[FoRK] US Reaches Peak Oil!

dan at geer.org dan at geer.org
Thu Dec 19 05:35:05 PST 2013


Algae to crude oil
December 17, 2013  

Tom Rickey, PNNL, (509) 375-3732

Process simplifies transformation of algae to oil, water and usable

Engineers have created a continuous chemical process that produces
useful crude oil minutes after they pour in harvested algae -- a
verdant green paste with the consistency of pea soup.

The research by engineers at the Department of Energy's Pacific
Northwest National Laboratory was reported recently in the journal
Algal Research. A biofuels company, Utah-based Genifuel Corp., has
licensed the technology and is working with an industrial partner
to build a pilot plant using the technology.

In the PNNL process, a slurry of wet algae is pumped into the front
end of a chemical reactor. Once the system is up and running, out
comes crude oil in less than an hour, along with water and a byproduct
stream of material containing phosphorus that can be recycled to
grow more algae.

With additional conventional refining, the crude algae oil is
converted into aviation fuel, gasoline or diesel fuel. And the waste
water is processed further, yielding burnable gas and substances
like potassium and nitrogen, which, along with the cleansed water,
can also be recycled to grow more algae.

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