Wednesday, July 28, 2010

algal biofuels DOH!


Interesting piece of research from Cambridge suggests that the energy required to circulate algal cultures through the tubes of bioreactors will consume far more power than the cultures will yield. I'm a big fan of the concept of algal bioreactors and I think its disingenuous for New Scientist to have published this without considering the contribution to filling that power void that renewable technology could supply. Wind turbines are fairly inefficient things for converting wind to electricity but they are much better at converting wind to mechanical power, which could be harnessed to supply the necessary pumping. Obviously wind isn't reliable and so you could have a mix of backup technology such as photovoltaics and particularly biogas produced from the anaerobic fermentation of the organic mulch left over from biodiesel extraction.

The obvious problem is that all this adds greatly to the capital costs of the whole plant. However, as algal bioreactors will need to be situated near a source of CO2 to feed the cultures and preferably a source of grey water as well then locating water treatment works, conventional power stations and bioreactors together on the same site seems a "no-brainer" and this would lead to economies of scale and reduction in system duplication. This sort of integrated treatment/power generation site is clearly the way forward in sustainable technology. Combined with CHP technology and rubbish incineration a well-designed system could offer a complete sustainable technology hub for small to medium sized towns.


  1. How is incineration sustainable?

  2. Nothing wrong with burning rubbish, as long as toxic combustion products are scrubbed. Particularly not if you have a lot of wood and paper waste. Its absolutely essential for disposing of hazardous material and biological material. It can be a very useful way of generating heat and power. I'm wholly supportive of the three Rs but they are not the answer to all of our waste problems.

    Love your post on the Greens and homeopathy, BTW. I can't join you in rejecting them as a political movement because if you don't vote for them then who? Suggestions on a postcard plz.

    1. I love burning rubbish in the garden, especially getting a good smoker going

    2. I love burning rubbish in the garden, especially getting a good smoker going

    3. The green party are a bunch of total 5hiteheads


Feel free to share your opinions of my opinions. Oh- and cocking fuckmouse.