Peak Oil Meet 2 A Gallon Algal Biodiesel

Peak Oil Meet 2 A Gallon Algal Biodiesel Image
We always take such announcements with a grain of salt. But sometime between the year 2020 and 2030, it is likely that algal biofuels will be competitive with synthetic fuels from natural gas and coal.

AFS BioOil announced that initial tests conducted by the company since startup of the system confirm that production costs of biodiesel will be in the range of 2 per gallon when produced in a commercial system of 1 millon gallons/yr and greater.

...AFS BioOil has recently partnered with a renewable electricity company that has the technology to convert waste heat into electricity at a cost of 6 cents/kWh and potential of reducing the cost to 4 cents/kWh in the future. Both companies are planning an integrated project of 5 MWe of renewable electricity and 1-3 millon gallons/yr of biodiesel. This will pave the way for future deployment of combined systems producing renewable low-cost electricity and biodiesel. The companies are at a design stage and will release the actual scope of the project in Q3"

Some analysts are projecting a 43% annual growth rate for algal biofuels over the next few years.

Elsewhere on the biofuels front -- just to remind us that this is not your grandfather's era of biofuels -- Amyris officially enhances its collaboration with French oil giant Total to produce fuels and chemicals precursor farnesene, from plant based sugars. The stock price for Amyris subsequently jumped.

The long term prospects for algal and microbe produced chemicals and biofuels is excellent, although in the shorter to intermediate term, competition from natural gas-based chemicals and fuels will be fierce.

Uninformed persons, along with the fringe doomer elements in the peak oil movement, remain largely ignorant of the multi-pronged efforts to produce a wide range of substitute fuels and chemicals, replacing crude oil as a feedstock.

Besides the fact that the global affordable hydrocarbon resource is much larger than previously imagined, biomass production and potential biofuels output, is subject to rapid growth as more of the Earth's surface -- including the oceans and deserts -- become viable for production of biomass. This biomass resource will not be needed for a matter of decades, but by then the technology for optimal production, densification, and refinement, should be ready.

It is largely a matter of economics, although politics plays a significant role -- given the many highly placed lefty-Luddite green dif.orgiasts who occupy important roles in many western governments.