I'm curious as to the comparative efficiency of various algae -- or any other photosynthetic-dependent plant species -- compared to solar photo-voltaic technology (PV), which has been at the 18+% level for many years.
If one creates a "crop" of algae that requires X amount of land (solar surface area), then extract the glycolate, and then make methane, which would then be burned in a traditional combustion machine (boiler, internal combustion engine), what is the relative efficiency compared to PV, which directly converts sunlight into electricity.
Sometimes we miss the forest for the trees.
What is it that consumers want? Algae energy production? No. That's an intermediate step.
What consumers want is electricity, and unless the process described is more efficient, or at least comparable to existing technologies, why bother?
I ask this in all seriousness.
Ron Bishop, P.E.
Solid Waste Professional Engineer
Alachua County Public Works Department
[log in to unmask]
From: Bioenergy and Sustainable Technology Society [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Putnal,Cary W
Sent: Monday, June 17, 2013 8:31 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Production of Methane from Algae
In this article, the production of methane from algae is presented and discussed. Essentially this article presents the idea that methane could be produced from glycolate excreting algae inside of one photobioreactor. The glycolate that is excreted by the algae is fermented and then processed into methane. This new concept for the production of methane could turn out to be a more efficient means of producing biofuels or at least a step in the process that could increase biofuel yield. If this is the case this concept could go a long way toward making biofuels more affordable and potentially more sustainable.
Methane production from glycolate excreting algae as a new concept in the production of biofuels Bioresource Technology, Volume 121, October 2012, Pages 454–457
BioEnergy and Sustainable Technology Laboratory Soil and Water Science Department University of Florida