HAWAIIAN MARINE ALGAE
Marine algae require no fresh water and no agricultural land and should not affect the price of food crops except perhaps to drive it down by taking the biofuels market away from corn, soybeans, sugar and other AGROfuel crops. Algae thrive on a diet of greenhouse gas emissions and can be grown adjacent to fossil fuel-burning plants to consume the spew. And, unlike most AGROfuels and biofuels, algae can be refined into anything petroleum can, from jet airplane fuel to biodegradable plastics.
Is there money in algae? Royal Dutch Shell just bought in on a pilot project in Kona, Hawaii, operated by HR Biopetroleum. That says a mouthful. The joint venture, Cellana, is already producing transport fuels, including jet fuel.
How long 'til algae-derive fuels come to market? Cellana’s Kona pilot project is producing oil now and it is building a bigger, demonstration plant. First commercial operation: 3 years. Multiple plants: 5 years.
For more info, see: BIOFUELS: THE ALGAE GENERATION
click to enlarge
Algae may be biofuel source; Isle researchers hope to produce biodiesel from nonfood crops
Greg Wiles, June 19, 2008 (The Honolulu Advertiser)
Cellana, a joint venture of HR Biopetroleum (Ed Shonsey, CEO) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc
Cellana is doing a pilot project to grow and refine algae for biofuels.
Marine algae: Abundant and fast growing. (click to enlarge)
- Hawaii’s diesel fuel price was the highest in the U.S. on June 13, $5.204 a gallon, 46% over the year previous price.
- HR Biopetroleum has been working with algae for ~two decades and has already solved problems like contamination and species specialization.
- Most Hawaiians in Moloka'i and Lana'I depend on diesel fuel for their electricity.
- Moloka'i: Electricity bills up 60% from 2007 to 2008 b/c Maui Electric Co.'s generators there burn diesel. Lana'I: Up 67%.
- Maui: Blue Earth Biofuels and Hawaiian Electric Co. are pursuing permits for an $81 million facility capable of producing 30 million gallons of biodiesel. Profits will go into local biocrop research/infrastructure.
- O'ahu: Imperium Renewables is building a new biodiesel plant. Pacific Biodiesel can’t keep up with demand used cooking oil-derived biodiesel.
- The HR Biopetroleum/Royal Dutch Shell Cellana pilot project with algae is in Kailua, Kona. A demonstration plant there is under construction.
- About 20 companies worldwide are working with algae as a commercial fuel.
- When Cellana scales up (funded by Royal Dutch Shell), it will build in the U.S. south and southwest.
- AGROfuel crops like corn ethanol and soybean biodiesel have caused reactions in food pricing. The also probably require more energy to make than they produce and generate more greenhouse gases (GhGs) in production than they save.
- While palm oil produces at best 600 gallons of fuel/acre/year, algae produces 5,000 to 8,000 gallons of fuel/acre/year.
- Algae can be grown adjacent to fossil fuel-burning plants and will consume the GhG spew.
- Marine algae also require no fresh water and no agricultural land and should not affect the price of food crops except perhaps to drive it down by taking away the fuel market for corn, soybeans, sugar and other AGROfuel crops.
- University of Hawai'i and Hawai'i Agricultural Research Center researchers are also studying nonfood crops such as Jatropha trees, Kukui, Pongam and Moringa (aka Kalamungay). 100,000 acres in Hawaii could, over 10 to 15 years of biofuel crop growth, produce perhaps 30 million gallons of biodiesel (after a several year startup period). 2006: ~182 million gallons of diesel were used by nonmilitary consumers in Hawaii
- Hawaii is developing a bioenergy masterplan with special attention to acreage, food prices and water use.
- Press kit for Cellana project from Shell.
Bonus: Algae eats CO2. (click to enlarge)
- Shonsey, CEO, HR Biopetroleum: "We have good confidence that it's very viable…It's looking extremely good…We have a very precise patented process which we now need to scale up…Now it's a matter of the commercialization."
- Michael Poteet, agronomist, Hawaii Agricultural Research Center: "We'd all like to have a quick answer to this problem…It's hard to be patient when diesel is $4.50 or over $5 a gallon, but we're working as fast as we can."
- Maria Tome, energy engineer, Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism: "We use a great deal of liquid fuel…To the extent that we can have locally produced alternatives, we can keep the money in the state."