What To Look For In An Algae Bioreactor

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Harvesting the algae will always be a concern depending on the system. It will take more effort to harvest algae from an open pond system than it would from a continuous harvesting photo-bioreactors

Harvesting the algae will always be a concern depending on the system. It will take more effort to harvest algae from an open pond system than it would from a continuous harvesting photo-bioreactors

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  • 1. What to Look for in an Algae Bioreactor by Vic G. Renewable Energy entrepreneurs are now looking for the best bioreactors with the right stuff. What is the right stuff you ask? Well it has to be a algae farm that meets a number of challenges: be affordable, scalable, able to handle variable temperatures at different client sites. Low Cost of Implementation The first area of concern is always the cost. As with all systems of a commercial scale, cost is king. The technology at this point has many faces to include row crops, large open pond systems, race way systems and photo- bioreactors. Thy system you choose must have nutrients to feed the algae, water and sunlight. Your carbon dioxide inputs can be active or ambient air. Cross contamination of the algae is a concern, but intended use of the algae will be your guide. Continuous Harvesting Harvesting the algae will always be a concern depending on the system. It will take more effort to harvest algae from an open pond system than it would from a continuous harvesting photo-bioreactors. Continuous harvesters do just that, always harvest algae cake, at this point you will only need staff to move the algae cake to the next stations for drying and oil extraction. Oil Extraction • There are three well-known methods to extract the oil from oilseeds,
  • 2. and these methods apply equally well for algae too: • 1. Expeller/Press 2. Hexane solvent oil extraction 3. Supercritical Fluid extraction • Expeller/Press • Expression/Expeller press-When algae is dried it retains its oil content, which then can be "pressed" out with an oil press. Many commercial manufacturers of vegetable oil use a combination of mechanical pressing and chemical solvents in extracting oil. • While more efficient processes are emerging, a simple process is to use a press to extract a large percentage (70-75%) of the oils out of algae. • Hexane Solvent Method • Algal oil can be extracted using chemicals. Benzene and ether have been used, but a popular chemical for solvent extraction is hexane, which is relatively inexpensive. • Supercritical Fluid Method • Supercritical extraction involves, pressure and heat to burst algal cell walls. No matter what algae medium you chose just make sure it meets your needs and production goals. Algae Biofuel will play a very important part in meeting the worlds growing energy need, Algae has a place in not only our past, but in our future as well. Vic G. has been a long proponent of bio-fuels from algae and produces bio- fuel for his own vehicles. He is currently helping others discover algae based fuels as a solution to high fuel prices. He can be contacted at info@algae-book.com: http://algae-book.com/ This is a "Shareware" Article (what's that? read on...) This article is shareware. Give this article away for free on your site, or include it as part of any paid package as long as the entire article is left intact including this notice. Copyright © 2009 Vic G.