
Postby pstarr » Sun Oct 08, 2006 11:17 am

Maintenance for a human swimming pool is not unlike that for algae culture. Chemicals and aeration to prevent contamination, filters for detritus, temperature and ph regulation, etc. are all necessary to maintain healthy biological states for people and single-celled organisms. Thus it is reasonable to extrapolate the cost to maintain a institutional swimming pool with an indoor algae pond. This of course does not include the cost to harvest and process the algae.

Colorado State Gov.

A typical Colorado recreation center spends between $1.50 and $2.80 per square foot each year on energy. That adds up to between $86,000 and $160,000 annually. And about one-third of the energy dollars are used to heat and maintain a clean pool.


So $29,000-$53,000 is attributed to pool maintenance. A typical recreation center pool is approximately (internet search sample: 90 feet long x 25=2250, 45 x 75=3375, 30x60=1800) 2500 sq. ft so the annual cost for algae pond maintenance is between $11.6-$21.2/sq.ft.

Previous work at All plankton fuel posts suggested 52,000 sq. km or 559,723,341,668 sq. ft. would suffice to replace all our petroleum needs.

So pool maintenance for this exercise would cost $6.5-11.8 trillions/year. We currently spend 1.8 trillion dollars (30 billion barrels/year * $60/barrel) on petroleum. So the cost to just maintain our algae ponds would cost $216-$393/barrel. That is before fertilizer, harvesting, processing, waste disposal, and distribution. I estimate we would need to multiply this by 5 times.

In summary, concrete-pool algae production would cost approximately $1080-$1965/barrel. But because of biological constraints this ludicrous number will never be tested. Dead issue.


We did this work at PO.com almost a decade ago. Now you newbies see why Graeme's constant empty trolling and spamming is little more than eutrophic pond scum. No discussion of real world thermodynamics or construction and operation costs. No response. No illumination.
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Re: THE Algae Thread pt 2 (merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 23 Jul 2015, 17:10:34

Your costings are from ten years ago. They are out of date. I suspect that the costings from the NREL report (page 66) are closer to current values but the players in algae biofuel industry will be the only ones who know what the costs are now and those projected into the future. That is the whole purpose of the DOE funding - to find ways to reduce costs further.

The key cost and process assumptions used in calculating the results presented in this section are summarized in the appendix.

Figure 5-3 shows how these three different growth scenarios affect the land area required for open raceway ponds to produce 37.8 ML/yr of biodiesel.

The results in Figure 5-3 help illustrate the importance of identifying the right strain. The capital costs for the reactor system increase as the areal coverage increases, which means that not only will the current case strain cover a larger area (for reference, O‘Hare International Airport in Chicago covers just over 3,000 hectares), its capital cost to produce the same amount of fuel will be higher.

Figure 5-4 shows the cost for producing 46.9 ML/yr of lipids at each algae growth scenario and the significance of the capital cost is shown. Approximately 46.9
ML/yr of lipids is required to produce 37.8 ML/yr of biodiesel.

The cost of producing lipids ranges from approximately $5.80/litre of lipid on the high end to approximately $0.75/litre of lipid on the low end. Contrast this with the current selling cost of soybean oil (approximately $0.90/litre). The blue portion of the bar represents the capital cost, which are approximately equal to operating costs and represent the main cost elements. The cultivation system represents 25-30 percent of the total capital. The percentage contribution for the raceway pond decreases with increased productivity, because the model is established for a constant lipid output.

The technology for converting algal lipids into green diesel has only recently been developed, and the process costs are not well known. Production costs for
biodiesel from vegetable oil, on the other hand is well-established. The total fuel production cost for 37.8 ML/yr of biodiesel from an algae process is shown in Figure 5-5. Land area and water requirements for each case are shown in Table 5-2. Conversion of algal lipid to biodiesel adds only a small increment to the final cost because the overall yield of biodiesel from algal lipids is 96 percent and because capital costs for a biodiesel plant are relatively low

The most apparent conclusion from the plots in Figure 5-5 is that it will take the high productivity case to produce algal biodiesel at a cost comparable to that of petroleum diesel which is hovering around $0.53/litre (EIA as of 6/02/2010). It must be noted that the biodiesel costs shown in Figure 5-5 do not include
marketing and delivery costs, and it is clear that major challenges must be met to achieve the higher productivity under real process conditions.
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Re: THE Algae Thread pt 2 (merged)

Unread postby pstarr » Thu 23 Jul 2015, 17:22:54

My posting is out of date? How has the construction and maintenance costs of a pool come down?
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Re: THE Algae Thread pt 2 (merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 23 Jul 2015, 17:40:29

Decrease in size with increase in productivity (Table 5.2).
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Re: THE Algae Thread pt 2 (merged)

Unread postby pstarr » Thu 23 Jul 2015, 18:46:32

But higher productivity has not been achieved. From the report:

"The higher productivity case represents the peak growth rates observed at Roswell maintained over the long term along with high lipid content. This latter case may require strain development work to realize productivities beyond those achievable with naturally occurring organisms."


Even the so-called "higher-oil count" scenario is limited by reproductive limits of the selected organisms. So no, the measures in table 5-2 represent no change. The cost to develop, construct, and maintain shaded open pool reactors remains many $trillions.
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Re: THE Algae Thread pt 2 (merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 23 Jul 2015, 21:03:42

Table 5-2 showed you what happened at Roswell in 2010. I'm sure the industry and academics are currently working to improve productivity. I don't think you know what the costs are now. Somebody does but they're not telling anybody on this board.
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Re: THE Algae Thread pt 2 (merged)

Unread postby pstarr » Thu 23 Jul 2015, 22:04:58

Graeme wrote:Table 5-2 showed you what happened at Roswell in 2010. I'm sure the industry and academics are currently working to improve productivity. I don't think you know what the costs are now. Somebody does but they're not telling anybody on this board.

Oh, excuse me. They included you in their secrets?

I explained the total cost to manufacture and maintain algae growing pools. The breakdown is based on public-domain construction figures available to anyone. I multiplied that unit cost (per sq.ft.) times the accepted algae-lipid production requirements derived from NREL.

If you can do better than you should share your numbers. Otherwise I stand firm. The cost to grow algae to replace post-peak oil is many times the total GDP of the United States.
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Re: THE Algae Thread pt 2 (merged)

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Thu 23 Jul 2015, 22:35:29

Even if you did the whole thing in India, it would take most of India's land, all of it's people & all of its water.

The real numbers from algae will never out do- oil palm (even coconuts, which thrive in sand fed nothing but seawater) olives, pecans, walnuts etc.

How much empty sandy desert could be irrigated with seawater to grow enough coconuts to sustain 20% of current supply (given at least 80% is 'wasted')? What would that cost? No newfangled anything to it really, so no need for bs research.
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Re: THE Algae Thread pt 2 (merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 23 Jul 2015, 23:28:21

There are thousands of papers published on this subject in the literature. I'm not going to review these. Here is one recent paper I found from random selection incidentally from India which gives you some indication of what the costs might be.

One way to estimate the damage is to look at the cost of adapting to climate change, although this does not provide the actual full costs incurred since this represents less than full mitigation. An initial international study estimated these costs at $49 to 171 billion (USD) per year (UNFCCC, 2007) and it has been argued that this is in fact an underestimate [94]. Of course, these estimates are highly dependent on the accumulated of atmospheric CO2 burden over time as well as a great deal of uncertainty as to actual impacts. Thus, determining what the competitive cost of a biofuel really should be will require detailed economic analysis. In addition, as mentioned above, detailed costing is not possible given the many uncertainties in the design specifics of a practical algal biodiesel plant. Thus, a realistic cost analysis is impossible at present.
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Re: THE Algae Thread pt 2 (merged)

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Thu 23 Jul 2015, 23:40:11

That's the least mitigated bullshit so far on this thread. How can you even post such total drivel Graham? You are saying that 79 billion as a ballpark figure for GHG mitigation, you must be on mushrooms or some weird plonk, have you checked your charcoal lately? The GDP of a mid sized developing nation is enough to to 3/5ths of SFA.
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Re: THE Algae Thread pt 2 (merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 24 Jul 2015, 00:01:09

You didn't read what I posted: the costs are impossible to estimate at present. But all you need to know is what is written in the conclusions:

Microalgae emerged as an ideal bio renewable resource for biofuel production that eventually could replace petroleum-based fuel. Currently, algal based biofuel production is not commercially viable due to the capital intensive bioreactor and post harvesting steps and variable biomass productivity.
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Re: THE Algae Thread pt 2 (merged)

Unread postby pstarr » Fri 24 Jul 2015, 00:35:46

Graeme wrote:You didn't read what I posted: the costs are impossible to estimate at present.
You posted that costs are impossible to measure. I measured them. Therefore I accomplished the impossible.

But all you need to know is what is written in the conclusions:

Microalgae emerged as an ideal bio renewable resource for biofuel production that eventually could replace petroleum-based fuel. Currently, algal based biofuel production is not commercially viable due to the capital intensive bioreactor and post harvesting steps and variable biomass productivity.

The quote is contrary and weak. It means nothing.
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Re: THE Algae Thread pt 2 (merged)

Unread postby davep » Fri 24 Jul 2015, 03:05:21

The real numbers from algae will never out do- oil palm (even coconuts, which thrive in sand fed nothing but seawater) olives, pecans, walnuts etc


Agreed. It's like they need to have some specific man-made process they can use to say they solved the biofuel problem.

You can get 5-7 tonnes of walnuts per hectare, for example (60% lipids?). And they help water retention, stop flooding, sequester C02, improve soil etc etc. The algae debate seems to be the search for the technofix holy grail, when mother nature is already pretty handy.

Not that I would necessarily advocate using walnut oil for biofuels, as it is too nice in salads. But the yields can be impressive (even without using grafted varieties).
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Solaslime do not disappoint (doubters)

Unread postby Carnot » Thu 13 Aug 2015, 08:13:02

As expected Solaslime produced another healthy loss for their investors. Slightly less than Q1 but a whopping loss all the same as they burn cash faster than they can delivery profits.

More blah, blah from Wolfson but no mention that they are unlikely to meet the estimated earnings for this year (except in Kenyan Shillings). Encapso looks like a dog and fuels are barely mentioned. Moema - more excuses; apparently the power is back on but surprise, surprise extracting the algae oil is proving difficult. Yawn.

Let have a competition for the best excuse for the Q3 non earnings. How about:

1.The oil price is too low
2. It rained in Moema
3. Its not economic (sorry - that telling the truth). Delete that one


Read all about it here. Its not worthy of a cut and paste.

http://investors.solazyme.com/releasede ... eID=924911
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Re: THE Algae Thread pt 2 (merged)

Unread postby isgota » Wed 16 Sep 2015, 16:20:40

Algenol has reached an agreement to distribute its ethanol. Right now, only from its pilot plant but the agreement extends to a 18 MMgy commercial plant (if it's built).

And for those interested in a more technical reading, an article about state-of-the-art algae photobioreactors.
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