This ‘good’ algae can be used to make biofuel

OSU OARDC FABE Dr. Yebo Li Alage TouchStoneThere are algae we don’t want. And algae we do. A pilot algae farm now operates near Wooster (pictured) and CFAES’s research arm, OARDC, is one of the project’s partners. Studies at the farm should give us new, specific details on the system’s costs, biofuel yields, evaporation rates (including an innovative material that cuts them), and sustainability. Of note: Some of the carbon dioxide released by the farm’s coal-burning greenhouse heat source gets reused. It gets pumped back into the water, which helps the algae grow. Also: Residue left after processing the algae for biofuel also gets reused. It feeds an anaerobic digester that in turn generates energy too.

Today: ‘Greening a better world’

OARDC hosts a talk today (8/24) by Washington State’s Norm Lewis, who is Regents’ Professor and director of the Institute of Biological Chemistry. He’ll present “Facing Societal Needs Now and in the Future: Greening a Better World” at 11:30 a.m. in Wooster. Free and open to the public. Also viewable in Columbus by video link. Read a story about Lewis’s research on developing new biofuels, “Natural Solutions to the Energy Crisis,” here.

Growing green, with an eye down the road

Touchstone Research Lab’s new biofuel algae farm in northeast Ohio, which includes OARDC as a partner, is mentioned in last week’s Energy Efficiency News.

Meanwhile, Ohio State scientist Allison Snow, in a story carried by UPI on Monday (8/20), sounds a cautionary note about the possible future genetic engineering of algae. She holds an adjunct appointment in our college.

Nice touch anyway

The official “Ford Racing” compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel gauge (upper right corner; click it to see it larger) in OARDC’s newly converted CNG Ford Fusion. The car will run mainly on renewable, locally produced, biogas-derived CNG. And at legal, non-racing speeds, we should add. Check out our two previous posts, here and here, for details.

The (gas-filled) junk in the trunk

Here’s a look in the trunk of OARDC’s new Ford Fusion, which has been converted to run on compressed natural gas, or CNG (most of this will be renewable, biogas-derived CNG). The added CNG tank (black with yellow stripes) can be seen here. It cuts down a lot on the truck space. But there’s still enough room for a couple of average-size suitcases. Also visible is the CNG filling port, which is the small black circle and blue label (“CNG only”) in the lower left.

Give it the (renewable bio-) gas!

OARDC has taken delivery of its first Ford Fusion converted to run on compressed natural gas, or CNG. It’s one of four CNG vehicles that will be joining the center’s fleet as part of a Clean Fuels Ohio-funded demonstration project — the idea being that most of the CNG used in these vehicles will be renewable, biogas-derived CNG produced by quasar energy group in OARDC’s BioHio Research Park.


‘Biofuels … will increasingly play a larger role in our economy’

We appreciated the interest shown by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and his office at Wednesday’s “algae farm” open house near Wooster. As part of the program, Ann Longsworth Orr, northwest Ohio regional representative for Sen. Brown, read a letter of support from him. Here are two excerpts:

“By reusing carbon dioxide to produce algae for use as a biofuel, this partnership between the Department of Energy, Ohio State University/OARDC in Wooster, GZA GeoEnvironmental, Cedar Lane Farms, OpenAlgae, and the state of Ohio is another example of the sort of innovative, cutting-edge efforts we must undertake to address our nation’s pressing energy challenges. Funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, this project is the latest example of people working together to tackle the pressing problems facing our nation. […]

“Our nation has a long history of supporting and helping emerging industries as they work to make today’s dreams tomorrow’s reality. Biofuels—and biobased products and processes—will increasingly play a larger role in our economy.”