miércoles, 27 de marzo de 2013

Algae for biofuel production

The EU-funded project ALGADISK was created to solve the production of microalgae using a scalable production unit capable of generating products and high quality biomass from algae while reducing CO2 emissions. Global warming is caused by the emission of greenhouse gases. CO2 accounts for 72% of total emissions of greenhouse gases, while the proportion of methane is 18% nitrous oxide and 9%. From these percentages is extracted from the first that emissions are the dominant cause of global warming. This gas is generated by burning fossil fuels like oil, natural gas, fuel oil, organic fuel oil, gasoline, organic gasoline and ethanol. Luckily it was found that certain algae, in addition to being an alternative source of bioenergy ideal, can also capture CO2. Specifically, are considered the most promising solution for the production of biofuels and industrial CO2 capture. The ability of these photosynthetic microorganisms to convert carbon dioxide into lipids with high carbon content (to a stage or two of advantage as biodiesel) is far superior to that of oil crops and also occupy not otherwise land would be used to grow food. The potential of microalgae has been studied in several European programs dedicated to reducing emissions of CO2 and other gases. The number of European initiatives and around the world dedicated to this field has increased steadily since the signing in 1992 of the UNFCCC. So far various methods have been developed to produce microalgae industrial and realize its potential, but most of them do not have economic viability, especially on a large scale. The constraints identified include inadequate productivity, the excessive cost of the facilities, a high ecological footprint (area occupied), the high demand for water and the need for users with a high level of training. The project was created ALGADISK to solve these challenges. Technology The processes proposed by ALGADISK technology based on biofilm in a reactor similar to rotary disk rotation reactors used in other industrial fields related to molecular biology. This system allows various algae grow and biocompatible surfaces CO2 capture directly in the gas phase or in the liquid phase after bubbling. The devised method greatly increases the efficiency of the process and reduces the amount of water needed. It is also possible to add an automatic continuous harvest. Its extension is simple and the trace generated would be considerably less than that currently presents. ALGADISK project team hopes to create a biofilm reactor small installation and operation which generates high costs and that is also capable of capturing a significant amount of CO2. The expected organic products with a sufficient return. The project is called to meet the demand for small production units that want to market products of biomass from algae but face barriers to access to the necessary technology. Market research conducted by the project consortium have revealed the lack of efficient and universal reactors as well as information on sustainability and viability of algae production. Also brought out a demand for algae production units that are profitable and able to generate algae based products of high value (nutrient for humans and animals, biological fertilizers) and biomass (biodiesel precursors). SMEs participating in the project consortium demonstrated their interest in a profitable small scale and occupying the least amount of space. In addition to the production technology, it is necessary to have an integrated knowledge base and structured. Many project participants are interested in the production of algae, but lack the tools to calculate the economic feasibility of a system of its kind to assist in choosing the most appropriate method. One goal of the project is therefore to achieve a rapprochement between the scientific and the needs of end users. Also schedule a software package based on the information provided by users who suggest installation parameters, perform cost-benefit analysis to calculate economic viability and make predictions about the environmental sustainability of the system, which will be designed to meet the needs SMEs. In fact, laboratory tests are conducted, a pilot and mechanical designs and the necessary electronics that will build a prototype reactor system in a user facility. It is expected to launch and check the first reactor ALGADISK in summer 2014. The project is funded ALGADISK Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Commission under the plan to support research for the benefit of SMEs managed by the Research Executive Agency (REA). The project will count for thirty-six months with the participation of eleven organizations from eight countries (three associations, four SMEs and four science centers).