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Algae Biomass for Biodiesel Feed Stock

Biodiesel is the most sought after alternative liquid fuel these days. Since biodiesel is produced from vegetable oil or animal fat, it eliminates large point sources of pollution as seen in various stages from mining to refining of fossil fuels. Biodiesel also has the advantage of low emissions. Large scale biodiesel production will Increase agricultural activities which, in turn, will lower atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

Despite all positive signs, biodiesel production from current feed stocks has its own disadvantages. Annual oil yield of traditional oil crops varies from 18 gallons per acre to 635 gallons per acre. To produce enough oil to replace a part of fossil oil in current use requires extensive cultivation on millions of acres of land, competing with agricultural and grazing lands, resulting in both food scarcity and price hike.

This is where micro algae cultivation becomes relevant. Many species of micro algae have high lipid content. Current theoretical estimates based on existing growth equipment and technologies show that algae can yield up to 20,000 gallon oil per acre annually.

In natural habitats growth and reproduction of algae colonies are limited by various factors like light penetration, availability of dissolved nutrients and gases, pH levels of water etc. To overcome these limitations, algae is commercially grown in photo bioreactors.

Photo bioreactor equipment grow photosynthetic micro organisms like algae to providing an optimum growth environment for the colony. All existing photo bioreactors have their own limitations addressing the unique behavior of algae cells. For this reason, no bioreactor system or growth technology is yet known to have achieved the above theoretical yield. Although most bioreactors perform well in laboratories, they usually end up with scaling issues. It is into this void Algaecake Tech. Corp. intends to place itself with our patent pending bioreactor design and growth technology.

Algae Photobioreactor: Design Considerations

Minimum land usage: A commercial bioreactor system should be capable of holding large volumes of media at a luminance appropriate for active photosynthesis. Light penetration into various depth levels of an algae colony depends on cell density of the colony, Because of mutual shading of cells; a dark zone is formed at deeper zones, limiting photosynthesis and growth. It is generally observed that in media containing a dense algae colony, optical density decreases in deeper zones. In such dense colonies, proper optical density to perform active photosynthesis will not be available beyond a depth of 15 to 20cm. For this reason, regardless of the actual depth of the water body, the active photosynthetic volume of a natural algae habitat is generally 600 to 800 cubic meters. Most of the existing photobioreactor systems do not offer any substantial volume advantage over natural habitats. Read more.

Algaecake's Photobioreactor & Algae Propagation Technology

Our patent pending photo bioreactor system is an arrangement of large volume vertical bioreactors capable of holding up to 10,000 M3 media per acre. Each bioreactor in the system has a dark zone and a light zone, thus representing a complete cell cycle. The system improves media holding capacity by 10 to 12 times (1000% to 1200% volume advantage). The system is capable of managing the cell cycle of algae species by manipulating the duration of the light period and the dark period to achieve multiple cell cycles within 24 hours while substantially reducing the crop period. For instance, achieving 6 cell cycles per day will reduce the crop period by 1/6th of same species grown under natural day and night conditions. These two features dramatically reduce land usage. Read more.

Sustainability for Anaerobic Digestion

In an anaerobic digester, animal wastes are degenerated to organic manure and biogas is produced which is about 60% methane (natural gas) and 40% carbon dioxide. Methane from the biogas gas is separated from the co2 and burned as an energy source. Biogas is a more environmentally friendly alternative to using gas or coal as an energy source. Read more.