Chris Somerville [Director of the EBI, UC Berkeley]
The earth receives approximately 4000 times as much energy from the sun each year as the total projected human energy use in 2050. Because plants can be deployed on a large scale to capture and store solar energy, I am interested in exploring the degree to which it may become possible to use photosynthesis for sustainable production of renewable carbon-neutral energy. In considering this possibility, the Secretary of Energy of the US has called for the replacement of 30% of the liquid fuels used in the US with biofuels by 2030. I will outline some of the technical issues that must be addressed in order to understand if it is possible to reach this and related goals. I will also discuss some of the areas in which I envision significant technical advances may enable evolution of the biofuels industry.
Chris Somerville is the Director of the new Energy Biosciences Institute at UC Berkeley,University of Illinois and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a professor of Plant and Microbial Biology at UC Berkeley. He has published more than 200 scientific papers and patents in plant and microbial genetics, genomics, biochemistry, and biotechnology.His current research is focused on the characterization of proteins, such as cellulose synthase, implicated in plant cell wall synthesis and modification. Somerville has served as a member of the scientific advisory boards of numerous academic institutions, corporations, and private foundations in Europe and North America. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, The Royal Society of London and the Royal Society of Canada and has received numerous scientific awards.
Los Alamos scientists see way for cellulosic biofuels (22APR09)
Technical Issues Associated with Future Large-Scale Cellulosic Biofuels Production: Part 1: The Argument for Biofuels
Technical Issues Associated with Future Large-Scale Cellulosic Biofuels Production: Part 2: Cellulosic Biofuels
Cellulosic Fuel for Dummies with Dr. Larry Walker
Alternative Energy - Biofuel from Algae
Algae is the fastest growing plant life, and as an organism it converts sunlight into oil, scientists theorize that Algal biofuel can produce a whopping 30 times more energy per acre than any other biofuel option. The US Department of Energy has estimated that if Algal Biofuel replaced all conventional fuel in the country, it would require 15,000 square miles of land to harvest the algae... which is roughly one seventh of the area that is used to harvest corn in the US every year.
And a diverse group of byproducts, such as neutraceuticals and feedstocks for producing plastics, can be created in algal biofuel operations, making the production more cost effective. But before we start celebrating the great biofuel solution we've been looking for, there are a few problems... the biomass for producing a significant amount of algal biofuel just doesn't exist yet. The algae has to be grown from scratch and harvesting it is very expensive at this point in time. The potential of Algal Biofuel is staggering... but the problem is that, as of now, it's all just potential.
It might be years before the technology catches up to make producing algal biofuel on a large scale possible... but when that time comes, we might be able to finally celebrate a more efficient, renewable, and environmentally friendly energy source. For more information on this exciting and developing technology, check out AlgalBioMass.Org. I'm Elizabeth Chambers. Check back here for more eco friendly news and tips, right here on LivingGreenChannel.Com.
Next Big Bio-Fuel - ALGAE
Bryan Garner, News Channel 5 visits a farm in Fellsmere that produces algae which replaces crude oil. Fred Tennant (Vice President of Petroalgae) says it is cheaper than oil, a lot cheaper. Arizona State developed this Algae and or process. Bits of algae fed with carbon dioxide grow dark green. From seed to harvest in just two days.
This video was taken before the gas reached the four dollar mark. The kick in the ass is that this company will not produce it for the public. So I don't see it effecting pump prices, EVER!
ALGAE -- THE HOLY GRAIL OF BIOFUEL?
Algae to be Refined Into Cost-Effective, Non-Polluting Biodiesel
Can algae -- the green slime that forms on the top of stagnant pools -- reduce greenhouse gas emissions and be the source of a new renewable bio-fuel? The Holy Grail in the renewable energy sector has been to create a clean, green process which uses only light, water and air to create fuel.
Vertigro Energy is a joint venture between Global Green Solutions and Valcent Products. Vertigro's algae-to-biofuel technology mass produces algae and extracts algae oil. This oil can be refined into a cost-effective, non-polluting diesel biofuel. The algae derived fuel will be an energy efficient replacement for fossil fuels and can be used in any diesel powered vehicle or machinery. In addition, 90% by weight of the algae is captured carbon dioxide, which is "sequestered" by this process, contributing significantly to the reduction of greenhouse gases.
The Vertigro technology was developed in response to a huge unsatisfied demand for vegetable oil feedstock by biodiesel refiners and marketers. Biodiesel, in 2000, was the only alternative fuel in the United States to have successfully completed the Environmental Protection Agency required Tier I and Tier II health effects testing under the Clean Air Act. A U.S. Department of Energy study has shown that the production and use of biodiesel, compared to petroleum diesel, resulted in a 78.5% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
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