Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Israel makes Biofuel from "Seaweed".

I have considered previously the possibilities of making biodiesel from algae, which can in principle be achieved on an amount per hectare some 100 or more times that derived from common "bio-crops". Against the backdrop of conventional oil supplies running short within a decade and the serious compromise that would exist between growing crops to produce either food or fuel - and still nowhere near meet current demand for the latter - this is a most attractive prospect. I remain optimistic about the technology, albeit noting that there remain many problems to be overcome before it might be used reliably on the large scale. In what can be thought of as an adaptation of the strategy, a company in Israel have used an undisclosed "green technology" to make biofuel from seaweed. The connection with algae may not appear immediately obvious, but seaweed are in fact macrocolonies of algae. It is reported that 1 litre of fuel can be made from 5 kilograms of dried algae.

Seaweed is a common name for all the large complex multicellular algae, and have the most complex anatomy of any algae. Some seaweeds have tissues and organs that resemble those of higher land plants, and yet they are more closely related to the unicellular algae we are more familiar with in using the term. Hence it seems that their anatomical complexity evolved independently. The seaweed body form is called "thallus" and usually the entity has a root-like holdfast which anchors the plant to the substrate (seabed or rock), a stem-like "stipe" and a leaf-like "blade" - the collection of which provides most of the photosynthetic apparatus for the algae.

The Israeli company, Seambiotic Ltd., have unveiled a new technology they say for "efficiently extracting fuel from seaweed", which involves the absorption of CO2 from fossil-fuel fired power plants. Rather than simply allowing the gas to escape into the atmosphere, it is passed through a filtration system in which it enters a pool to feed "microscopic seaweed", so the report describes it. The technology was developed by Seambiotic Ltd. three years ago on an experimental farm located on the site of the Ashkelon power plant, with the support of the Israeli Electric Corporation. The seaweed pools are located several hundred metres from the plant smokestacks, and are filled with seawater that has been used to cool the electric turbines. The seaweed employed grows naturally in the Mediterranean sea in small amounts, but in the pools the forcing conditions of elevated CO2 concentrations increase its growth by a factor of one million.

I think it is more likely that Seambiotic are cultivating unicellular algae, not seaweed as we usually think of it. I understand also that they are currently doing well in the highly profitable Food Supplements market, so this may represent a branching-out of their business interests. The essential premise is particularly fortuitous for Israel given that both land and freshwater are highly costly there. So, seawater is used as the bulk medium, and introduced in relatively small area, shallow ponds, or mainly vertical flow-systems made of light-transparent plastic tubes to maximize the solar energy input. Taking unwanted and highly undesirable (global warming!) CO2 from otherwise "polluting" power stations to actually enhance the algal growth is a wonderful bonus. The one remaining component is "fertilizer". Will this be supplied in the form of seawater "naturally" polluted by sewage, or in some other way? If waste CO2, sewage and seawater are all that is required to provide the necessary culture-medium for the project, it looks like a winner!

Amnon Bachar, who is the director of Seambiotic, said: "In the scientific literature it is stated that it is impossible to grow seaweed through the use of carbon dioxide from power plants, because of large quantities of pollutants released from the smokestacks. But it appears that whoever wrote that does not know how to grow seaweed. We have found that seaweed can grow on the basis of the carbon dioxide being emitted from power plants. We get the carbon dioxide for free, and the power plant produces less pollution."

There are about 30,000 species of micro-algae known, most of which have not been researched into in regard to fuel production. Since they exist or can be grown in large amounts it is an exciting outlook if algae can be substituted as the new "crude oil", for the production of both fuel and chemical feedstocks for making pharmaceuticals, plastics, textiles, soap etc. etc. Algae might even form a significant proportion of the world's staple food in the future, as its population rises. Consequently, it is important to invest in finding the best algal strains to work with and exploit the benefits of.


Related Reading.
(1) "Israeli firm: seaweed could be used to solve energy crisis", by Ofri Ilan, Haaretz: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/837175.html
(2) "Israeli technology derives bio-fuel from algae", by Stephanie Field, ISRAEL21c: http:/www.israel21c.org/bin/en.jsp?enScript

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

Green Gold Algae and Seaweed Sciences Inc. (GGAS)

Company Concept



Green Gold Algae and Seaweed Sciences Inc., GGASS (pronounced "gas") was established in 2007 to research and develop technologies to provide biofuel and biomass sources from Macro- and Micro- algae species.

It is the mission of GGASS to become a world-leader in developing commercially viable sources of energy derived from seaweed and algae.

The initial focus of GGASS is in the field of Macro-algae. The Company has assembled a team of world-renowned algae and seaweed scientists with expertise in working with both species.

While many companies are working with Micro-algae to attempt to produce commercially practical sources of biodiesel, GGASS has focused its initial research and development efforts in the field of Macro-algae in order to produce commercially viable bioethanol and biomass products. It is the belief of the management of the Company that from a commercial, environmental, and political point of view bioethanol is a better answer to the energy problem in near future.

Bioethanol, as a fuel, has been validated commercially for years. In Brazil, for example, it has been used commercially in vehicles for over 30 years, and today the Brazilian motorist pulls up to the gas pumps and chooses the type of fuel based upon price at the pumps. In the United States, one only has to look at the fueling pumps to see the legend on them, "contains 10% ethanol". There is an acceptance of ethanol, a delivery system for its use, and a wide application for its use without costly conversions.

We believe there is a great opportunity in bioethanol as the political and economic climate has significantly changed. Bioethanol, as it is produced today, has many negatives. It uses fresh water, which is often scarce, to grow the crops such as sugar cane and corn from which it is derived. It uses farm land, and depletes the soil for future generations. It drives up the cost of food prices as it is derived currently from food crops.

GGASS believes it has a commercially and politically correct solution for this opportunity. Though its scientific team, it has identified several species of Macro-algae which it believes are appropriate candidates for commercial products.

Our product would not use fresh water, it grows in seawater or brackish water; it does not use farmland; and, it is not a food crop for which its use would have a negative impact on food prices. Additionally, the residue from the extraction of the fuel components would be capable of being used as biomass, or as an animal food source. Our products would be grown in land based controlled environment ponds, and the starch and carbohydrate components could be controlled and optimized while having no impact on the surrounding environment.

Our team of scientists include, Dr. Israel Levy, our Chief Scientific Officer and a world recognized leader in Macro-algae cultivation; Dr. Ami Ben-Amotz, a world leader in the production and commercialization of products derived from Micro-algae; Dr. Michael Friedlander, former head of the Department of Macro-algae at the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute in Haifa, Israel; Dr. M. Notoya, who heads the Government of Japan's research project on growing Macro-algae in the open sea; and, Dr. Colin Barrow, Executive Vice President of Ocean Nutrition of Canada, and an award winning scientist.



Additionally, the Company has recruited seaweed scientists with commercial expertise in a particular species of Macro-algae of interest to the Company.

The Company will initially share the research facility and use the pilot plant at the NoriTech Seaweed Biotechnologies Ltd. facility in Haifa, and will have access to NoriTech's commercial plant in Kona, Hawaii, which will be constructed during 2008.

The Company is headed by Richard Serbin. Richard is a pharmacist and an attorney by training, and practiced Patent Law and Food and Drug Law for the pharmaceutical industry, including Schering-Plough Corporation, Revlon Corporation and Johnson & Johnson Corporation. He founded or co-founded several healthcare, and healthcare service companies. The Executive Vice President of the Company is David Katz. David is an engineer by training, and was responsible for the construction of plants for The Coca-Cola Corporation internationally. David has direct operating experience in the alcoholic beverage industry and has served in senior management positions at several other Companies. David's expertise in carbonation issues is of particular value to the Company and its technology.

Additional members of the management include Dr. Israel Levy, its Chief Scientific Officer and a former oil company executive who has agreed to join the company as its Chief Operating Officer upon funding.



The Company will seek a strategic relationship with a fermenting company, or acquire technology to convert the extract from the Macro-algae into bioethanol.



It is the intent of the Company to avail itself of Governmental Grants which exist for research into potential biofuel alternatives. In fact, the Company has already been approached by Governmental agencies and large public corporations relating to potential working relationships.

It is the intent of the Company to pursue an aggressive patent and intellectual property strategy.

Although the Company has just begun its research initiative, it has studied the market, and believes that its initial primary focus of Macro-algae for bioethanol is sound. The majority of other companies are focused on biodiesel, and while we believe that there is a market for this energy source, it is our belief that bioethanol is the best choice for the environment and can be produced at commercially acceptable costs.

The Company is currently seeking funding and/or a strategic partner.

Any questions can be directed to:

Richard Serbin

Green Gold Algae and Seaweed Sciences Inc.
Beyla potash
718 715 0005


1-212-808-6514

bcole said...

National Algae Association
The Woodlands, Texas

Algae: The Next Biofuel
Is Black Gold Turning Green?

Inaugural

Algae Commercialization
Business Plan and Networking Forum

April 10, 2008

www.nationalalgaeassociation.com

Anonymous said...

Energy Balance
page three, line eleven from bottom,
"though" should be "through"?.
I am the world's worst speller but I realy do like the concept of
GGASS, please send more details if possible.
Keith Burgess BSc Eng
(ex C.E.G.B.employee)

energybalance said...

Yes I think it should be "through" but that error is on a comment to the blog and is not mine!

I am writing an a book-chapter about making biofuel from algae which should be available later in the year. I'll let you have a copy if you remind me.

All I know about CGASS is what that guy referred to but I'm sure if we googled it we could find some more details or a contact name. They are a commercial organization however, and presumably keep essential details to themselves.

I think there might be a bright future in all of this!

Regards,

Chris.

beyla said...

GGAS is growing ALgae to be used for BIO-Ehtanol at the Israel Oceanagraphic Institute
ISrael berzon the ALgae Fuel Ezpert has joined the company as a consultant & will be writing a joint patent with Dr.Levy

Anonymous said...

This seems like the answer to a maiden;s prayer (please pardon the expression if you would)and I would hope that Mrs Beyla Potash might be interested in making contact with a company I have heard of in the UK that is tackling converting biomass to ethanol for Mytum and Selby in West Yorkshire, I cannot think of its name off-hand, but I did see an email reference to it in my notes the other day in a paper to the INstitution of Chemical Engineers in 2008..

As I recollect the MD of the Company is an interesting gentleman who has a background in the use of biomass technologies that has resulted in the return to the oldest technology for rupturing ligno-celluloses to their constituents namely dilute acid hydrolysis.

I am intrigued to know though how far the hybrid breeding is progressing as from my view-point if my recollections of the phytoplanktons are correct the absence of lignin has to infer that the base material is made up of a large proportion of cellulose within the polymeric range of less than 4000 units and that the hemi-cellulose fraction is lower and the balance is a mixture of isocelluloses with a few nutrients/lipids and miscellabeous other chemicals.

It seems that the mechanism to farming the product has been well defined but that yields and the availability of land as always are problemmatic.

Please define.

beyla said...

To Anonymous
This is the answer to my dreams
Applied Biofuel Lts is a partnership between my company and the company that owns the technology you just mentioned
We have found the "Answer to converting MSW ,algae etc into cost efficent butanol, ethanol
We will be making a public announcement in the coming weeks
Beyla Potash
CEO Applied Biofuels

beyla said...

To Anonymous
This is the answer to my dreams
Applied Biofuel Lts is a partnership between my company and the company that owns the technology you just mentioned
We have found the "Answer to converting MSW ,algae etc into cost efficent butanol, ethanol
We will be making a public announcement in the coming weeks
Beyla Potash
CEO Applied Biofuels

Carol said...

Perhaps someone some expert with much more knowledge than most will be able to explain why the Biomass to Biofuels conversion processing you have referred to here has not taken over from the first stage Food Crops to Ethanol processes.

Across the World we hear from places like the Balkans to Mauritius from the UK to China from Malaysia to SaoPaulo (where the proposals are afoot to build massively expensive incineration plants with dubious environmental pedigrees) which can be obverted by the combination of proposals that you are stating.

What is apparent is that the Biomass from phytoplankton's in your Macro-Algae is practically all Cellulose - am I correct. In that case the obvious route to disassociation is via the best process known to all that is weak acid hydrolysis and to use carbon dioxide as the catalyst. In your area in Israel you talk of the work at Ashkelon and you also have an adequate supply of alkali available for neutralising this. In the old-fashioned pre-2000 procedures for weak acid hydrolysis of celluloses to sugars for fermentation to ethanol the issue has always been the limitations on batch processing. None the less that system has now been resolved with a continuous pressure system and so expectations that were limited at 250 litres of ethanol per tonne (of biomass from MSW) can now be expected to be exceeded and reach a good 300 to 350 litres per tonne. However with the use of your Macro-Algae (which if I am not mistaken is a hybrid grown and patented by Professors Drs Israel Levy and David Mendelssohn would suggest that you should reach 550 litres of ethanol per tonne. That being the case you must be on an absolute winner in the processing of Biofuels. Might it not be the case that in certain countries (like Israel and even China!) you could make the Country self-sufficient in transport fuels!!!! Isn't this the case of making electricity from wind and solar and water power and making transport fuels from biomass. We should not be burring these fuels.

Suppose that you joined as you have stated and built a Macro Algae factory on a desert platforms near the sea where the combination of saline water climate and sunshine was available and that there was a source of greenhouse gases available from a power plant and that adjacent thereto there was a local metropolitan area which had a huge MSW and Sewage Treatment facility nearby. This to me sounds like the Maiden's Prayer Option which you in the disclosure you have heralded must go for.

What do you think?

Look at these parameters and forget about the niceties of logic for a moment. There are many adventurous Countries that would grab at this chance and with the European Union looking at this style of project notwithstanding the Investment Banks and Like-Minded Investors your market is made for you. I could suggest to you some options here but noting that you are a new corporation is you ready?

energybalance said...

Dear Carol,

thanks for your comment. I am guessing that the high 550 l/t yield in comparison with more conventional biomass is that the algal strains are selected to produce much more cellulose than is normally present.

Many algae have significant oil and protein components too.

The overall conversion seems very high, and if the cellulose-sugar yield was 90% would imply (just doing some rough sums in my head) a 90% yield for the fermentation step. Or 80% if the feed were 100% cellulose-sugar.

I would certainly like to hear more about your ideas and if you are interested in discussing this more, please email me.

Regards,

Chris Rhodes.

Anonymous said...

I have also followed this train of thought through and can agree with Carol that by hybrid breeding the issue of creating a near 87.5% cellulose 7.5% hemicellulose phytoplankton (Macro-Algae) is a reality and one which we have also seen. I suspect that what was talked through by the previous article is in fact the same hybrids.

Converting such cellulose rich / hemicellulose rich Macro-Algae is certainly the way we wish to go and the doubts which you raise about conversion factors is equally a reality provided you use the right procedures. In this the issue is the preparation of the Biomass by breaking it down and then through hydrolysis reduce the polysaccharides to their monomers the C6 and C6-C5 fractions ready for fermentation in a continuous process. The use of a continuous reaction vessel (as in the Genesyst patented Gravity Pressure Vessel) is a key factor here. Up until now in the experiences of a batch process the product can be destroyed as quickly as it is made and the benefits of reaching even 40% are a mere aspiration. You will have noted from previous statements about the processing from the turn of the 19th to 20th century that even with a single source material the potential of extracting 250 litres of Ethanol per dry tonne of a low lignin (15%) based wood-based Biomass. So getting near to the same efficiencies in such a material is of great interest. Gaining in Saccharide conversion efficiency and equally gaining in the conversion of these to Ethanol is therefore not to be unexpected. The horizon of therefore equalling the 550 litres of ethanol per dry tonne of Macro-Algae biomass is therefore real. It should not surprise you here since the Gravity Pressure Vessel here which is patented to Genesyst solves the very issue that has beleaguered the original Dilute Acid Hydrolysis procedures which hitherto had been a batch process.

The use of the Gravity Pressure Vessel in process is currently accepted in a number of facilities around the World as for example in:- Hardenberg (Netherlands) using a combination of MSW and Agricultural waste; for West Yorkshire at South Milford for reclaimed Biomass from MSW; for HoChiMinhCity (Saigon) Vietnam using Biomass from MSW; for Kentucky using Biomass obtained from MSW; for India using MXW; for Israel using MSW; for Malaysia again using MSW and in Ireland. I also hear that there are even more facilities in the pipeline using the same Genesyst Gravity Pressure Vessel to break down the Cellulose Hemicellulose Lignin mixture from a large variety of MSW and other wastes.

Naturally there has to be a reason for using this process and that is simply put its capex and opex costs. These facilities use traditional water treatment plant which is off-the shelf (and readily available) in conjunction with standard pipes for the Gravity Pressure Vessel and carbonic acid for the catalyst followed with standard fermentation and a modified Ethanol Separation system. Thus the capital costs and the operating and maintenance costs are so much more favourable than the other systems which we have all heard of in recent years. The target I heard stated at a presentation in Yorkshire and before then in South Africa was to make Ethanol at a price compared to that of using Sugar Cane. This is a reality here.

Using Macro-Algae from farms is an added advantage to the process as one of the byproducts produced from the process is Carbon Dioxide and if this is used it will sequestrate the residuals for the production of additional Biomass.

Geraldine Edwards

Anonymous said...

I have also followed this train of thought through and can agree with Carol that by hybrid breeding the issue of creating a near 87.5% cellulose 7.5% hemicellulose phytoplankton (Macro-Algae) is a reality and one which we have also seen. I suspect that what was talked through by the previous article is in fact the same hybrids.

Converting such cellulose rich / hemicellulose rich Macro-Algae is certainly the way we wish to go and the doubts which you raise about conversion factors is equally a reality provided you use the right procedures. In this the issue is the preparation of the Biomass by breaking it down and then through hydrolysis reduce the polysaccharides to their monomers the C6 and C6-C5 fractions ready for fermentation in a continuous process. The use of a continuous reaction vessel (as in the Genesyst patented Gravity Pressure Vessel) is a key factor here. Up until now in the experiences of a batch process the product can be destroyed as quickly as it is made and the benefits of reaching even 40% are a mere aspiration. You will have noted from previous statements about the processing from the turn of the 19th to 20th century that even with a single source material the potential of extracting 250 litres of Ethanol per dry tonne of a low lignin (15%) based wood-based Biomass. So getting near to the same efficiencies in such a material is of great interest. Gaining in Saccharide conversion efficiency and equally gaining in the conversion of these to Ethanol is therefore not to be unexpected. The horizon of therefore equalling the 550 litres of ethanol per dry tonne of Macro-Algae biomass is therefore real. It should not surprise you here since the Gravity Pressure Vessel here which is patented to Genesyst solves the very issue that has beleaguered the original Dilute Acid Hydrolysis procedures which hitherto had been a batch process.

The use of the Gravity Pressure Vessel in process is currently accepted in a number of facilities around the World as for example in:- Hardenberg (Netherlands) using a combination of MSW and Agricultural waste; for West Yorkshire at South Milford for reclaimed Biomass from MSW; for HoChiMinhCity (Saigon) Vietnam using Biomass from MSW; for Kentucky using Biomass obtained from MSW; for India using MXW; for Israel using MSW; for Malaysia again using MSW and in Ireland. I also hear that there are even more facilities in the pipeline using the same Genesyst Gravity Pressure Vessel to break down the Cellulose Hemicellulose Lignin mixture from a large variety of MSW and other wastes.

Naturally there has to be a reason for using this process and that is simply put its capex and opex costs. These facilities use traditional water treatment plant which is off-the shelf (and readily available) in conjunction with standard pipes for the Gravity Pressure Vessel and carbonic acid for the catalyst followed with standard fermentation and a modified Ethanol Separation system. Thus the capital costs and the operating and maintenance costs are so much more favourable than the other systems which we have all heard of in recent years. The target I heard stated at a presentation in Yorkshire and before then in South Africa was to make Ethanol at a price compared to that of using Sugar Cane. This is a reality here.

Using Macro-Algae from farms is an added advantage to the process as one of the byproducts produced from the process is Carbon Dioxide and if this is used it will sequestrate the residuals for the production of additional Biomass.

Geraldine Edwards

Anonymous said...

Applied Biofuels LTD is a newly formed joint venture between Israel and US technology
We are in advanced talks for our first circular eco project using GPV, MS and macro algae
We have found the answer to cost effective, cost efficient ethanol turning liability into assets by turning MSW into ethanol
Call Beyla 972 (0) 54 2233700

Carol said...

The comments seem sound and most interesting.
The idea of using the Genesyst Gravity Pressure Vessel here is correct and it seems as though someone other than us has the same idea.
I hope that the CEO of the Company Beyla Potash is in touch with this.

Anonymous said...

This sounds to me as a brilliant move by Beyla Potash in her company as it also seems that Israel Levy and Professor Dr Mendelson are involved.

The obvious issue though is that if the Macro-Algae have been so bred to produce a high-Cellulose/Iso-Cellulose based material with hardly any lignin (or mischievous materials) and little if any ash (say 5%) then the potential yields of 400 to even 500 litres of Ethanol per dry tonne of the specifically grown selected hybrids Gracilleria-Hybrid(TM) or the Ulva-Hybrid(TM) produced in these parts of the world could be accepted - after all it is a dry weight issue. I do not necessarily agree with the previous comments therefore that this is potentially too high an expectation.

The potential therefore to extract Biobutanol from this source is problematic as the available Carbon (in Cellulose as C6(N) or Hemi-Cellulose C5(N)) C11(N) carbohydrates) has always been a problem of shortage of C. To me it looks like Beyla and Dr Levy and Prof Mendelson might investigate the enhancement of the C numbers in the MacroAlgae by agglomeration of C capture by utilising sub-low frequency electricity or perhaps incorporate the ΞΆ-potential to increase the yields of the Algae in the ponds.

To me it looks as though the farming system with minor adjustments could be reduced to say 3 weeks rather than 4 weeks and as a consequence the increase in utilisation of adsorption of CO2 would be much higher. In this event the higher C ratios in the basins would be of interest.

beyla said...

Beylas company has merged with Genesyst UK
Applied Biofuel LTD is the new entity
They have resolvd the issue u brought up ,but we are under confidentiality

The have signed an MOU with a prestigious Chinese Group to build their first facility in China

Contact Beyla at

9722(0)54 2233 700

Beyla will be speaking June 3 at the American Israeli Minnesota Chamber of commerce event in Minnesota

REDZGold Agarose INc is born out of their Macro Algae Technology

Anonymous said...

Beyla was received warmly at the Minnesota event
i have in info that Redgold has signed an NDA for exploring collaberation with a major US corporation hesdquatered in Minnesotta

Redgold

Sam

Anonymous said...

Redgold- turning red seaweed into gold
Agaros is extracted from "red eaweed" that only REdgold can do in controlled ponds
Redgold
is ready for production and seeking funds to get to samples

( 972 2 (0)54 2233 700

Anonymous said...

Redgpld is etarting to grow its first commercial algae ponds in Israel at an undisclosed area The"specoific macro algae "will be used for bio lab purposes"
This is an exciting development for the company
They are continueing to rasise funds for stage 2 of their buisness plan
beyla potash
972 2 (0)54 2233 700

energybalance said...

Thanks for the information update.

Regards,

Chris Rhodes.

Anonymous said...

This seems to be a most interesting series of discussions.
I had tryed to get the information sequence from other sources and came across the recent articles in Biofuels Digest yesterday but they referred to seaweed/algae and Beylas work (but did not mention much with the Tel Aviv group and prof Mendelsohn/Levy referred to here.)
What seems to be the case (in my opinion) is that Mrs Potash and Mr Hurrell(see the Biofuels reference)do not seem to be in contact with Statoil or the other oil companies - is that an omission on their part? There is a lot of funding around for this and the EU framework FP07 would surely love to see something in this cross-European area develop. I also noted that their company applyed biofuels is expecting to start work in Malta within weeks on an ethanol fuel project using various biomass materials. Hopefully the EU are involved in this as well and they will be using sea weed.
Let's see more of this work and see applyed biofuels supported here. Good luck it seems that with the joint initiative between the sea weed biomass and the use of the gravity pressure vessel you are on a winner.

Anonymous said...

I saw this article last week.

I note that you still consider fermentation of the saccharides to make ethanol and wonder whether you are missing a trick or two here. Having broken down the basic biomass to the saccharides (sugar) platform why not drop ''ferment'' these through the acetic acid route? You would increase the output of ethanol by as much as 50%from the cellulose route and a similar amount from the hemicellulose route and although you would need to include a small loss in the energy used the benefits in revenu streams would be dramatic. Taking this futher by looking at this for butanol and biokeresenes you could solve that problem at a stroke.
I presume that you are looking at growing sea weed in shallow lagoons in the desert and similar areas (by coal-fired power stations and areas where there is an excess of industrial carbon dioxide waste) because this would satisfy the need for sequestring this. What a super idea! That would solve the CSS issue by making use of the carbon dioxide rather than pumping it in to the ground in that horrendously expensive and nonsensical programme viewed by many in the EU as a saviour to solving what to do with the carbon dioxide.

Anonymous said...

Are we missing something here? These comments about the issue of the Macro-Algae and the development of hybrids to produce highly - rich Cellulose biomass is one thing: the reduction of the polymer to its components is equally good thinking provided you have a continuous procedure such as this important invention of the gravity pressure vessel (which seems to be the simplest invention ever for using pressure and heat to manipulate superheated water and acid hydrolysis) is the second.


However the issue is the availability of ''salt'' based storage lagoons and the supply of Carbon Dioxide and Fe N P and S nutrients which – as we all know - can be found in Power Station wastes and Sewage Treatment Plants as well as in Cooling water basins attached to various industrial complexes.


These combinations do not necessarily ally themselves together excepting in the major Industrial Heartlands of say the Ruhr the Gdansk area of Poland the Volga-Donetsk Basin or should we say in desert areas where Oil Extraction and Refineries are based (as for example in Northern Africa the Middle East Africa South America etc) and the Australian massive coal developments or indeed in China India Korea etc.


The problem though I see is that placing these basins of salty-macro-algal-lagoons out in a horizontal area could be problematic when land is at a premium. Decertified land is therefore good and waste basins by industrial complexes is equally as good.


To me the best objective would be to concentrate on a mixed source of raw materials from biomass that could be from Non-Food Crops (particularly waste sources so avoiding the fuel versus food debate) and then add to it the macro-algae basins on top of this source of supply material to maximise any inbuilt pollution (i.e. trap Carbon Dioxide within the plant) and to attract the similar issue from other areas. One area which is alluded to is the Carbon Capture and Sequestration idea of diverting spent (waste) Carbon Dioxide to one of these plants. This is an option also that could be used here and could be much more profitable than this scheme (CCS.)


Suppose therefore that we needed 200,000 tonnes per year of a biomass generated from this Macro-Algae system, and if we assume a yield per hectare at 25 times that of sugar cane (as in Brazil) then the area of land would still be fairly significant and several 10s of hectares. I have tried to evaluate the cost of say a basin arrangement of 2000 hectares and surprisingly enough the capital costs to produce such a facility is not that expensive if we use simple fibre-filled excavations.


Is this proposal something that is being looked at in the Mediterranean Basin with the company Beyla mentions? To me it sounds like a real opportunity to grow macroalgal materials in the area and some of the islands.

Anonymous said...

Are we missing something here? These comments about the issue of the Macro-Algae and the development of hybrids to produce highly - rich Cellulose biomass is one thing: the reduction of the polymer to its components is equally good thinking provided you have a continuous procedure such as this important invention of the gravity pressure vessel (which seems to be the simplest invention ever for using pressure and heat to manipulate superheated water and acid hydrolysis) is the second.


However the issue is the availability of ''salt'' based storage lagoons and the supply of Carbon Dioxide and Fe N P and S nutrients which – as we all know - can be found in Power Station wastes and Sewage Treatment Plants as well as in Cooling water basins attached to various industrial complexes.


These combinations do not necessarily ally themselves together excepting in the major Industrial Heartlands of say the Ruhr the Gdansk area of Poland the Volga-Donetsk Basin or should we say in desert areas where Oil Extraction and Refineries are based (as for example in Northern Africa the Middle East Africa South America etc) and the Australian massive coal developments or indeed in China India Korea etc.


The problem though I see is that placing these basins of salty-macro-algal-lagoons out in a horizontal area could be problematic when land is at a premium. Decertified land is therefore good and waste basins by industrial complexes is equally as good.


To me the best objective would be to concentrate on a mixed source of raw materials from biomass that could be from Non-Food Crops (particularly waste sources so avoiding the fuel versus food debate) and then add to it the macro-algae basins on top of this source of supply material to maximise any inbuilt pollution (i.e. trap Carbon Dioxide within the plant) and to attract the similar issue from other areas. One area which is alluded to is the Carbon Capture and Sequestration idea of diverting spent (waste) Carbon Dioxide to one of these plants. This is an option also that could be used here and could be much more profitable than this scheme (CCS.)


Suppose therefore that we needed 200,000 tonnes per year of a biomass generated from this Macro-Algae system, and if we assume a yield per hectare at 25 times that of sugar cane (as in Brazil) then the area of land would still be fairly significant and several 10s of hectares. I have tried to evaluate the cost of say a basin arrangement of 2000 hectares and surprisingly enough the capital costs to produce such a facility is not that expensive if we use simple fibre-filled excavations.


Is this proposal something that is being looked at in the Mediterranean Basin with the company Beyla mentions? To me it sounds like a real opportunity to grow macroalgal materials in the area and some of the islands.

energybalance said...

It is good to read these cogent comments/arguments, and to see in general how the prospects for this field are deepening.

I wrote this original article some while age and my more recent information is that the way to get the costs down is to integrate algae production with environmental clean-up strategies such as cleaning smoke-stack gases of CO2 (and also N2O) and N/P from sewage/agricultural runoff waters.

Indeed, finding a juxtapositon of all three, algae, sewage, power plants is not easy as a chance-occurrence, and it will be necessary to deliberately construct the whole package as new-build.

Now is the time to begin designing-in output/input combinations from the start, not only in this area but in the use of precious metals and so on.

Regards,

Chris Rhodes

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris Rodes:

Interesting thought about integration of the Macralgae (or Phtyoplankton) issue with other processes. If it is worthwhile then the hurdle is not as high as you think. I saw this series of correspondence some time ago and wondered what it was all about.

One thing that intrigues me and a colleague of mine as we connect here is that it seems that by hybridising the algae the proportions of the cellulose and hemicellulose cvan be manipulated to reap the best advantages of biofuel ethanol production. Am I right. (I am not sure whether this Mrs Beyla Potash is able to answer that issue.) To me if we can get to 85% cellulose then this would put it on a par with flax....or even cotton. The difference though is yield per hectare. A friend here also states that by manipulating the extent of daylight (in out of summer days) the yields could be enhanced to produce one harvest evry three weeks. That being the case the yields of biomass go up and then so would the biofuel...all pro-rata...so to speak.

I like the idea of placing this on the back of industry. Sounds like a more plausible notion than capturing CO2 and then storage underground. Suppose you have contacted the coal fired and oil firted power stations for thi? And why not place this on the back foot of a nuclear one as well? The CO2 is an issue in clean power but then what is meant by that? I read somewhere in the European press that the idea of CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage_ was on the agenda. Then either yesterday or today(?) an MP in britain suggested that clean coal technology revolved around capturing the CO2 and then pumping it under ground in these storage areas is the answer! Yuk! This is nonsense! Coal is a fossil fuel and using it to make power is an anathema of logic. Yers by all means clean up the coal but make use of the CO2 as here. (We cannot correct an evil just reduce its intensity!)

Now I do have some issues. If you make macroalgae farms as you indicate surely there is still a land issue. I admit if I am correct that at Ashkelon you must be in a desert environment but what about elsewhere? Cooling lagoons by power stations may not be that big...5 to 20 hectares and I wonder how much this would produce as a biofuel?

If then you go back to the deserts the other issue seems to be availability of water. Is sea water suitable? If so won't the sea waters be taken up in the macroalgae.? Presumably this is not deleterious to ethanol production? (In fact thinking that through it isn't...so i have answered that one already!)

It seems that shallow water basins reflecting the Passveer Aeration lagoons seen in sewage works would be the optimum answer. Are these to be built in concrete or as puddle-clay or MDPE and Btylalene linings? (I think I have the answer! They are lined shallows!)

I read that from Google Map we can see the lagoons and they appear to be very similar to this array! So the secret is out.

It is worthy to note that we can increase the dispersion of CO2 into water fairly easily by sophisticated pH and temperature contro;. That being sais what has to be done seems to be maximising adsorption into the algae. What take-up ratio do you anticipate for the equations of photosynthesis are pretty basic and an efficiency of 50% would still leave 40% CO2 behind! The mathematics of the CO2 (44 GMW) to C6H10O5 (152 GMW) is commonly accepted and gives a true insight in to the developments as Carbon governs all.

Where are you now with the Applied Biofuels programme? Have you or your partners applied to the EU for a grant could be very important. I noted that you are tied to Genesyst and therefore will be using their gravity pressure vessel: is this the one being used in Malta and Yorkshire that was also mentioned in the EU Press EurActiv? That looks like a very sensible non chemical approach and It seems worthy of much more publicity. What are you doing about this? You must have this publicity otherwise both you and the genesyst team will miss out.

Finally what are the next steps in the business? Erkki

Anonymous said...

Beyla CEO Redgold agarose hav been invited to Minnesotta for a one year follow-up luncheon for Redgold "one year later" from Virtual to reality
The progress has been amazing
They have received thirty dunams of land with an option for another 70 dunams to farm their algae & build the first state of the art graceliria factory producing the higest qualities of agaros & its deriviatives
|REDGOLD IS DESTINED FOR SUCCESS

energybalance said...

This very interesting comment appeared in my email but not on here as it should have done automatically, presumably due to some technical fault, so I'm posting it now.

Hi Chris.

What is happening here?


Is there any feed-back from Applied Biofuels Limited and the Algal front. As I read it the current programme is to make Ethanol from Ligno-Cellulose in Malta and whilst Macro-Algae is developing they will use sea-borne algae (sea-weeds) and blend farmed Macro-Algae from when it is grown. This will come from Israel and then grown locally in Malta.
Just reading through these exchanges of correspondences some comments/points.
1] I don't believe you need salty water for the growing of Macro-Algae! Hybridising these dispenses with it. I understand salt isn't necessary at all.
2] The South Americans are in the same game and they are ahead a long way and we are discussing. They have produced a 95+% Cellulose Macro-Algae. And they agree that it will reduce by carbon dioxide in the acid hydrolysis phase (the Genesyst approach) to the sugars to make Ethanol. The data we saw (?not sure as to Peer Review?) gave yields of farmed Macro-Algae in two locations - one within 50 km of the equator, and one just north of the Tropic of Capricorn on an inland desert area suggested that the algae could be farmed 10 - 12 times a year they could convert this to Ethanol at 28 times the rate of producing Ethanol from sugar cane. So Applied Biofuels (Genesyst/CCHC) is right. This means that they are on a winner in the future as this is developed. (A Peer review is needed.)
3] I am not sure why people question the 90+% effective and optimum yield of Ethanol from a near 95% Cellulose. This calculation I have done myself and it is real. Consider that we are not converting the water fraction. Consider also that whilst the perception of Macro-Algae is that it is wet the water content is superficial and not chemically-bonded. This is the mistake the pundits make with their calculations when they calculate the free water content of waste materials we see blanded around in Municipal Solid Waste calculations. As you may recollect these wastes are dried at 105 degrees C and therefore they will drive of the H-OH radicals that are bonded to the

C6 and the C5

I I I I I I I I I I I
-C-C-C-C-C-C- or the -C-C-C-C-C-
I I I I I I I I I I I

( I have chosen the simple linear array to be suitable for the discussion here rather than the isomer versions.)

When therefore you translate the dry Biomass the propensity of delivering more material as Ethanol from the theoretical mass of the C6 and C5 saccharides (sugars) should not be ignored. What you are missing is the fact that with the continuous procedures of the processing developed under the auspices of Genesyst International Incorporated designs which utilise the Internationally Patented Gravity Pressure Vessel (this is now recognised as the supreme piece of Engineering excellence ever contrived to effect a continued sequence of flow without using pumping and thus avoids the hit and miss approach of the batch systems we were all too familiar with in the 20th Century and even up to 2007.
4] I wonder whether you have had any recourse to reopen this web-file and bring it up to date withe these rapidly-moving developments? Any thoughts for the original posting appears to be 2007 and there doesn't seem to be any replies from the writers here whether they are Beyla or the Genesyst teams or others.

energybalance said...

I shall try and respond to the previous comment, but I would appreciate any insight from those more directly involved in this business than I am, and to pout me straight on any points.

I've had no direct feedback from Applied Biofuels Ltd or the Algal front.

Are we talking principally about MACROalgae rather than MICROalgae?

(1) I don't believe you "Need" saline water, but that some algae grow well on it, and it is not harmful to algae in general.

(2) By South Americans do you mean Brazil particularly, or which other countries are involved at the cutting-edge?

(3) I like hard numbers and could you send me details of the calculation you have done that you refer to? If such a cellulose-rich macroalgae can be produced and this broken down to sugars I can well believe the production rate of ethanol is greater by 28x that from sugarcane. Better, there is no competition with crop-land to produce fuel in this way since the tanks can be placed anywhere.

(3) Presumably around 50% of the cellulose (broken down in the form of sugars) ends up as CO2 and so the mass of ethanol would be half that roughly:

C6H12O6 --> 2CO2 + 2 C2H6O

I presume by "H-OH radials" you mean "water molecules", and indeed above 100oC the material will dry. If I understand you right, you are stressing the importance of referring to "dry mass" in calculating yields.

(4) I would appreciate any news and information and I will gladly update this article.

Best wishes,

Chris Rhodes

Anonymous said...

This is very interesting.

Is this the same Company - Applied Biofuel - that we now read about which has been given permission to start the development of the 48,000 hectares development of growing Macro-Algae in shallow lagoons across the flat lands of the MENA area of North Africa to grow the Bioethanol/Biobutanol biofuels we hear of earlier this week They talk of the use of the gravity pressure vessel (is that gesyst their partners0 with Beyla's organisation. This is a $multi-billion (at least $35 billion) development which will set the scene for the future. No wonder the secrecy about this.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris and All:

These comments are all surprisingly straight-forward.

Hybrid Macro-Algae which we are developing in South America and which are also being produced by Beyla's Team in Israel are being produced with an almost 97% pure Cellulose and Hemicellulose content in many places. What is also evident is that the yields of these "plants" can be harvested every 4 weeks and with a dwell period of say 1 week - and an allowance for maintenance - that means that 6 to 10 crops per year are a reality. Naturally an abundance of day-light is essential and thus locations near to the tropic would be more favoured unless cheap electricity to produce artificial light was available. (The artificial light scenario is of course the need for the phot-bioreactors we see being developed for Micro-Algae.)

I like the idea and I have recently asked my banking fraternity (hence my anonymous response) to have a look at it. They like the idea of Applied Biofuels Limited (the joint-venture approach being adopted by Beyla's Team with Genesyst UK Limited.) Bringing together the simplest of technologies to make Ethanol from the sources of biomass envisioned in their proposal in Malt and Israel is far less expensive than the fanciful genestically modified organisms approach and the doubtful approaches of attempting to rupture the formative biomass to ethanol we see having money wasted upon in the USa Germany and Holland.

Now the issue is to get these plants off the ground quickly enough. I am not sure whether the contact points for Applied Biofuels Limited in Malta were given anywhere. I can see the Genesyst UK site but not Beyla's. I also see references to a Carol who appears to be very active in the questioning.

What is obvious to me is that I am looking at a major Macro-Algae and Waste to Ethanol facility to be built in Morocco and the Western Sahara (Tunisia and Egypt are not too stable at the moment so we have ignorted them) and in these locations ample land is available. We need around 50,000 to 70,000 hectares in these countries and from that we would be able to supply billions of liters of bioethanol very cheaply. We can see that this combination of manufacturing bioethanol will be cheaper to produce than that currently made in either Brazil or India and the USA. And if we consider that gasoline prices in Holland are up to €1-70 a liter and even in the small country of Malta nudging up to €1-50 a liter if we can make the alternative fuel bioethanol and market it at a saving of €1-00 per liter then that would be good news for Holland and better still for the oil-dependent countries like Malta and Cyprus.

We must go for this and my banking company is very interested in this for the NW Coast of the Sahara.

You should also be aware that the proposals for a 30% Ethanol mandate shows that it does not impact the fuel consumption of mixed gasoline/ethanol driven cars.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for this exceedingly good posting.

Could you nadvise where the company Applied Biofuels is working or proposing a solution to making bioethanol as it appears mis-leading. Is it Israel and then Malta? And where does Beyla fit in with this for there seems to be a proposal read about (Bloomberg press? about March I think?) which suggests that there is a proposal to make bioethanol from various sources of biomass - including Sea-Weed from the Mediterranean, and there is a hint at the Israel developments for use of the technology from there as well - but we cannot find out anything further.
We see this as amjor step forward to optimis use of CO2 to make biofuels and naturally ethanol is easier than others, so that this Genesyst/GCASS issue which I have also read about in B;oomnerg and the European Journal is going to be built in the UK and Morocco offers to us as a power company a major source of investment.
I think that there must be a quick start to Malta project though since we are looking at new development that can only come from working in the Med.
Some feed back would be helpful.
Who is the Genesyst people in England?

Paul

CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES said...

THIRD GENERATION BIOFUELS FROM ALGAE
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES) have a new technology with major potential to contribute to the fight against climate change.As with all new technologies, careful consideration of potential impacts on the environment and human health is important.
The international community has acknowledges that global warming needs to be kept below 2˙C (3,6˙F) compared with the pre industrial temperature in order to prevent dangerous climate change.This will require significant reductions in the world´s emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHG) over the coming decades.CCRES have one of the technologies that can help to achieve this.
The EU, which is responsible for around 11% of global GHG emissions today, has put in place binding legislation to reduce its emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020.Europe is also offering to scale up this reduction to 30% if other major economies in the developed and developing world´s agree to undertake their fair share of a global reduction effort.
This is why the EU must support alternative fuels, in particular biofuels, with the triple objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, diversifying fuel supply and developing longterm replacements for fossil fuels.
Third generation biofuels from algae will have an important role to play as soon as they are ready for the market. They should be more sustainable, boasting both a lower enviromental impact and lower costs.Biofuels must become a commercial and competitive product using the broadest range possible of raw materials from both Nord and South Europe.
Biofuels from algae have a big role to reduce CO2 emmisions.
The sustainability of algae biofuels and their potential impacts on other sectors, including land use, are will remain critical issues.Algae biofuels provide an important contribution towards climate change mitigation and security of supply.They are only part of the solution, and must be considered in a wider context, in which efforts are also being made to reduce transport demand, improve transport efficiency and encourage the use of environmentally friendly modes of transport.
CCRES INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
CCRES international cooperation in algae biofuels research has a number of benefits for all involved:

working together enhances synergies between the different partners
partners can pool financial resources, share risk and set common standards for large or relatively risky research and development project
it speeds up the development of the clean technologies we need if we are to tackle our energy related problems
by linking up their efforts, partners can support a wider range of energy technologies and reduce the costs of key technologies
networking allows partners to better coordinate their energy research agendas

Over the years, CCRES has build up strong and lasting research cooperation partnerships on specific energy topics with partner organizations.
Zeljko Serdar
President & CEO
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

Anonymous said...

How is this development going on in Malta.

I understand that Applied Biofuels Malta is just about to start nuilding this €100 Million project and it to make 80 million litres of butanol (or 180 million litres of ethanol? Maybe the figures are wronf?) and it will give Malta over 300 jobs.

Is this the same project Mrs B Potash.

Anonymous said...

We are looking at this in great detail.

If you have this facility in Israel and you crop farmed lagoon algae (sea weeds) can you produce over 100,000 litres of ethanol per hectare?

My calculations suggest that on the basis of the 90+% cellulose and reaching 8 harvests per year then with a harvest of 25 tonnes a time this is a real possibility.

25 tonnes of biomass at 500 litres per tonne and 8 harvests gives that number.

Pumping CO2 in to this works.

A PassVeer ditch also works.

Anonymous said...

Is this the Company that is going to publish its findings in the European Union discourse through EurActiv in July?

Applied Biofuels Malta Limited is going public with its programmes of developments very soon as they have finally reached a stage to start.

It is also known that they can be very profitably described.

They do not have a web site as far as I have seen but they are connected to Genesyst UK Limited through their Directorate as P Hurrell and to that reference he is shown as being their technical director and the driving force behind that innovative approach.

I also understand that he has been fostering a programme in Northern Ireland und Scotland und England to make Butanol from Wastes.

Vitoria

Anonymous said...

Dear Contributors:

All this is excedingly very good.

So Malta will lead the world in producing biomass-ethanol from general organic materials. I had hope that I would see it start soon. There are rumours that the Company has been assembling a strong structure of people to work on this with a local construction company already on-board. Malta would seem the right place to start with a ready series of future projects around the area and across two the Mediterranean Area and to Asia. Let's hope that they start soon as we all need good news and Malta certainly would benefit from such an important development where they are not having to place any funds in.
Am I reight to assume that the programme can make either Ethanol or Butanol and that it can also make Methane and electricity. This is brilliant and I would like to see this developed across here in Turkey. I read up their web site and it seems that they do not use those hated enzymes and gm organisms that have cause d so much of a problem elsewhere.
Your decription here of spending €100 Million investements to make 90 to 110 million liters of ethanol and sell it at €cents 70 per litre, and even to make butanol and sell that for €cents 90/100 per liter is a no-brainer when diesel and gas costs €130 per liter.

We want this in Turkey and across the countries in Europ and Asia.

Karel

Anonymous said...

This article seems very interesting, are there any feed back mechanisns that can be followed?

I saw a mention to a Beyla Potash in Israel and wondered if this was the same in the Ashdod plant in Israel.

We looked at the issues of macroalgal materials and the growth ratios and found the whole issue very interesting. We saw a document presented some time ago about making biomass freed from lignin to make the biofuels like ethanol and butanol in detail (I think this was possibly in a presentation in the European Union (it seemed to be available in Malta and Holland)and it talked about the very large land area needed. However whilst looking at this we discovered that by simple mechanical engineering we could reduce the land area needed for these lagoons to barely 10% of that shown and that would still produce macroalgal growth rates that were almost 40 times that of growing sugar cane per hectare added to which there was no lignin. We discussed this with some colleagues in Brazil and the UK and they agreed that this was indeed the optimum way forward.

Importantly the production costs for making the biofuel ethanol would be reduced to less than €urocents 16 per litre - which is production at 100 million litres and more per year. We carried out the same development using the source biomass to make the biofuel butanol - as a precursor to make JP04 (jet fuel) and in that we ended up with a production cost of €urocents 19 per litre. In both of these instancs we did not use enzymes of genetically modified organisms as they are banned in the locations where we are developing these facilities with our banks and investers.

A plant to make 100 million litres of ethanol fuel from the macroalgae seems to be far better at achieving what we want as the use of the output is most desired. For the butanol we are in discussion with four companies that manufacture engines for buses and goods vehicles and they have now added their input and finances to assist in the details. With the banning of diesel cars across Europe by 2019 and the development of an alternative powerful fuel tyo supplement the disel butanol is the ideal fuel which we also know is quite well-favoured in a development at Napier University through Professor Martyn Tangney. We have attended his seminar lectures and they do significantly point the way forward here.

So if the Israel development is around still then it needs enhancing but it needs enhancing in to the European Union to gain absolute support. The alternative other wise would be to use the developments of Seawweed which has some advantages - principally low cost biomass.

Anonymous said...

HI! Saw this the other day.

You mention about biofuels from waste and this is interesting. can you advise who to contact here as we have a need to discuss this in SE Europe including Greece and Cyprus.

Dies Mrs Beyla or the other company in Malta have the connections? We need this desperately as we running out of time and we need bio-fuels - maybe ethanol or maybe liquid gas - for roads and shipping fuels in Mediterraean.

Cheers

Dimitros