Documents an experimental build of a system designed to produce fuel oil from algae.  I think that the exponential growth pattern of algae is very interesting, and may play a critical role in the future.  This instructable is meant to demonstrate that the technology needed to produce fuel and biomass from algae is simple and accessible.  If you look at the academic research, it appears that growing algae is a difficult, scientific task that has to be done in labs by PhD candidates.  Anyone with a pool (or who has ever seen a swamp) knows that it is very easy to produce large quantities of algae.  The key is to extract useful materials without having to input a lot of energy.  It is basically a matter plumbing.

The system here is very small and reliant on an input of electricity.  To be useful this system must be many times larger, and be powered by natural sources.  You can get much more information from the sources listed below.

I published this as a private instructable in 2011, It is based on the work of Rudy Behrens of BEAR Oceanic.   Since then all the information I used (and much more) has been posted on his company webpage, so I'm comfortable sharing this.

 You can learn much more here: http://www.beargroup.us/bear_oceanics --

There are detailed plans on this page http://www.beargroup.us/the_america2wo_project

I first learned about the project on kickstarter:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1579413688/biofuel-for-everyone

What follows is my original instructable which I am now making public.

Test system built by Marc Cryan - 8/20011

Here is my first try system - my goal was to get some evidence of oil production and build a core system that could be expanded, if successful.  Also - focus on using readily available parts (Home Depot) which allows easy reproduction.

  • Assemble nozzle
  • Attach motor to pump
  • Attach pipes and tubes to pump
  • Attach nozzle to pump
  • Collect algae
  • Grow more algae using micro-bubbler
  • Process algae by running through the pump and nozzle
  • Look for signs of oil

Step 1: Get Stuff

Stuff needed -
  • Precision machined nozzle from BEAR Oceanic
  • Brass power washer adaptor --1/4" Male NPT  to 3/8" Male NPT
  • 1/4" to 1/2" pipe reducer (or 3/8" to 1/2" and a 1/2" male x male)
  • 1/2" pipe male x male - I think I used 2 pieces of 8inch galvanized pipe (immediately started to rust)
  • Piston pump (has 1/2" female NPT inlet/outlet for pipes, hollow shaft for 5/8" shaft with key) (also I am using the next smaller pump from grainger, I got it on ebay for about 130$ (vs 400$ direct)  -  when I got the package I noticed that it was shipped from a grainger mailroom, maybe they sell surplus on ebay, it did have some rust but looked unused)
  • Motor (5/8" shaft wiih key-way should mate best with pump -- mine was 1/2", not great)
  • Pipe thread tape
  • Buckets
  • Algae
  • Let-em-live bailt-well pump
  • 12V marine battery
  • 3/4" clear tubing
  • Scrap garden hose
  • Scrap clear hose -- maybe 3/8" ID
  • Hose clamps
  • 3/8" drill bit
<p>Did you ever do anything else with this project?</p><p>What happened after you let the 'skimmed oil' set overnight?</p>
<p>Where in those plans does it talk about making oil? Those are plans for a biomethane generator/closed environment. Also you can't make oil by simply passing water and plant mash through a nozzle(no matter how cool/alien the nozzle looks). Oil is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons. I believe what you have there is vegetable oil. Algae is a great source of vegetable oil and after proper processing(NExBTL or Thermal depolymerization) can be converted to hydrocarbons. This setup is nothing but a glorified algae bioreactor. But if you take your bioreactor and combine it with an oil press(to produce vegetable oil), the resulting vegetable oil can be used in diesel engines. </p>
<p>The idea is to use the nozzle to create cavitation to do a tiny amount of depolymerization. It is hard for me to tell if this is actually happening. The process does do a good job of pulverizing the algae, and the algal oil eventually separates. I agree that just trying to separate the vegetable oil from the algae is a better plan.</p>
Great project!
<p>Congratulations, you got a spectacular result. Keep searching!</p>
Garden hose keeps collapsing - needs rigid suction hose

About This Instructable




Bio: Married to Domestic_Engineer (but I call her Meghan).
More by marc.cryan:How to by a cell phone for an 11 year old girl Cheapest, Bestest computer around, in beginning of 2015 Cryan Family Gothic Green House 
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