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Posts tagged “algal biodiesel”

By Robert Rapier on Jun 7, 2010 with 76 responses

Five Challenges of Next-Generation Biofuels

The USDA has just issued a report detailing the outlook and challenges of next generation biofuels.

By Robert Rapier on Feb 19, 2010 with 69 responses

Another Response to the DARPA Claim

Many of my essays here are reprinted at The Energy Collective. Following a reprint of my recent essay examining DARPA’s extraordinary claim on the cost of algal fuel, a reader named Durwood Dugger (this gentleman, I presume) posted some very interesting comments that are worth reproducing here. His original comment can be found here. ————————- I was at the AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) meeting in Orlando in February and participated in the biofuel for aviation workshop round-table discussion at the invitation of NASA. I have been producing algae (not for fuel) for commercial purposes for the last 38 years. None of the presentations or the discussions in round table discussion in which I participated leads me to… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Feb 17, 2010 with 7 responses

Algal Oil for $2 a Gallon?

By now I have had at least a dozen people send me the link or ask me to comment on the recent DARPA announcement that they can produce algal oil for $2 a gallon. My fellow blogger Lou Grinzo has already made a few comments, and I share his skepticism. It is an extraordinary claim, to me ranking up there with “We have invented time travel.” Then again, if you invented the Internet, I suppose people tend to cut you a lot of slack. But it is true that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and in this case I find the latter to be lacking. First, the claim:US military to make jet fuel from algae Scientists at the Defense Advanced… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Nov 14, 2009 with no responses

Slides from the Pacific Rim Summit

I am hopping on a plane again today, this time bound for the Orlando Energy Conference. The topic I will present is An Overview of Global Energy Issues. Good thing they asked for something easy and non-controversial. This is the last trip I have scheduled for this year, and I am hoping not to have to travel again for a while. Following Orlando, I will spend a few days at the family farm in Oklahoma, where Internet access has yet to make an appearance. Therefore, I will be slow to return e-mails and respond to comments. If all goes according to plan I will be back in Hawaii on November 21st (after having missed my wife’s birthday for the 4th… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Nov 11, 2009 with 1 response

Algal Tidbits from the Pacific Rim Summit

My presentation is tomorrow, but I have sat through some very interesting presentations over the past couple of days here at the Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy. They have five panels going at once, but I have been sitting in on the cellulosic ethanol, algal fuel, and biomass logistics sessions for the most part. They will have links up to the presentations at some point, but I have been taking a lot of notes (12 pages of notes so far!) On algae, these were some of the more pessimistic comments from various presenters, some of whom are executives at algae companies: “Algae carries a great deal of technical risk.” Asked about expected cost of algal oil: “I… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Oct 29, 2009 with no responses

Interview With an Algae CEO

So I am finally back home for the next 10 days, and slowly catching up. I had a good trip to Panama and then to Stanford. I had my luggage sniffed by dogs when I connected in El Salvador, and then when connecting in LAX Gwen Stefani and her husband walked by within 3 feet of me. I told my wife that I probably could have touched her, but then I might have been delayed by a trip to the L.A. County Jail. I also read Oil on the Brain on the long plane trips, and will soon post a review of that. I will also put up the slides I delivered at Stanford. One of the things I did… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Sep 7, 2009 with no responses

Biofuel Niches

This is the final installment of a three-part series that examines some of the renewable energy options that are presenting themselves as possible contenders to step up as petroleum steps down the depletion curve. The previous installments were: Biofuel Pretenders Biofuel Contenders Today I want to talk about Biofuel Niches. Here is how I would define a Biofuel Niche: A technology that is capable of supplying, long-term, up to 10% of our present liquid fossil fuel consumption, often by utilizing specific, localized synergies. This definition covers a great number of possibilities, and I don’t pretend that I will even cover a large fraction of them. But I want to cover some specific fuels – like cellulosic ethanol – that I… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 31, 2009 with no responses

Biofuel Pretenders

Note This article was initially titled “Pretenders, Contenders, and Niches.” However, the section on pretenders grew to the point that I have decided to split the essay up into three parts. The first part, Biofuel Pretenders, will cover many of the current media and political darlings. The second part, Biofuel Contenders, will discuss some options that have received less attention, but in the long term are more likely to have staying power. The final part, Biofuel Niches, will discuss situations in which some of the pretenders might actually work. Reality Begins to Sink In There was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal this past week: U.S. Biofuel Boom Running on Empty A few pertinent excerpts: The biofuels revolution… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 30, 2009 with no responses

A Pair of Odd Energy Stories

I am working on a story inspired by last week’s Wall Street Journal article: U.S. Biofuel Boom Running on Empty It is taking longer than anticipated, but hopefully I will have something up tonight or early tomorrow. Until then, I thought I would share a couple of odd energy stories this Sunday. The first, courtesy of Solar Roadways’ press page: US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AWARDS $100,000 RESEARCH CONTRACT TO SOLAR ROADWAYS Funds intelligent roads and parking lots SOLAR ROADWAYS, SAGLE, IDAHO (August 25, 2009)- Solar Roadways today announced that it has been awarded a DOT contract that will enable them to prototype the first ever Solar Road Panel. The Solar Roadways will collect solar energy to power businesses and homes… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 21, 2009 with no responses

Disruptive Technologies Are So Overrated

It’s the end of a very long day, but I couldn’t resist commenting on the recent story from Joule Biotechnologies: Joule Biotechnologies Introduces Revolutionary Process for Producing Renewable Transportation Fuels CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Joule Biotechnologies, Inc., an innovative bioengineering startup developing game-changing alternative energy solutions, today unveiled its breakthrough Helioculture™ technology—a revolutionary process that harnesses sunlight to directly convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into SolarFuel™ liquid energy. This eco-friendly, direct-to-fuel conversion requires no agricultural land or fresh water, and leverages a highly scalable system capable of producing more than 20,000 gallons of renewable ethanol or hydrocarbons per acre annually—far eclipsing productivity levels of current alternatives while rivaling the costs of fossil fuels. Joule SolarFuel liquid energy meets today’s vehicle fuel specifications and… Continue»