Non fossil fuel propulsion

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by rob denney, Sep 10, 2011.

  1. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Algae-based Fuel for Airlines (& boats)

    I was just recently looking thru the May 2012 issue of Popular Science and found an interesting discussion on some of China's enviromental impact in this new energy world. Apparently Boeing company has been working with China in relation to the aircraft industry to develop bio-fuels that can be used in the engines of their very significantly growing airline industry. I've scanned the article here, and posted a few excerpts:

    "When an engine burns fuel from algae, it emits CO2, just as if it were burning fuel pumped straight from the Persian Gulf. BUT, the algae would have removed at least as much CO2 from the atmosphere while it was growing. So in principle, and with allowances for inefficiences and fuel costs in the production process, algae-based fuel could allow airplanes to fly on something much closer to a 'carbon-neutral' basis."

    "By process of elimination, these criteria have led mainly to algae (biofuels). In principle it can produce 5 to 10 times as much fuel per acre of surface area as oil palms, soybeans, corn, or other crops that can be used for biofuels. It grows and produces the oil many times as fast as more complex plants,...and the algae crop cycle is a matter of days rather than weeks or months."


    ...and here is the quote that surprised me !!
    "It can be grown on land that is otherwise too barren or unusable, and in water that is too polluted or brackish for any other human or agricultural purpose. The world's entire avaition fuel needs could be taken care of by algae facilities the size of Belgium."
     

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  2. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    great article Brian

    there is a company in FT Collins just up the road from my chemistry prof house that sells algae bio fuels technology to start ups. They employ about 100 ppl and business is booming. Apparently there are so many people starting up algae based systems they just can't keep up.

    From what I understand they have found strains of algae that produce as much as 80% lipid fats. Which matches your estimate of about 10 times terrestrial plan sources. Its really going to change things. The problem lies in the already increased levels of CO2 and the life span of that CO2 in the atmosphere. The real issue is, do we have till 2050 ?

    But the algae based bio works in conjunction with waste water treatment plants and can be made locally just about anywhere. There is also a polymer that catches CO2 from the atmosphere and releases it to water, to feed the algae. Its a great system.

    Cheers
    B
     
  3. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Good to hear that things are moving along. Whats the name of the company ?

    Algae may yet still help solve the CO2 problem - there are some proponents of sprinkling iron oxide in the ocean, thereby generating an algal bloom, absorbing CO2, which will get eaten by fish, but a large amount will be sequestered in the ocean deeps as mud.

    The environmental impact of big algal blooms is still a matter of debate.
     
  4. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    there's also the issue of raising the deep oceans levels of calcium carbonate, as well as that of dumping iron filings into the depths with unknown consequences. First there's the issue of all that energy needed to produce the iron oxide and then there's the transportation costs.

    Kinda does add up and may add up to a net gain in CO2 rather than a net loss.

    I'll go dig up the name of those guys.

    its Solix

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...tut1WKDSS6DcvkUAw&sig2=Pl-sGWxhe4bW16rY2gR7BQ
     
  5. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

  6. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Thanks for that info. I will read up on the company.

    There was some good info on algae based fuels in Brians Cruiser Forums links too.

    While there is a lot of technical issues to resolve to use in current machinery, we may find that it gets used on a more primitive level - like the old oil burning engines of the farmers pre ww1. If a rural home could generate electricity and heat requirements alone - even with a low pressure steam engine, that would be a great breakthrough.

    The iron additives in the ocean comments aren't as whacky as it may seem. It occurs naturally in some scenarios where iron rich dust is blown into the ocean like from Western Australia for example, in some weather situations. Very little of it reaches the bottom due to its fine composition, most is converted to life. Large levels of calcium carbonate in the bottom of the ocean have never been seen as a problem - that's how we get most of our limestone deposits - very stable CO2 storage.
     
  7. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    in planing my retirement build, I'm trying to go the least technical rout possible, kinda like building an old truck rather than some computerized modern one. The former I could bailing wire together in a pinch, the later, I'd be screwed.

    The dust that blows off both India and Africa is chalk full of nutrients, not just iron. Dump only Iron in the ocean and you deplete the surrounding oceans of there nutrients while the various biology's try and use the excess iron, ends up with something synonymous with winter kill, where not even the healthy survive when the food runs out.

    My take is if I screw up something at work, don't try and fix it by screwing up the next thing to better match the last screw up. Go back and fix what you screwed up in the first place, then move forward from there. Dumping iron filings in the ocean with completely unknown consequences and a dubious chance of success, is just following one screw up with another. If we want to form calcium carbonate then do it the old fashioned way. bring back the shell fish industry. Chesapeake bay would be a good place to start. You could then bury the mountains of shucked oyster shells
     
  8. pdwiley
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    Location: Hobart

    pdwiley Senior Member

    Haha. Thanks for that. How about you stick to something you know (whatever that might be) and stay away from things you clearly don't know, like how the chalk/limestone beds were formed.

    That's your cue to run off to Google so as to seem knowledgeable in your next post on this subject.

    PDW
     
  9. FAST FRED
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    Location: Conn in summers , Ortona FL in winter , with big d

    FAST FRED Senior Member

    "The world's entire avaition fuel needs could be taken care of by algae facilities the size of Belgium."


    If the Euro continues to collapse ,perhaps Belgium could be bought cheap and bulldozed for an Algae lake?

    FF
     
  10. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    apparently it was your que to be an ***.

    Shell fish use calcium and carbon to form there shells, care to share with the group how that calcium is formed ?

    although your right about one thing, its always a good thing to brush up on things before sticking your foot in your mouth

    for instance
    the carbon cycle
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/CarbonCycle/page2.php

    I thought I had that right, calcium carbonate like whats found in sea shells is an organic carbon, the idea is to sequester these carbons. Might also help the PH issue a little if I remember right. And no I'm not a chemist, but the cheap barbs are appreciated none the less.

    By supporting a healthy shell fish industry we not only produce food but also an easy way to remove carbons from the cycle, IE sequester them naturally rather than go dumping millions of tons of iron filings into the oceans with unknown consequences. Yes its a pretty indirect way to deal with CO2 but its doable without screwing up the environment.
     
  11. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    As PD 'tactfully' suggested, you could probably do with a refresher on the 'iron' process. There are plenty of nutrients in the ocean ... except iron.

    "Iron is a trace element necessary for photosynthesis in all plants. It is highly insoluble in sea water and is often the limiting nutrient for phytoplankton growth. "
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_fertilization

    Success isn't dubious at all - its the sudden bloom of plankton that may have unforeseen consequences further up the food chain.

    In fact, that page goes on to mention natural 'seedings' have produced the anticipated results

    " in the aftermath of the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. Environmental scientist Andrew Watson analyzed global data from that eruption and calculated that it deposited approximately 40,000 tons of iron dust into the oceans worldwide. This single fertilization event generated an easily observed global decline in atmospheric CO2 and a parallel pulsed increase in oxygen levels.[7]"

    Its a good place to get some more info on the Calcium Carbonate process too.

    "Plankton that generate calcium or silicon carbonate skeletons, such as diatoms, coccolithophores and foraminifera, account for most direct carbon sequestration. .... Much of this fixed carbon continues falling into the abyss, but a substantial percentage is redissolved and remineralized. At this depth, however, this carbon is now suspended in deep currents and effectively isolated from the atmosphere for centuries."
     
  12. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    That last paragraph is why I suggested that by removing the shells from the water, like the mountains of shells that used to exist in the Chesapeake bay area we'd be preventing that redissolving part. Shell fish lock down a lot of CO2 although granted its gone through a few stages by that point. Thing is to prevent it from going back into the water.

    Yup a lovely and tactful suggestion :D although I seldom "run" to wikipedia for anything

    that quote

    " in the aftermath of the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. Environmental scientist Andrew Watson analyzed global data from that eruption and calculated that it deposited approximately 40,000 tons of iron dust into the oceans worldwide. This single fertilization event generated an easily observed global decline in atmospheric CO2 and a parallel pulsed increase in oxygen levels.[7]"

    seems pretty interesting. I'll have to go look up his paper and see what he found. My first inclination is always to correct the original problem, rather than create another one. Producing less CO2 is the answer, rather using more, to sequester some.

    cheers
    B

    I think the argument is that even if the iron seeding works to produce plankton blooms that form calcium carbonates there more than enough of an imbalance of reactant to redissolve them long before then lock down in the form of sedimentary rocks. IE its a temporary fix and eventually, acidic water will upwell and release CO2 back to the atmosphere. Like in about 50 years or so.

    While I'm digging up the paper you suggested I'll also see if I can't find the one that I'd read a while back about the issues with iron seeding.

    This page has a summary of the work I'm referring to although there is a longer term study going on now of the issue, KEOPS if I remember right is how the research group is called.

    http://news.mongabay.com/bioenergy/2007/04/end-of-utopian-idea-iron-seeding-oceans.html
     
  13. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    and from my ole alma matre
    http://www.google.com/url?q=http://...zq7dyQ&usg=AFQjCNHTtH740k47CiQebxBR1b_yziZ44A

    anyway I can feel the love building so I'll include a little ditty that shows that maybe, just maybe, I did actually have it right ;-)

     
  14. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    "CRUDE" oil, an absolute must see program !!!

    Speaking of the 'carbon loop', I might again reference this video presentation that I found very informative and entertaining
    http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/all-things-boats-and-boating/crude-oil-absolute-must-see-program-21427.html

    It traces the origin of this carbon product oil (and other fuels), its subsequent search and recovery by mankind, our subsequent use of the product, and how our reintroduction of the product into the earth's eco-system could result in a return to the conditions under which the oil was formed originally....a very compelling and scientific story that is without bias.

    And this movie is COMPLETELY neutral as far as blaming anyone, or being one-sided. Believe me, it is the best presentation I have ever seen. And if you look around the web for other opinions I think you will find the same sentiments.

    Interestingly, I beleve I saw a reference to this film having been made originally in Austrailia
     

  15. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    I'll give it a try Brian but I've watched so many of those I'm kinda numb to the documentary style at this point.

    My take is I'll continue making my own fuel and driving around on 17cents a gallon 140,000btu/g fuel with the "I went green" smiley face on m bumper. If anyone else catches on then great and if not, well its not like I didn't try.

    Speaking of which just stripped it for painting. That and a few final things and it'll be like new. Except louder ;-) My liquid muffler idea works great until you put your foot into it. Damn silent at idle tho, so it almost worked.

    Cheers
    B
     
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