Position Paper Adopted by Wisconsin Interfaith Power & Light (WIPL)
Updated August 26, 2010
What’s that? Energy from Algae?
It might be difficult to believe, but you’ll have to see for yourself.
Plant physiologist Glen Kertz, president and CEO of Valcent Products of
El Paso, Texas, is producing a green fuel that may provide energy for diesel
engines, jet fuel or fuel oil for heating.
Nearly 50% of the resulting body weight of the algae is oil (lipid), far
more than other methods of growing crops for energy.
NO MATTER WHO PROVIDES THE DATA, THE AMOUNT OF FUEL THAT CAN BE PRODUCED
FROM ALGAE IS IMPRESSIVE:
1. Oil Production Per Acre Per Year (data from Glen Kertz)
Kernel corn 15- 30 gallons of oil per acre per year;
Soy Beans about 50 gallons of oil per acre per year;
Palm trees 600 - 800 gallons of oil per acre per year;
Algae about 20,000 gallons in an open pond system;
about 100,000 gallons in a closed loop system.
2. Oil Production Per Acre Per Year (data from ExxonMobil)
which recently launched a $600 million research and development project
on the issue, indicated that algae could yield more than 2,000 gallons
of fuel per acre per year of production (7,580 litres). Approximate yields
other fuel sources are far lower, ExxonMobil pointed out:
Palm — 650 gallons per acre per year (2,463 litres).
Sugar cane — 450 gallons per acre per year (1,705 litres).
Corn — 250 gallons per acre per year (947 litres).
Soy — 50 gallons per acre per year (190 litres).
3. Oil Production Per Acre Per Year - Greg Mitchell of
the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego
can produce more biomass and more biofuel molecules much more efficiently
in time and space than any terrestrial plant," "For example,
algae can produce 100 times more vegetable oil per acre per year than soy
beans and 10 times more than oil palm," http://www.euractiv.com/en/science/algae-ultimate-biofuel/article-177875
Algae need much less land to grow than conventional biofuels, ending the
potential for conflict with food production which comes with increased
energy crop cultivation - and there is no need for fresh water.
As an added bonus, after the oil is removed, it is possible to use the
remaining product: for feed stock for livestock, for fermentation to produce
ethanol, for fertilizer or even for an energy drink.
The entire process is carbon-neutral and that takes place in a closed loop
bio-reactor. Carbon dioxide is sequestered in this process. It might be
desirable to set up these algae growing plants near industries that
emit high levels of CO2 to encourage better algal growth.
You may see this for yourself by clicking http://www.biodieselnow.com/general_biodiesel_21/f/7/p/18423/135998.aspxor
Watch and listen!
According to Glen Kertz: “If we took 1/10th of the State of New Mexico
and converted it into algae production, we could meet all of the energy
demands for the entire United States.”
Another group that has “already developed breakthrough technology
to produce fungible, drop-in transportation fuels - including 91 octane
gasoline, 89 cetane diesel, and jet fuel - all out of algae, sunlight,
and carbon dioxide (CO2)” is Sapphire Energy with facilities in San
Diego, CA; Orange Country, CA; and Las Cruces, NM. See: http://www.sapphireenergy.com/
An Algae Biomass Summit in Phoenix, Arizona, on September 28 - 30th, 2010. “More
than 800 leaders in the algal industry in attendance ranging from researcher
and academia to algae producers to algae end-users.” See: http://www.algalbiomass.org/events
WIPL urges that full support be given for the continued development of
Peter Bakken, State Coordinator
Wisconsin Interfaith Power and Light
750 Windsor Street - Suite # 301
Sun Prairie, WI 53590-2149
PH: (608) 837- 3108
(c/o Wisconsin Council of Churches)
(c) 2010 WIPL. All rights reserved.