[permaculture] [SANET-MG] Algae for fuel production.]

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lflj at intrex.net
Mon Jul 14 15:49:05 EDT 2008

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [SANET-MG] Algae for fuel production.
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 15:46:39 -0400
From: Lawrence F. London, Jr. <lflj at intrex.net>
Organization: Venaura Farm
To: Sustainable Agriculture Network Discussion Group <SANET-MG at LISTS.IFAS.UFL.EDU>, Wayne Gramelspacher

Wayne Gramelspacher wrote:

> Page 176 of the 1974 Rodale Press publication, 'Producing Your Own 
> Power', shows a flow diagram of a sludge-algae-methane conversion 
> system.  It also mentions that, "most of the information concerning this 
> system has been developed by researchers at the University of California 
> at Berkeley", and that the system, "has real potential for the homestead 
> or small farm".  It also references the following citations:
>   Clarence G. Golueke and William J. Oswald, "Biological Conversion of 
> Solar Energy to the Chemical Energy of Methane," Applied Microbiology 
> 7(1959):219-227.
>   William J. Oswald and Clarence G. Golueke, "Biological Transformation 
> of Solar Energy," Advances in Applied Microbiology 2(1960):223-262.
>   William J. Oswald and Clarence G. Golueke, "Solar Power via a 
> Botanical Process," Mechanical Engineers. February 1964. pp 40-43.
>   Clarence G. Golueke and William J. Oswald, "Harvesting and Processing 
> Sewage-Grown Planktonic Algae," Journal of the Water Pollution Control 
> Federation. 1965.

You have John Todd's Living Machine, a term now widely used by many
experimenting and using bio waste treatment/recycling systems, small to large sale.
It uses greenhousing, tanks or ponds and multiple post treatment stages to produce
stream/irrigation-safe safe water.

A variant on this for the homstead could utilize household food and human waste
in a multiple stage system starting with a thermally stabilized, aerobic compost pile,
the carbon component of which could come from biomass crops grown from the finished compost.
Leachate from the pile could provide nutrients for growing algae in some kind of tank or pond.
There are experiments underway at NCSU growing many different types of duckweed (and even
breeding or genetically modifying existing varieties with promise) for various uses from livestock/human
food to biofuel production so maybe duckweed could become an acceptble alternative to algae for
conversion to fuel, either liquid or gas. Technology and engineering are available for producing
high efficiency equipment to make this possible, cost-effective in these times too, especially so when you consider the
wide range of advanced materials, tools and machines that can be used to build these things. Examples of this are
polycarbonate for glazing, acrylic for containers, synthetic tubing for liquid (i.e. PEX). Free, clean rock dusts from
quarries would have many uses in these systems; mix with the finished compost to produce real topsoil in which biomass
for the system can be grown (valuable for urban or suburban homeowner with limited space and poor soil or inconvenient
lay of the land.  Specialized components can be CNC manufactured to go into production units for distribution and sale.

This seems to be as easy to design, build and install as a rocket stove. Low tech, high efficiency and a big problem solver.

household food and human waste ---> temperature/moisture stabilized compost facility ---> high OM fertilizer & high
nutrient leachate ---> algae or duckweed growing facility ---> biogas & compost to be recycled

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