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Posts Tagged ‘Hydrogen’

Algae Talk: Stocks, Apps, and Hydrogen, Oh My! (Episode 1)

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

What will hopefully become a frequent thing, Algae News will start posting videos on our newly created YouTube Channel in an “Algae Talk” series. These videos will discuss the algae industry and any new developments thereof.

In the inaugural episode of Algae Talk, topics include Solazyme’s stock, Texas A & M’s algal biomass phone app, and MIT researchers increasing hydrogen yields in algae. Check out the video below and the links afterwards for more information.

Solazyme’s Stock (Yahoo! Finance)

Texas A&M’s Algae App (CNET News)

MIT Researchers Increasing Hydrogen Production in Algae (Algae Industry Magazine)

OriginOil’s Hydrogen Work

Nick Gerritsen’s interview about Aquaflow’s partnership to sequester industrial waste using algae

Dr. Patrick McGinn’s interview about the National Research Council of Canada’s research into growing algae in Canada’s climate

WashU Researchers Discover Algae Strain that Produces 10x more Hydrogen than Nearest Competitor

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Washington University Researcher Himadri Pakrasi and fellow scientists are studying strains of cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) and have discovered a strain that can produce 10 times as much hydrogen as the nearest competitor.

Here is a little background on this discovery as well as the overall process of how algae produce hydrogen:

The soup is colored by a strain of blue-green bacteria that bubble off roughly 10 times the hydrogen gas produced by their nearest competitors—in part because of their unique genetic endowment but also in part because of tricks the scientists have played on their metabolism.

Hydrogen gas can be produced by microbes that have enzymes called hydrogenases that take two hydrogen ions and bind them together. Although the soup microbes have hydrogenases, most of the hydrogen they evolve is a byproduct instead of an exceptionally efficient nitrogenase, an enzyme that converts the nitrogen in air to a nitrogen-containing molecule the microbes can use.

The microbe’s gas-producing feat is described in December 14,2010 issue of the online journal Nature Communications.

Biohydrogen, like that bubbling up from the microbial soup, is one of the most appealing renewable energy fuels. Produced by splitting water with energy from the sun, it releases mostly water when it burns. It’s hard to get any cleaner than that.

The strain growing in the Roux bottles in the cabinet, called Cyanothece 51142 was originally found in the Gulf of Mexico by Louis A. Sherman of Purdue University, one of the article’s authors. Its genes were sequenced in 2008 at the Genome Sequencing Center at the School of Medicine.

Pretty awesome news and it will be interesting to see what this kind of research leads if/when it intersects with developments done by companies like OriginOil.

Cross Posted at BlatantReality.com

OriginOil Produces Hydrogen at Efficiencies Comparable to Mature Photovoltaic Industry

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Over the summer, LA based algae biofuel technology company OriginOil announced that it had developed a system to produce hydrogen from seemingly any species algae. Their method was different from any others up until this point in the effect that the algae could produce “biomass, oil, and hydrogen” at the same time using sunlight as its sole energy input.

Yesterday, OriginOil announced that their Hydrogen Harvester can produce “hydrogen energy corresponding to a solar energy conversion efficiency of about 12 percent continuously for several hours on a partially clouded day.” By comparison, photovoltaic cells have solar energy conversion rates anywhere between 6 and 20 percent.

This means that currently, their system that has only been around for a couple months can produce energy from a solar source at rates that are comparable to current solar cell technologies, a field that has been around for several decades. If efficiencies like these have been reached in a couple months, the potential for continued improvements to the energy conversion efficiencies in their system is definitely there.

The additional benefit of this system is that the energy comes in the form of a potential fuel (hydrogen) and the system could potentially hold the key to the future of a renewable hydrogen market.

From their press release, OriginOil’s Chief Technology Officer gives some added insight on what this announcement means:

Brian Goodall, OriginOil’s CTO, said: “Our experiments clearly demonstrate that this technology can generate renewable hydrogen at rates that matter to the global economy. These early rates compare well with those of the more mature solar cell industry, with the added benefit that the fuel, hydrogen, is readily storable. This is the first renewable source for today’s $39 billion hydrogen market.”

OriginOil has had several exciting announcements over the years, including selling some of products to the energy company MBD in Australia. However, the Hydrogen Harvester is by far the most exciting news out of this company yet for it has the potential not only to change the algae industry, but the hydrogen industry as well.

Cross Posted on BlatantReality.com

OriginOil Achieves Hydrogen Production Comparable to Photovoltaics

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Research breakthrough points to a highly scalable and renewable source of hydrogen

Los Angeles, CA, November 8, 2010 – OriginOil, Inc. (OOIL), the developer of a breakthrough technology to transform algae, the most promising source of renewable oil, into a true competitor to petroleum, today announced that it has succeeded in producing hydrogen from the power of the sun at a level comparable to solar photovoltaics. The research breakthrough points to a highly scalable and renewable source of hydrogen that can be deployed as an additional system output in algae production settings.

To achieve this breakthrough, OriginOil researchers built a pared-down version of the company’s Hydrogen Harvester™ and tested many process variables and materials. They achieved hydrogen energy corresponding to a solar energy conversion efficiency of about 12 percent continuously for several hours on a partially clouded day. The sole energy input was the Sun. By comparison, commercial solar cells achieve conversion efficiencies between six and 20 percent.

Brian Goodall, OriginOil’s CTO, said: “Our experiments clearly demonstrate that this technology can generate renewable hydrogen at rates that matter to the global economy. These early rates compare well with those of the more mature solar cell industry, with the added benefit that the fuel, hydrogen, is readily storable. This is the first renewable source for today’s $39 billion hydrogen market.”

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), “Efficient photoelectrochemical hydrogen production is a holy grail of renewable hydrogen production.”

OriginOil intends the Hydrogen Harvester™ to be deployed as an additional system output in algae production settings. In the field, efficiency may be lower than the 12 percent OriginOil has achieved in the research system. However, there is a counterbalancing factor: algae stores up energy during the day and will continue to generate hydrogen throughout the night.

As an added benefit, an algae production facility operating a Hydrogen Harvester™ can become self-sufficient for refining, since it will not be dependent on petroleum industry sources for hydrogen. Conversely, an algae facility’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide in great quantities can make a Hydrogen Harvester very attractive for a CO2-emitting conventional refinery.

Hydrogen has often been called the perfect fuel. Its major reserve on earth (water) is inexhaustible, meaning that we will never run out of hydrogen. If produced cleanly, efficiently and affordably from renewable resources, hydrogen is the ultimate green energy solution: it produces no air pollutants or greenhouse gases when used in fuel cells and the only pollutants generated when burned in internal combustion engines are nitrogen oxides (NOx).

About OriginOil, Inc.
OriginOil, Inc. is developing a breakthrough technology that will transform algae, the most promising source of renewable oil, into a true competitor to petroleum. Much of the world’s oil and gas is made up of ancient algae deposits. Today, our technology will produce “new oil” from algae, through a cost-effective, high-speed manufacturing process. This endless supply of new oil can be used for many products such as diesel, gasoline, jet fuel, plastics and solvents without the global warming effects of petroleum. Other oil producing feedstock such as corn and sugarcane often destroy vital farmlands and rainforests, disrupt global food supplies and create new environmental problems. Our unique technology, based on algae, is targeted at fundamentally changing our source of oil without disrupting the environment or food supplies.

New Development in the Algae Field could lead to the ‘Holy Grail’ of Hydrogen Production

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Hydrogen is often hailed as the ultimate alternative fuel but many problems from high production costs to inefficient storage methods need to be resolved first. However, even if all the problems involving the development of a hydrogen economy were fixed today, it would still be several decades before a hydrogen infrastructure would be in place that compared to our current petroleum infrastructure.

That is why alternatives like algae biofuels that can run in our current engines and can be used in the current infrastructure are being looked at in the near-long term future.

As mentioned before, one of the major roadblocks on the road to a hydrogen economy is the cost to produce hydrogen. If hydrogen is to become a viable fuel source, it will need to be produced cheaply. This is where an announcement by an algae technology company last week may bring the production problem one-step closer to a solution.

OriginOil, a Los Angeles based algae oil technology company, issued a press release stating that they had developed a “Hydrogen Harvester” that cheaply collects hydrogen molecules given off by algae.

This announcement could prove significant for both the hydrogen and algae fuel sectors. First off, the idea of using algae to produce hydrogen has been around for a while. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has been looking at various techniques to stimulate hydrogen production in algae. However, up until this point, most of these methods were in some way detrimental to the health of algal cell.

OriginOil’s process, on the other hand, does not seem to harm the algae. In fact, their process allows the algae to produce oil, biomass, AND hydrogen simultaneously. In a 2005 NREL document titled “New Horizons for Hydrogen – Producing Hydrogen from Renewable Resources”, researchers said that if photosynthetic microorganism production of hydrogen became feasible, it would truly be “the ‘Holy Grail’ of the hydrogen economy.”

With this announcement, it’s possible that this could be the “Holy Grail” many hydrogen researchers have been looking for, a discovery that has many at OriginOil excited.

“I honestly do feel that we have a landmark discovery here,” said Brain Goodall, Chief Technology Officer of OriginOil. “[Our method] is something that as far as I can tell, no one has looked at before and the reason that we did is because we have some very creative, hands-on people.”

While expectedly guarded on details, the basic process would take any species of algae growing in either a bioreactor or open ponds and run the still living algae through the “Hydrogen Harvester”. There, in a process that OriginOil is currently working on patenting, the algae would release hydrogen to be collected.

“We’re using the same algae and the same sunlight [to] produce biomass, oil, and hydrogen,” Goodall explained. “We think that with this breakthrough discovery, further development and scale ups could lead to a situation where you are using completely ‘green’ hydrogen… [all] coming from sunlight.”

As hinted at before, the species of algae also does not seem to be a factor in whether or not hydrogen can be produced using OriginOil’s process.

“As far as we have seen to date, it should work with any algae,” Goodall explained.

With this technology not being reliant on specific species of algae, OriginOil is looking to make sure that their harvester system will have “plug & play” capabilities where it can be incorporated into almost any algae production process, be it open ponds, bioreactors, or otherwise.

As for the quantity of hydrogen that can be produce, the exact amount has yet to be seen and will most likely depend on the species of algae as well as growth factors like exposure to sunlight. However, Goodall is very optimistic that the amounts will be significant and that the process should be scalable without too many problems.

“Right now, it looks like a lot of hydrogen is coming out [of the algae] and the rate of production seems to be pretty constant over several hours. The algae aren’t dying and are remaining viable and robust [plus] we are not putting any energy in and hydrogen is coming out.”

Goodall clarified that additional energy is involved in the process since the algae still needs to be moved throughout the Hydrogen Harvester system. However, all the energy needed for the algae to actually produce the hydrogen can be obtained freely from the sun.

While using hydrogen produced from this method for transportation would still be a long way off, it can actually help in the immediate future with the production of algae biofuels. To produce algae biodiesel or biofuel, the oil needs to be hydrotreated using hydrogen. Currently, hydrogen would either have to be shipped to algae production facilities or the raw algae oils would have to be taken to where the hydrogen is (most likely at other refineries). The production of hydrogen onsite will allow for some flexibility in where the refining of algal oils take place as well as offer some cost-cutting abilities.

Overall, this breakthrough offers the potential to leapfrog both the hydrogen and algae industries forward. With OriginOil being an algae technology company and not an actual algae producer, whatever technology they create will be available to market to the industry as a whole. Therefore, a discovery like this has the potential to be benefit not just one company, but the entire algae biofuel industry.

Jonathan Williams is a conservative blogger at www.BlatantReality.com andwww.SCStatehouseBlog.com . He is also the founder and current president of the nonprofit organization Need by Need, Inc . He can be reached atJon@BlatantReality.com.

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Originally posted at Celsias.com

OriginOil Announces Breakthrough Hydrogen Harvester Invention

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

New technology taps hydrogen generated by living algae

Los Angeles, CA July 8, 2010 – OriginOil, Inc. (OOIL), the developer of a breakthrough technology to transform algae, the most promising source of renewable oil, into a true competitor to petroleum, today announced a new invention that generates hydrogen from living algae, providing an additional energy source from bioreactors.  In contrast to previously reported developments in the area, the new Hydrogen Harvester™ uses little or no external energy inputs, requires no sulfur deprivation or other “stressing” of the algae, and no genetic modification.  The process employs viable, high growth rate, high oil content algae strains.

“One of the primary challenges for algae production is to achieve the best-possible energy balance,” said Riggs Eckelberry, OriginOil CEO.  “By harvesting hydrogen from algae we are able to increase the energy output of virtually any algae production system.  The result is a photosynthetic technology platform that yields energy in the form of oil, biomass, and hydrogen.”

Algae already create oxygen through photosynthesis.  Recovering hydrogen provides the necessary ingredients for electricity generation using fuel cells.  The energy can be used to offset the electricity requirements of algae cultivation, harvesting and downstream processing.

Dr. Brian Goodall, OriginOil’s new CTO, commented: “The co-generation of hydrogen at the algae production site is a critical development for the realization of a completely integrated algal biorefinery.  All routes from algae to ‘drop-in’ fuels such as renewable diesel and jet fuel require hydrogen and hydrotreating.  The Hydrogen Harvester technology would eliminate the need for hydrogen pipelines and dependence on existing refineries which are typically far removed from ideal sites for algae growth.”

The Hydrogen Harvester will be integrated into OriginOil’s existing portfolio of algae growth technologies, including the recently announced MultiReactor™.  It will also be available as an add-on to other industry growth systems.

The company recently filed for patent protection of the new hydrogen harvesting technology, its tenth patent application, entitled “Bio Energy Reactor”.  While the invention is applicable to any photosynthetic organism, algae is thought to be most productive.

Hydrogen has often been called the perfect fuel.  Its major reserve on earth (water) is inexhaustible, meaning that we will never run out of hydrogen.  Hydrogen, if produced cleanly, efficiently and affordably from renewable resources, is the ultimate green energy solution: It produces no air pollutants or greenhouse gases when used in fuel cells and the only pollutants generated when burned in internal combustion engines are nitrogen oxides (NOx).

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has stated that producing hydrogen by direct water-splitting technologies — using photosynthetic microorganisms — is the “Holy Grail” of the hydrogen economy, the ultimate clean and sustainable hydrogen production method, and is the focus of long-term R&D efforts at NREL.  OriginOil believes that the new Hydrogen Harvester could represent the breakthrough needed to power the hydrogen economy.

About OriginOil, Inc.

OriginOil, Inc. is developing a breakthrough technology that will transform algae, the most promising source of renewable oil, into a true competitor to petroleum. Much of the world’s oil and gas is made up of ancient algae deposits. Today, our technology will produce “new oil” from algae, through a cost-effective, high-speed manufacturing process. This endless supply of new oil can be used for many products such as diesel, gasoline, jet fuel, plastics and solvents without the global warming effects of petroleum. Other oil producing feedstock such as corn and sugarcane often destroy vital farmlands and rainforests, disrupt global food supplies and create new environmental problems. Our unique technology, based on algae, is targeted at fundamentally changing our source of oil without disrupting the environment or food supplies. For more information, please visit www.originoil.com.