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Posts tagged “algal fuel”

By Robert Rapier on May 7, 2012 with 55 responses

Current and Projected Costs for Biofuels from Algae and Pyrolysis

A reader recently called my attention to a new and very interesting presentation from the Department of Energy’s Biomass Program:

Biofuels Design Cases

The presentation explored the question of whether the U.S. government is spending money on the right technology pathways. Costs were presented for biofuel produced from pyrolysis, algae, Fischer-Tropsch (FT), and methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) routes.

I want to share several slides from the presentation to give an idea of what the DOE thinks about the costs for producing biofuels via the various pathways. The first slide below shows the projected cost of production of biofuels via MTG, pyrolysis, and FT for the “Nth Biorefinery Plant” — which is defined as the projected fuel cost after a number of plants have been built and the learning curve has been mastered.

 Figure 1. DOE projections of costs for biofuel from MTG, pyrolysis, and FT routes.


By Robert Rapier on Mar 1, 2012 with 16 responses

Natural Gas Liquids and Algae as Fuel — R-Squared Energy TV Ep. 13

In this week’s episode of R-Squared Energy TV, I answer questions about natural gas liquids and algal fuel. Some of the topics discussed are:

  • The difference between natural gas liquids (NGLs) and crude oil
  • How NGLs and “all-liquids” contribute to oil supplies
  • How “double-counting” and net energy impact the reported oil supply numbers
  • The challenge of water in making algal fuel economical
  • Whether algal fuels have long-term process



By Robert Rapier on Oct 23, 2011 with 74 responses

Visit and Conversation With Executives at Solazyme

On October 13, 2011 I paid a visit to Solazyme’s headquarters in San Francisco. For those who are unfamiliar with Solazyme, they produce oil from genetically modified algae. The company was founded in 2003 by two college friends, Jonathan Wolfson and Harrison Dillon. I had previously visited with Dr. Dillon at the 2009 Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy in Honolulu. Harrison is Solazyme’s Chief Technology Officer, and he filled me in on some of what the company was doing at that time. This time I was going to have a chance to interview Solazyme CEO Jonathan Wolfson. A lot has happened since that meeting with Harrison in 2009. Solazyme has delivered hundreds of thousands of gallons of… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Oct 9, 2010 with 26 responses

Solazyme CEO Clarifies Costs

Prior to publishing the previous essay, U.S. Navy Pays Big Bucks for Biofuels, the editor for Consumer Energy Report asked why I didn’t go with a more descriptive title like “U.S. Navy Pays $425 per Gallon for Biofuels.” I told him that the reason I didn’t is that the source clearly said that some of the money was for R&D, and there was really no way to know how much. The information given for the second contract didn’t indicate that there was any R&D money involved, and the calculated price was much lower. Still, I considered that there were some other details of the contract that weren’t public, which is why I just said “Big Bucks” instead of specifying a… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Oct 8, 2010 with 36 responses

U.S. Navy Pays Big Bucks for Biofuels

The U.S. military, as the single biggest consumer of fossil fuels in the world, are particularly interested in alternatives due to supply risks and price security.