Green Crude program receives $750,000 in funding

The University of Tulsa will receive $750,000 from the federal government to expand and improve its research program that takes algae and refines it into gasoline. The funding comes from an appropriation in the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act recently approved by the U.

01/01/2010


The University of Tulsa will receive $750,000 from the federal government to expand and improve its research program that takes algae and refines it into gasoline.

The funding comes from an appropriation in the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act recently approved by the U.S. Congress. Sen. Jim Inhofe and Rep. John Sullivan led the effort.

The TU Department of Chemical Engineering will use the money to expand its work in optimizing the algae-to-fuel conversion process, improve technical equipment and hire additional research staff. It also plans to recruit and fund graduate students and post-doctoral fellows to aid in algae fuel experiments.

 

Green crude fueled the Algaeus, a Toyota Prius that became the world’s first hybrid vehicle to cross the United States on algae-based renewable gasoline. Image source: Venturebeat.com

Green crude fueled the Algaeus, a Toyota Prius that became the world’s first hybrid vehicle to cross the United States on algae-based renewable gasoline. Image source: Venturebeat.com


Sapphire Energy Inc., an alternative energy company, partnered with TU in 2007 to produce gasoline from components that make up “green crude,” an oil derived from algae that can be used in similar ways to crude oil. TU chemical engineering faculty developed a patent-pending refining process for Sapphire Energy’s green crude in 2008, and TU researchers have succeeded in turning algae into high-octane gasoline.

“The whole philosophy is totally different from other alternative fuel projects,” said Geoffrey Price, chemical engineering professor and chair of the department. “This isn’t biodiesel or ethanol. It’s gasoline, just made from another source.”

Algae also absorb large quantities of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ), creating a carbon-neutral cycle that removes an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere as are emitted from cars. Producing algae requires only three inputs — sunlight, CO 2 and photosynthetic microorganisms (like algae) — and does not require large amounts of fertilizer, farmland or fresh water.

“Algae can grow almost anywhere. The exciting thing about this project is that we aren’t using any cropland to produce the algae, and the process can use non-potable water and non-arable land,” said Daniel Crunkleton, associate professor of chemical engineering and director of TU’s Institute of Alternative Energy.

With research and development, fuel made from algae has the potential to produce about 50% of the transportation fuel requirements of the entire country by 2020, using 24 million acres of land. This contrasts with ethanol production from corn, which yields only 4% of U.S. fuel requirements using the equivalent amount of land.

Green crude is said to be compatible with the existing petroleum infrastructure, from refinement through distribution and the retail supply chain. That downstream compatibility is one of the many advantages that caught Price’s attention. As a 30-year veteran researching important processes in the oil refining industry, he knew that alternative fuels could more easily become mainstream if they conformed to the manufacturing and distribution system already in place.

Fuels derived from green crude were used successfully in several test flights with the commercial airlines Continental and JAL in January 2009. Green crude also fueled the Algaeus, a Toyota Prius that in September 2009 became the world’s first hybrid vehicle to cross the United States on algae-based renewable gasoline.





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
Inside IIoT: How technology, strategy can improve your operation; Dry media or web scrubber?; Six steps to design a PM program
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming
Managing automation upgrades, retrofits; Making technical, business sense; Ensuring network cyber security
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me