Biodiesel: Machen Algen das Tanken bald preiswerter?

WISSEN DER ZUKUNFT berichtet :

Algenschlick am blauen Wasser, Foto: cwgoodroe

Algenschlick am blauen Waser, Foto: cwgoodroe

(Stuttgart/Kornwestheim) -(idw) Der Kornwestheimer Anlagenexporteur Hezinger GmbH will künftig weltweit als Lieferant für Photobioreaktoren zur Algenzucht auftreten, um – alternativ zur Verwendung von Weizen, Raps und Mais – die Gewinnung von Biodiesel aus dem Pflanzenöl der Algen voranzutreiben. In Zusammenarbeit mit renommierten Partnern wurde eine verfahrenstechnisch optimierte Reaktoranlage zur Massenzucht von Algen entwickelt, die die Kosten der Herstellung von Biodiesel erheblich reduzieren wird. Das Ende letzten Jahres gegründete Unternehmen Hezinger Algaetec GmbH soll das neue System im kommenden Herbst auf den Markt bringen.

“Unser Ziel ist es, die industrielle Zucht von Mikroalgen wesentlich günstiger zu gestalten, als das bisher möglich ist”, sagt Steffen Hezinger. Zwar könne man Algen mit derzeitigen Systemen wie Röhren- oder Flachplattenreaktoren züchten, allerdings noch nicht in den wirtschaftlich rentablen Mengen, wie man sie für die Biodieselherstellung benötigt. “Wenn ich 40 Fußballfelder mit Reaktoren voll stellen muss, ist so ein System einfach nicht effektiv zu betreiben, Wirtschaftlichkeit ist aber das A und O, wenn ich am Markt für Biodiesel langfristig Erfolg haben will.”

Auf der Suche nach einer effizienten Lösung setzt der Diplom-Kaufmann deshalb auf geballte Kompetenz in den Bereichen Anlagenbau, Design und Lichttechnik. Dafür holte er sich international renommierte und weltmarktführende Partner in den Bereichen Algenbiologie und Anlagenplanung mit ins Boot.

Das Resultat der Branchen übergreifenden Zusammenarbeit ist ein Photobioreaktor, mit dem sich Produktionsflächen nicht nur horizontal, sondern auch vertikal nutzen lassen. Der Kerngedanke ist, das Licht ins System und an die Alge zu bringen – statt umgekehrt. Die Idee sei zwar nicht wirklich neu, so Steffen Hezinger, entscheidend sei aber die verfahrenstechnische Optimierung. “Der Schlüsselfaktor ist die innovative Lichttechnik, die es möglich macht, einen Reaktor von sechs Metern Höhe und 30 Metern Innendurchmesser nahezu ohne Fremdenergie zu betreiben.”

Noch kann die Hezinger Algaetec GmbH zwar nicht mit genauen Zahlen aufwarten – doch der Prototypentest unter Serienbedingungen ist erfolgreich angelaufen; aussagefähige Ergebnisse sind ab Mitte des Jahres zu erwarten.

2 Gedanken zu „Biodiesel: Machen Algen das Tanken bald preiswerter?“

  1. Es gibt ein spannendes Buch zum Thema. “Das Plankton-Manifest- Wie ein neuer Rohstoff die Welt verändern wird” (www.plankton-manifest.de). Darin beschreibt der Autor Axel Limberg sehr ausführlich, wie ökologische und soziale bzw. humanitäre Probleme mit der Zucht von Algen an Land gelöst werden können.

  2. ETHANOL-PRODUCTION WITH BLUE-GREEN-ALGAE

    University of Hawai’i Professor Pengchen “Patrick” Fu developed an innovative technology, to produce high amounts of ethanol with modified cyanobacterias, as a new feedstock for ethanol, without entering in conflict with the food and feed-production .

    Fu has developed strains of cyanobacteria — one of the components of pond scum — that feed on atmospheric carbon dioxide, and produce ethanol as a waste product.

    He has done it both in his laboratory under fluorescent light and with sunlight on the roof of his building. Sunlight works better, he said.

    It has a lot of appeal and potential. Turning waste into something useful is a good thing. And the blue-green-algae needs only sun and wast- recycled from the sugar-cane-industry, to grow and to produce directly more and more ethanol. With this solution, the sugarcane-based ethanol-industry in Brazil and other tropical regions will get a second way, to produce more biocombustible for the worldmarket.

    The technique may need adjusting to increase how much ethanol it yields, but it may be a new technology-challenge in the near future.

    The process was patented by Fu and UH in January, but there’s still plenty of work to do to bring it to a commercial level. The team of Fu foundet just the start-up LA WAHIE BIOTECH INC. with headquarter in Hawaii and branch-office in Brazil.

    PLAN FOR AN EXPERIMENTAL ETHANOL PLANT

    Fu figures his team is two to three years from being able to build a full-scale
    ethanol plant, and they are looking for investors or industry-partners (jointventure).

    He is fine-tuning his research to find different strains of blue-green algae that will produce even more ethanol, and that are more tolerant of high levels of ethanol. The system permits, to “harvest” continuously ethanol – using a membrane-system- and to pump than the blue-green-algae-solution in the Photo-Bio-Reactor again.

    Fu started out in chemical engineering, and then began the study of biology. He has studied in China, Australia, Japan and the United States, and came to UH in 2002 after a stint as scientist for a private company in California.

    He is working also with NASA on the potential of cyanobacteria in future lunar and Mars colonization, and is also proceeding to take his ethanol technology into the marketplace. A business plan using his system, under the name La Wahie Biotech, won third place — and a $5,000 award — in the Business Plan Competition at UH’s Shidler College of Business.
    Daniel Dean and Donavan Kealoha, both UH law and business students, are Fu’s partners. So they are in the process of turning the business plan into an operating business.

    The production of ethanol for fuel is one of the nation’s and the world’s major initiatives, partly because its production takes as much carbon out of the atmosphere as it dumps into the atmosphere. That’s different from fossil fuels such as oil and coal, which take stored carbon out of the ground and release it into the atmosphere, for a net increase in greenhouse gas.
    Most current and planned ethanol production methods depend on farming, and in the case of corn and sugar, take food crops and divert them into energy.

    Fu said crop-based ethanol production is slow and resource-costly. He decided to work with cyanobacteria, some of which convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into their own food and release oxygen as a waste product.

    Other scientists also are researching using cyanobacteria to make ethanol, using different strains, but Fu’s technique is unique, he said. He inserted genetic material into one type of freshwater cyanobacterium, causing it to produce ethanol as its waste product. It works, and is an amazingly efficient system.

    The technology is fairly simple. It involves a photobioreactor, which is a
    fancy term for a clear glass or plastic container full of something alive, in which light promotes a biological reaction. Carbon dioxide gas is bubbled through the green mixture of water and cyanobacteria. The liquid is then passed through a specialized membrane that removes the
    ethanol, allowing the water, nutrients and cyanobacteria to return to the
    photobioreactor.

    Solar energy drives the conversion of the carbon dioxide into ethanol. The partner of Prof. Fu in Brazil in the branch-office of La Wahie Biotech Inc. in Aracaju – Prof. Hans-Jürgen Franke – is developing a low-cost photo-bio-reactor-system. Prof. Franke want´s soon creat a pilot-project with Prof. Fu in Brazil.

    The benefit over other techniques of producing ethanol is that this is simple and quick—taking days rather than the months required to grow crops that can be converted to ethanol.

    La Wahie Biotech Inc. believes it can be done for significantly less than the cost of gasoline and also less than the cost of ethanol produced through conventional methods.

    Also, this system is not a net producer of carbon dioxide: Carbon dioxide released into the environment when ethanol is burned has been withdrawn from the environment during ethanol production. To get the carbon dioxide it needs, the system could even pull the gas out of the emissions of power plants or other carbon dioxide producers. That would prevent carbon dioxide release into the atmosphere, where it has been implicated as a
    major cause of global warming.
    Honolulo – Hawaii/USA and Aracaju – Sergipe/Brasil – 15/09/2008

    Prof. Pengcheng Fu – E-Mail: pengchen2008@gmail.com
    Prof. Hans-Jürgen Franke – E-Mail: lawahiebiotech.brasil@gmail.com

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert.