PetroSun Algae-to-Biofuels Facility to Begin Operations 1 April
24 March 2008
PetroSun’s Rio Hondo, Texas algae farm will commence operations on 1 April as PetroSun’s initial commercial algae-to-biofuels facility. The current algae farm consists of 1,100 acres of saltwater ponds that the company projects will produce a minimum of 4.4 million gallons of algal oil and 110 million pounds of biomass on an annual basis.
The company has dedicated 20 acres of ponds for a proposed algae-derived JP8 jet fuel research and development program.
The Rio Hondo algae farm will be expanded in the future to provide the feedstock required by present or proposed company owned or joint-ventured biodiesel and ethanol refineries. PetroSun plans to construct or acquire additional plants in the Gulf Coast region that are reachable via barge up the Mississippi River and its tributaries including the Red River. The previously announced Bridgeport, Alabama refinery will receive algal oil feedstock from this distribution program.
those numbers mean:
4000 gallons per acre
55,ooo tons of biomass per year (assuming its dry)
algae based off these numbers is about 28% oil
these are realistic numbers compared to other most other companies claims
Posted by: phronesis | 24 March 2008 at 09:21 AM
Make it or break it time. Good luck to PetroSun.
Posted by: Cervus | 24 March 2008 at 09:22 AM
What's their feedstock? Are they pumping in flue gas, livestock runoff, or just ambient CO2? You would think they would mention if they were anticipating converting CO2 emissions into fuel, for some kind of abatement credit, offset fee or somesuch. Fingers crossed for them.
Posted by: Healthy Breaze | 24 March 2008 at 12:09 PM
Well, good luck to PetroSun!
They nailed it using microalgae as a feedstock. But I'm not sure why they picked the biodiesel route. I think Robert Rapier nails it when he says Biodiesel's days are numbered. Green diesel beats it hands down.
Still, compared to some of the FOOD->FUEL madness tax payers have to fund, this is at least a step in the right direction.
Posted by: Engineer | 24 March 2008 at 01:05 PM
Even the 'waste'biomass alone is impressive.
At 110 million pounds/yr/1100 acres, they produce about 100,000 pounds/yr/acre.
Compare this to corn production : less than 9,000 pounds/acre.
If the biomass is used as animal fodder, it would be eleven times more productive than corn, even without considering the oil production. (On top if this, remember that the algae farm cleans wastewater, while corn farming produces waste water.)
Also, for corn production, a lot of energy is needed for all the machines, fertiliser and pesticides. In this farm instead, there obviously is a net-energy production on top of the biomass production.
Posted by: Alain | 25 March 2008 at 02:11 AM
If they manage to reach their 4,000 gallons per acre per year target (or even a quarter of that), it will be a massively profitable operation.
Just imagine how quickly they could then get further investment/land and scale up to produce billions of gallons.
Posted by: clett | 25 March 2008 at 03:31 AM
The chance of using the waste biomass post oil extraction for feed will be iffy at best. Hopefully they can but the overwhelming concern will be that certain species of algae release toxins and its not always a constant. No farmer is going to want potentially toxic feed.
Posted by: phronesis | 25 March 2008 at 10:51 AM
Sounds promising. Sure hope it's real.
Posted by: gr | 25 March 2008 at 03:48 PM
The February announcement claimed to use the residual biomass for ethanol.
Posted by: gr | 25 March 2008 at 03:53 PM
they actually will probably be producing more ethanol than oil, most likely the algae is at least 30% oil
Posted by: phronesis | 25 March 2008 at 04:38 PM
Algae can be selected that don't produce (persistent) toxins. Moreover, most algal toxines are relatively fragile molecules that can easily be neutralised in the production process. As long as no heavy metals or radio-activity is present in the algae, it should be no problem. The advantage would be huge. After extraction of the oil, the biomass will probably contain a large percentage of amino-acids and nucleic acids (compared to grasses or corn). That's exactly what you need for animal feed. Since the algae are grown in salt water, the need for fresh water for agriculture will also lessen.
Posted by: Alain | 26 March 2008 at 01:51 AM
umm, cyto-toxins can be heat stable and selecting algae that doesnt produce persistent toxins sounds expensive, the only way to produce profitably is by not over whelming your budget with algae management.
Posted by: phronesis | 26 March 2008 at 04:41 PM
Barge access to the Mississippi, this cheap form of transport uses the least energy to transport into or from the operation, even construction materials so the efficiency goes up.
Generally level lands suitable for infrastructure development.
It makes sense in conceiving of aquatic farming that site selection will intrinsically affect the triple bottom line.
The locals will have practical understanding and specific skills and resources that could be applicable.
Gathering together all the required resources inputs may not be possible in onesite but this proposal appears to have a good handle on the matter.
Bit of a worry starting production on 1st April|
Posted by: Arnold | 26 March 2008 at 07:28 PM
At the rate that Petroleum is being replaced by using Algae, Wind Power , Green Cars , Solar Power , Wave Power , Tidal Power , Biofuel etc etc , the OIL SHEIKS and other Oil and Gas producers must be making plans for the future as we will no longer be dependent on them ! It will certainly reduce the income of Al Qaeda etc !!
Posted by: Jasper Brett | 27 March 2008 at 08:11 AM
So ...... How did they do ? Did they actually start up on April 1?
Posted by: G Greene | 16 July 2008 at 06:57 AM