Iowa negotiating for algae biodiesel plant

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Thread: Iowa negotiating for algae biodiesel plant

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    Iowa negotiating for algae biodiesel plant

    Iowa sees promise in algae-to-biodiesel project
    The Iowa Power Fund board agreed Wednesday to entered funding negotiations for the state's first algae-to-biodiesel project, offering the promise of a new feedstock for Iowa's renewable fuels industry.

    A pilot plant proposed by Green Plains Renewable Energy would use three byproducts from the company's Shenandoah plant - waste water, waste carbon dioxide, and waste heat from dryers - as feedstock to grow algae. The algae would then be harvested and processed into biodiesel
    ...
    Green Plains' partner in the project, Cambridge, Mass.-based GreenFuel Technologies, worked with Arizona Public Service Co. to develop a algae-based bioreactor that produces ethanol biodiesel from power plant gases and ethanol in Arlington, Ariz.

    GreenFuel has also led other projects including development of an algae farm at the Sunflower Integrated Bioenergy Center in Holcomb, Kans., using emissions from a coal-burning power plant.
    ...
    Connell said Iowa's temperate climate has advantages for algae-based systems because it requires less energy to heat water to the temperature needed by growing algae than to cool it in hot southern climates. Carbon dioxide emissions from natural gas-fueled ethanol plants are more suitable for growing algae than carbon dioxide emissions from coal-burning plants because the emissions contain fewer impurities, Connell added.

    Harvested algae would be run through a centrifuge to remove water and then oils would be pressed from the algae, Connell said. The oils will be processed into biodiesel, and the remaining solids would be converted into animal feed that is a better source of protein for swine than the distillers dried grains produced by corn-based ethanol plants, Connell indicated.

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    Re: Iowa negotiating for algae biodiesel plant

    Sweet!

    I really hope this stuff takes off. Thanks for always keeping us posted.

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    Re: Iowa negotiating for algae biodiesel plant

    Im glad that the alternative fuels option continues to expand, have a question for you though, HR, Ive noticed that the price of E85 keeps pace with the price of gas, this does not make sense to me. If the price of a barrel of oil goes up and their for gas say from 3.15 to 3.35 and E85 was 2.75 it is now 2.95, it allways seems to keep that 30 to 35 cent distance from regular. would one be correct in thinking that the price of ethanol would be stable, if E85 was selling for 2.25 then shouldn't it be only 1.5 cent higher for every 10 cent price price in gas. so if gas has gone up 50 cent then E85 should have gone up 7.5 cent maye be 10 cent. sounds logical to me, tell me where im wrong.

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    Re: Iowa negotiating for algae biodiesel plant

    I think the reason for that is that people will charge what they can for something.

    The is not a surplus of ethanol right now, so the amount they have carries a price tag to reflect that. When all of these new plants come online, then the price COULD go down alot. E85 still carries a allure of being eco-friendly, so they have to get a little for that. But as opposed to the finite amount of oil we have on this planet, the amount of ethanol that can be produced is infinite.

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    Re: Iowa negotiating for algae biodiesel plant

    Quote Originally Posted by TORRED1 View Post
    Im glad that the alternative fuels option continues to expand, have a question for you though, HR, Ive noticed that the price of E85 keeps pace with the price of gas, this does not make sense to me. If the price of a barrel of oil goes up and their for gas say from 3.15 to 3.35 and E85 was 2.75 it is now 2.95, it allways seems to keep that 30 to 35 cent distance from regular. would one be correct in thinking that the price of ethanol would be stable, if E85 was selling for 2.25 then shouldn't it be only 1.5 cent higher for every 10 cent price price in gas. so if gas has gone up 50 cent then E85 should have gone up 7.5 cent maye be 10 cent. sounds logical to me, tell me where im wrong.
    Imagine you are a refiner. Let us say it costs you $3.00 to buy oil and refine it into a gallon of gasoline. You then sell it to the local gas station for $3.30. The gas station then sells it to you for $3.50.

    Now the local ethanol producer goes to the refiner and says "rather than spend $3.00 a gallon refining oil, why not buy my ethanol for $2.90 a gallon and mix it in. That will save you 10 cents per gallon, which means you can lower your price by 5 cents in order to undercut your competition, and still come out ahead 5 cents a gallon." Needless to say, the refiner does it.

    Now the price of oil goes up. As a result, it now costs the refiner $3.20 to refine a gallon of gasoline. Guess what the ethanol producer is going to do: raise his price from $2.90 to $3.10. The refiner still will happily pay the higher price because he still comes out ahead 5 cents per gallon.

    This will continue until there is a glut of ethanol. At that time, ethanol producers will have to compete among themselves for business by lowering their prices. What will happen is that the price of ethanol will drop low enough to create new demand for E85. But right now there is a shortage of ethanol, so all ethanol producers need to do is keep their price a little below the refiner's cost of producing gasoline.

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    Re: Iowa negotiating for algae biodiesel plant

    Thanks for the opinion, that is what i felt, however I was curious because one of the excuses for not putting more pumps in for ethanol is that their is "not enough demand" or so they say, my new work van is E85 compatible but the company wont let us use it because the price is so close and it actually cost to use E85. If the price was down then the demand would be up and it would encourage more developement dont you think, it seems that the retailers or oil co's or whomever dont really want the E85 to catch on, they are just humoring us, and when it potentially fails they can say thet thier was no demand for it. Do you see where im comming from. kind of a catch 22, I'd love to use it but can't.

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    Re: Iowa negotiating for algae biodiesel plant

    Quote Originally Posted by TORRED1 View Post
    If the price was down then the demand would be up and it would encourage more developement dont you think, it seems that the retailers or oil co's or whomever dont really want the E85 to catch on, they are just humoring us, and when it potentially fails they can say thet thier was no demand for it. Do you see where im comming from. kind of a catch 22, I'd love to use it but can't.
    The problem is that they cannot make ethanol fast enough as it is. Why sell it for $2.00/gallon and create more demand when (1) you do not have the production capacity to meet the current demand and (2) you are selling everything you can possibly make at $3.00/gallon.

    But fear not! According to this site, America's ethanol production capacity is quickly increasing:

    2005 -- 3.6 billion gallons per year
    2006 -- 4.3 billion gallons per year
    2007 -- 5.5 billion gallons per year
    current -- 7.2 billion gallons per year

    Given that all estimates are that we will produce between 7.8 and 8.0 billion gallons in 2008, and not all plants can run at 100% all the time, we can conclude that by the end of this year, capacity will be in excess of 8.0 billion gallons per year.

    So just give it some time, and production will catch up. In the mean time, enjoy the thought that all of the construction needed to produce 8 billion gallons of ethanol is adding a lot of construction jobs to the American economy.

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    Re: Iowa negotiating for algae biodiesel plant

    Im with ya, keep the info comming, thanks.

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    Re: Iowa negotiating for algae biodiesel plant

    Given that just about every vehicle can run 20-25% ethanol, lets say that 100% of our fuel was to be 20% mixed. How many gallons of ethanol do we need to produce to take up 20% of the entire American demand?

    There is no excuse not to be working towards that. Hell, why do I not own an ethanol plant right now? Geez...brb....

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    Re: Iowa negotiating for algae biodiesel plant

    Quote Originally Posted by logansowner View Post
    Given that just about every vehicle can run 20-25% ethanol, lets say that 100% of our fuel was to be 20% mixed. How many gallons of ethanol do we need to produce to take up 20% of the entire American demand?
    27.8 billion gallons will get us to 20%.

    We will make about 7.8 billion gallon this year.

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    Re: Iowa negotiating for algae biodiesel plant

    I have a feeling as an organic gardener that those "remaining solids", along with being a great livestock feed, could make an excellent high-nitrogen fertilizer. Since many people buy and eat spirulina algae for its outrageous nutritional content, I wonder if those "remaining solids" might be used as a protein supplement we could buy in powder form to add to meatloaf, vegetarian patties like I make at home, stews, etc. I'd love to see some...may ask them if I could be sent a few pounds to examine and experiment with in my gardens.
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    Re: Iowa negotiating for algae biodiesel plant

    Quote Originally Posted by HoosierRon View Post
    27.8 billion gallons will get us to 20%.

    We will make about 7.8 billion gallon this year.
    That's a lot better than I expected. We are going up a higher percentage every year. So with the new technology coming, that could be a reasonable goal in a few years. Plants are being built much faster today than they were just last year.

    If all gas could be 15 or 20, and have E85 available at maybe 1 in 3 stations, we'd be doing pretty good. Still close enough to find if you need it, but not at the expense of expecting every station to have it.

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    Re: Iowa negotiating for algae biodiesel plant

    Yes, but they're also trying to work out ways to harvest the oil from the algae without destroying it. This would greatly increase the productivity.

    Nothing like a little good ol' American ingenuity :-)
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    algae biodiesel

    http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/as.../11/eco.algae/


    The greenest of the green?

    Algae have been touted as the greenest of all green fuels and it's not hard to see why. They are oil-rich themselves, with some strands carrying more than 50 percent oil content.

    They can grow in the most hostile of regions such as deserts so don't infringe on land set aside for food crops. They don't require freshwater to flourish, and can thrive off saltwater or wastewater, making sewage farms a natural habitat.

    Algae also reproduce at an astonishing rate; they are able to double in size in a matter of hours. They are amongst the fastest growing plants on Earth.

    What make algae particularly useful as a feedstock is that they thrive off carbon dioxide (C02), which makes them great carbon sequesters. That also means that the other natural places to cultivate algae are power stations.

    The algae can absorb as much as 75 percent of the exhaust gas, claims U.S. firm GreenFuel Technologies, using its bespoke bio-reactor. Algae doesn't just grow in the sun, contrary to previous belief. San Francisco start-up company Solazyme says it can now generate biofuels from algae grown in the dark.

    The sun is replaced by sugar, essentially, which is fed to the algae, which then produces different types of oil that can be processed into a variety of fuels, suitable for cars and planes. These algae produce more oil than they would in the sun, the company claims.

    Compared to other types of feedstock, algae is incredibly productive.

    Most agree it can eclipse any other type of fuel crop grown today -- palm oil can yield around 6,000 liters per hectare per year (per/h/y) of fuel, for example while algae can yield more than four times that amount.
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