Saturday, November 21, 2009

Biodiesel Production from Algae Oil

From last post, we know Algae can be produce become bio diesel oil. Here, I will share how to make Bio Diesel Fuel from Algae. One of process name for that, usually called Transesterification. Algae yields around 100,000 gallons of algae oil per year. In contrast, one acre of soybeans only produces about 50 gallons of soybean oil a year, while one acre of corn yields about 29 gallons of oil per year. The largest benefit to date is that the Algae farms can be built virtually anywhere.

Algae oil is highly viscous, with viscosities ranging 10–20 times those of no. 2 Diesel fuel. The high viscosity is due to the large molecular mass and chemical structure of oils which in turn leads to problems in pumping, combustion and atomization in the injector systems of a diesel engine. Therefore, a reduction in viscosity is important to make high-viscous oil a suitable alternative fuel for diesel engines.

There are a number of ways to reduce vegetable oil's viscosity. These methods include; transestrification, pyrolysis (Pyrolysis Definition from AFR), micro Emulsion (Emulsions & Emulsification – from Wikipedia), blending and thermal depolymerization. One of the most common methods used to reduce oil viscosity in the Biodiesel industry is called transesterification. It involves chemical conversion of the oil into its corresponding fatty ester.

Other methods of producing Bio-diesel from Algae Oil, other than transesterification, that have been considered to reduce the high viscosity of vegetable oil or algae oil are:
  • Dilution of 25 parts of plant / algae oil with 75 parts of diesel fuel
  • Micro emulsions with short chain alcohols (e.g. Ethanol or Methanol)
  • Thermal decomposition, which produces alkanes, alkenes, carboxylic acids acids and aromatic compounds
  • Catalytic cracking, which produces alkanes, cycloalkanes and alkybenzenes

However, when compared with the above, the Transesterification process appears to be the best choise, as the physical characteristics of fatty acid esters (bio diesel) are very close to those of diesel fuel, and the process is relative simple. Furthermore, the methyl or ethyl esters of fatty acids can be burned directly in unmodified diesel engines, with very low deposit.
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Friday, November 20, 2009

Alternative Energy: Fuel From Algae

Maybe we rarely hear about Algae. But we just know it only in biology subject in the schools or collages. Algae are a large and diverse group of simple, typically autotrophic organisms, ranging from unicellular to multicellular forms. The largest and most complex marine forms are called seaweeds. They are photosynthetic, like plants, and "simple" because they lack the many distinct organs found in land plants. For that reason they are currently excluded from being considered plants.

Though the prokaryotic Cyanobacteria (commonly referred to as Blue-green Algae) were traditionally included as "Algae" in older textbooks, many modern sources regard this as outdated and restrict the term Algae to eukaryotic organisms. All true algae therefore have a nucleus enclosed within a membrane and chloroplasts bound in one or more membranes. Algae constitute a paraphyletic and polyphyletic group, as they do not include all the descendants of the last universal ancestor nor do they all descend from a common algal ancestor, although their chloroplasts seem to have a single origin.

Algae lack the various structures that characterize land plants, such as phyllids and rhizoids in nonvascular plants, or leaves, roots, and other organs that are found in tracheophytes. Many are photoautotrophic, although some groups contain members that are mixotrophic, deriving energy both from photosynthesis and uptake of organic carbon either by osmotrophy, myzotrophy, or phagotrophy. Some unicellular species rely entirely on external energy sources and have limited or no photosynthetic apparatus.

Nearly all algae have photosynthetic machinery ultimately derived from the Cyanobacteria, and so produce oxygen as a by-product of photosynthesis, unlike other photosynthetic bacteria such as purple and green sulfur bacteria. Fossilized filamentous algae from the Vindhya basin have been dated back to 1.6 to 1.7 billion years ago.

The first alga to have its genome sequenced was Cyanidioschyzon merolae.

Today, Algae is one of alternative energy that can be used for renewable fuel. Energy from Algae presents an opportunity you cannot afford to ignore. Deriving energy from algae is considered the Holy Grail of alternative energy. Algae, a third-generation biofuel feedstock, present one of the most exciting possibilities as a future solution to our energy problems, especially that of transportation fuel. In the last few years, activity in this field has been accelerating fast.

Why are algae so exciting from a renewable energy standpoint? For a number of reasons :
  • The yields of oil and fuels from algae are much higher (10-100 times) than competing energy crops
  • Algae can grow practically anywhere, thus ensuring that there is no competition with food crops.
  • Algae are excellent bio remediation agents - they have the potential to absorb massive amounts of CO2 and can play an important role in sewage and wastewater treatment.
  • Algae are the only feedstock that have the potential to completely replace world's consumption of transportation fuels.
  • Algae are already being used in a wide variety of industries and applications, and many newer applications are being discovered. Such a wide range of end-uses enable companies to produce both fuels and non-fuel products from the same algae feedstock
Algae can produce several fuel products, there are:
  • Bio diesel
  • Hydrogen
  • Methane
  • Ethanol

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Renewable Energy: Hydrogen Fuel

Today, the fossil fuel slowly depleted. All of researcher in the world has trying to find the others kind of fuel. Now, the researchers has one of new solution. Hydrogen Fuel.

Hydrogen is one of two natural elements that combine to make water. Hydrogen is not an energy source, but an energy carrier because it takes a great deal of energy to extract it from water. It is useful as a compact energy source in fuel cells and batteries. Many companies are working hard to develop technologies that can efficiently exploit the potential of hydrogen energy. This page lists articles about hydrogen fuel as an alternative energy source.

Hydrogen fuel enhancement
is a term used to describe the use of a mixture of hydrogen and conventional hydrocarbon fuel in an internal combustion engine (ICE). The hydrogen can be stored as a second fuel, reformed from the conventional fuel, or in theory produced through the electrolysis of water.

There has been a great deal of research into fuel mixtures, such as gasoline and nitrous oxide injection. Mixtures of hydrogen and hydrocarbons is no exception. These sources suggested that there could be fuel efficiency saving and reduced emission through the addition of hydrogen to conventional fuels. For example, one research project added hydrogen to an automobile engine to run the engine leaner:

Lean-mixture-ratio combustion in internal-combustion engines has the potential of producing low emissions and higher thermal efficiency for several reasons. First, excess oxygen in the charge further oxidizes unburned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. Second, excess oxygen lowers the peak combustion temperatures, which inhibits the formation of oxides of nitrogen. Third, the lower combustion temperatures in­crease the mixture specific heat ratio by decreasing the net dissociation losses. Fourth, as the specific heat ratio increases, the cycle thermal efficiency also increases, which gives the potential for better fuel economy.

Many of these sources have also warn that it would require modifications in ICE's air/fuel ration, engine timing, and other design elements to realize these advantages. This would be expected for any change in an engines fuel composition.

Hydrogen fuel enhancement from electrolysis has been promoted for use with diesel trucks and often with adaptation of the water-fuelled cars scam. However recent tests by consumer watch groups have shown negative results.

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