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Algae biofuel oil refining?

I have long been a fan of the idea of renewable energy from algae colonies, but I have yet to find any information on actually refining the oil produced with the algae.  I am well aware of how to remove the oil, however at that point it is just an organic crude.  Is their a process to refine it to a more diesel or gasoline-like state, or is it efficient enough to run an engine on the crude.  I am currently growing a reasonable algae colony and would appreciate assistance in doing something with the algae after it is grown.  

DanielG14 months ago

I believe Algae is our future not concerning not only renewable energy but also nutrition the variety of uses are multiple that allows to get many byproducts from Algae. I'm actually starting a venture concerning bio diesel and organic fertilizers you can check on my web site www.algaebiofueloil.com. And I'm also a the owner of the intellectual property of an innovative way of algae farming.

The big diference between algae oil and crude is that crude oil is a mixture of all lengths of hydrocarbon chains (from methane to tar) while algae oil is a very short range of hydrocarbon chains (lipids). In this regard it is more like vegetable oil than crude. Of course the strain of algae used is a large factor in which hydrocarbons you get.

As steve said, a diesel engine will generally run on veg oil and will therefore also run on straight algae oil. To get it working better you might want to look into converting it into biodiesel but if you plan on using straight biodiesel first check your diesel engine can handle it (rubber+ biodiesel=leaks for example)
The trouble with transesterification is it wastes energy I think, although it reduces the oil viscosity nicely. And you have to clean all the methanol out of the product....

Crude can be cracked to lighter products, but can't we polymerise the short lipid chains ?
I suppose you can increase the chain length but I dont really see any benefits for use as a fuel. Increased viscosity might offset any gains in energy density.
I think that your biggest energy waste in this situation is getting the algae oil in the first place. The sequence of growing, harvesting, drying, cracking and extracting is quite inefficient. Even on large pilot scales it generally costs more than buying fuel at the pump. (although i have seen some interesting research into algae that excrete the oil rather than build it up as lipids)
Personally i find research into algae more interesting when used for food products or pharmaceuticals rather than fuel. It moves the industry to a whole new level of value. Fuels tend to be around the euro/kilo while a well separated enzyme or vitamin can gather thousands per gram :)
The trouble with transesterification is it wastes energy I think, although it reduces the oil viscosity nicely. And you have to clean all the methanol out of the product....

Crude can be cracked to lighter products, but can't we polymerise the short lipid chains ?
most diesels would run on it straight, if it was dewatered
Have you read the How Stuff Works article on the subject. Mentions many different means of converting the oils into fuel. Though i'm sure any resulting fuel would require and engine designed to run on it. Probably couldn't be used in even alternate fuel engines.