Turning algae into fuel: University of Utah engineers develop fast method to convert algae to biocr...https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-03/uou-tai022819.php
Turning algae into fuel
University of Utah engineers develop fast method to convert algae to biocrude
University of Utah
Biofuel experts have long sought a more economically-viable way to turn algae into biocrude oil to power vehicles, ships and even jets. University of Utah researchers believe they have found an answer. They have developed an unusually rapid method to deliver cost-effective algal biocrude in large quantities using a specially-designed jet mixer.
Packed inside the microorganisms growing in ponds, lakes and rivers are lipids, which are fatty acid molecules containing oil that can be extracted to power diesel engines. When extracted the lipids are called biocrude. That makes organisms such as microalgae an attractive form of biomass, organic matter that can be used as a sustainable fuel source. These lipids are also found in a variety of other single-cell organisms such as yeasts used in cheese processing. But the problem with using algae for biomass has always been the amount of energy it takes to pull the lipids or biocrude from the watery plants. Under current methods, it takes more energy to turn algae into biocrude than the amount of energy you get back out of it.
A team of University of Utah chemical engineers have developed a new kind of jet mixer that extracts the lipids with much less energy than the older extraction method, a key discovery that now puts this form of energy closer to becoming a viable, cost-effective alternative fuel. The new mixer is fast, too, extracting lipids in seconds.
The team's results were published in a new peer-reviewed journal, Chemical Engineering Science X. The article, "Algal Lipid Extraction Using Confined Impinging Jet Mixers," can be downloaded here.
sequestered from the atmosphere during the growth cycle as opposed to being previously sequestered carbon from underground as with fossil fuels ...
Good on these researchers!
The algae take carbon out of the environment, burning the crude puts it back.