Tag Archives: biofuel

New technique for harvesting algae with micro-bubbles

Scientists at Sheffield University have figured out a new way to separate particles of algae from the water that it grows in through the use of micro-bubbles.  This isn’t a brand new idea – micro-bubbles have been used to purify water and separate out algae for a while now – what they’ve figured out is a method of doing it cheaply and with much lower energy requirements than previous techniques.  This should reduce the costs for harvesting algae for producing food or biofuels – whether it’ll be enough of a reduction to make a difference is another question, but every little bit helps.

The Engineer   Futurity   PhysOrg

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Filed under Energy/Mining/Resources, Environment/Agriculture, Technology

LanzaTech gets $55.8 million in funding for its CO-processing system

Another story about a biofuel company getting funding – this time LanzaTech, a company that’s developed a bioreactor containing a strain of bacteria that converts carbon monoxide (a common waste gas from industrial processes) into ethanol.

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Algae may be sustainable alternative for animal feed

Corn and soybeans, the most common feed plants for livestock, are massive water and nutrient hogs.  Livestock, moreover, are massive food and water hogs themselves.  Cutting the inputs needed by the livestock industry is a critical step if we want to sustainably reach the 9 or 10 billion population point.  Which is why advances in using algae for animal feed are so nice to see.  Even better if it’s a method to use byproducts from the biofuel production process!

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Algae-biofuel plant gets funding, set to start operations this summer

Joule, a biofuel company, announced that it had gotten $70 million in funding to build a large demonstration plant.  Joule is working on algae-based biofuel production, using solar-panel-like facilities that expose the algae to as much sun as possible.  Always good to see actual progress being made – we’ll see whether it proves to be scalable to industrial production levels.

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CES continues(!), sunflower-inspired solar-thermal systems, and many other things

Technology

Military

  • The US military’s drone war in Pakistan is back online, despite the tensions created by “friendly” fire incidents.
  • Stealth tech keeps getting more and more elaborate.  This article in PopSci talks about a fluid cloak for submarines, and this one about low-heat-signature tanks.

Space

Health

Energy/Mining/Resources

Environment/Agriculture

  • A new photovoltaic solar system is being tested, in combination with a greenhouse, that will allow light through the panels in the winter, when the plants need it, and convert some of it to energy in the summer, when they don’t.
  • I mentioned incentives yesterday, here’s another example:  Conservationists are getting increasingly agitated about the increased rate of whaling these days; legal processes don’t seem to work, and illegal ones (Sea Shepherd, for example) don’t have much effect either.  So one bright fellow suggested that whaling be governed by quotas like the ones that some countries have set up for catching fish – whalers would have to bid for the right to catch whales, except that in this idea, conservationists would be able to bid as well in order to keep the whalers from catching so many whales.

Miscellaneous

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Energy, Mining, and Resources links, 12/23/11

More talk about how water is going to be a huge crisis point sometime down the road:

80% of Brazil’s latest power supply auction (to provide power to the government) bids were for wind power:

USGov approves new nuclear reactor design:

A Hawaiian windfarm using batteries to smooth out its power production:

Apple’s designs and patents of fuel-cells for laptops:

A battery that runs on paper:

Nano-engineered solar-power paint:

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