Click here for more information about Algenuity
Click here for more information about Liqofluxphenometrics515R1
Visit cricatalyst.com!Evodos Separation Technology

Innovations

Sugar Kelp a biofuel target in Scandinavia

November 19, 2014
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

The Seafarm project involves growing underwater algae farms on ropes. Photo: http://www.fuelfreedom.org

The Seafarm project involves growing underwater algae farms on ropes. Photo: http://www.fuelfreedom.org

William Tucker writes in fullfreedom.org about the lure the oceans have for advocates of biofuel, particularly in Scandinavia. “Two-thirds of the globe is covered with water,” says Khanh-Quang Tran, a Norwegian researcher who has published papers on the possibility of growing algae as a biofuel on an industrial basis. “If we used only a tiny portion of that space, we’d have enough to supply ourselves with all the fuel we needed.”

Of particular interest to researchers is one species, laminaria sacceyarina (“sugar kelp”), which grows along the coast of many countries, including Scandinavia. It is the seaweed that seems to be a flower but is actually all one undifferentiated cellular structure that takes on various forms in competing for sunlight. As the name implies, it contains lots of sugar – three times as much as the sugar beet. Scandinavian scientists have been especially intent on harvesting this plant for food and fuel use.

“It’s actually regarded as a nuisance, since it grows everywhere and clogs the beaches,” says Fredrik Grondahl, a researcher at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden who heads the Seafarm project. “But it absorbs nitrogen out of the water, as effectively as a wastewater treatment plant. It’s regarded as an environmental problem, but it’s actually a valuable resource.”

The big question will be: Can a weed that grows so prolifically in the sea be domesticated so that it can grow in large quantities under controlled conditions?

Sweden and Norway seem to have taken the lead on this project, mainly because of their long coastlines, where the algae grow intensely in a cold climate. The Seafarm project involves growing underwater algae farms on ropes. The team collects excess algae from the Baltic Sea and cultivates it as food and fuel.

One technique is called the “sporophyte factory farm.” The algae spores are sown onto ropes. They sink and grow in the sea. In about six months they are harvested and processed on land. From there it can be converted to eco-friendly food, medicine, plastics and fuels such as methanol. The Swedish city of Trelleborg, with a population of about 30,000, estimates that 2.8 million liters of fuel can be extracted from its algae resources.

Kahnh-Quang Tran has been following another line of research and is now looking for partners who can help him move up to an industrial scale. He mixes a slurry of kelp biomass and water and heats it rapidly to 350 degrees Centigrade. Tran says the fast hydrothermal liquefaction gives him a product that is 79 percent bio-oil. “What we are trying to do is mimic the natural process that produces oil,” he said. “Whereas it takes geological time in nature to produce oil, we can do it in a matter of minutes.”

Read More

More Like This…

HOME Algae Industry Jobs

Copyright ©2010-2013 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission required to reprint this article in its entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact editorial@algaeindustrymagazine.com. A.I.M. accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics Inc. have announced that, in joint research into advanced biofuels, they have modified an algal strain to more than double its oil conte...
David Erickson writes in the (Montana) Missoulian that Clearas Water Recovery, a Missoula tech company formed eight years ago, has developed a patented process to use alg...
Washington State University researchers have developed a biofilm reactor to grow algae more efficiently, and make the algae more viable for several industries, including ...
The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) reports that an international team has discovered an enzyme which allows microalgae to convert some of their fatty acid...
The United States Department of Energy (DOE) announced that the University of New England was awarded a three-year, nationally competitive research grant for $1,321,039 f...
Malaysia-based Algaetech International, a pioneer algae technology company specializing in R&D, as well as production and commercialization of algae-derived high valu...
Globally, an increase in water pollution is pushing scientists and environmental care specialists to seek best ways of preserving and maintaining sources of safe drinking...
Cody Nelson writes for MPRNews.org that a team of University of Minnesota-Duluth researchers wanted to know how shortening winters — and less ice cover on lakes — might i...
Hayley Dunning writes from the Imperial College of London that a new discovery has changed our understanding of the basic mechanism of photosynthesis and should rewrite t...
Environmental Technology magazine notes that the difficulty in predicting how algae blooms will develop lies in their variform nature. With a multitude of different bloom...
Nature.com reports that swimming algae have been enlisted to carry drugs to individual cells, raising the prospect that such “microswimmers” could deliver targeted therap...
Mazda U.K. has announced that they are currently involved in joint research projects and studies as part of an ongoing industry-academia-government collaboration to promo...