Algae as an Alternative Fuel Source
Investments in algal biofuels are increasing dramatically. In the United States, in particular, there has been a startling increase in the amount of venture capital (VC) that has been invested.
In the United States, research and development geared towards the production of fuels from microalgae began in the early 1950s. However, at times, support for such R&D stopped, due to financial constraints and the falling price of crude oil. In recent years, however, the development of algal biofuels has regained attention, due in part to an increased awareness of the problem of increasing CO2 emissions and the risks associated with energy security.
11th Annual Algae Biomass Summit
The 11th annual Algae Biomass Summit was held in Salt Lake City, Utah, October 29-November 1, 2017. The Summit is the algae industry's premier event, where leading producers of algae products go to network with industry suppliers and technology providers, where project developers converse with utility executives, and where researchers and technology developers rub elbows with venture capitalists. Yoshio Ikezawa, Application Engineer from Shimadzu Corp (Kyoto Japan) gave a technical poster entitled, "Speedy and smart screening technique of algal biomass, carbon content and dry weight using a TOC analyzer and a Thermal analyzer ". Mark Janeczko, Marketing Manager for Energy and Chemicals from Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, Columbia, MD also presented a technical poster entitled: "Monitoring of Algae Growth by TOC Measurement".
Download the posters here:
Shimadzu Solutions in Algal Research and Production
In Algal biomass research and production, it is important to characterize, measure, and quantify the individual chemical compounds that make up the biomass. Accurate measurement of lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates depends upon the information required. For example, lipid or oil content can be in a polar form (phospho- & glycolipids) or non-polar form (triglycerides & sterols). Autotrophically (grown in large ponds) grown algae are rich in polar lipids and heterotrophic (grown in fermenters) grown algae will yield triglyceride rich oils.
Fatty Acid Methyl Esters identification is typically analyzed via gas chromatography (GC). Shimadzu's new easy-to-use Nexis GC-2030 Gas Chromatograph offers technologically advanced features to rapidly and easily perform this analysis.
Carbon content is classically analyzed via a Total Organic Carbon (TOC) analyzer. Shimadzu offers several TOC models, including the TOC-L, which supports the measurement of small quantities of sample (10-20 ml), to address laboratories' varied needs. The data shown below are from the measurement of TOC and Total Nitrogen (TN) in marine water algae culture solution.
When TOC is combined with a Fourier Transform Infrared Detector (FT-IR), this new method does not require cell disruption and extraction of the components, which reduces labor. The Shimadzu IR Affinity-1S offers a built-in library of more than 12,000 spectra, making it a perfect instrument for this determination.
Jet Fuel is now being produced using Algae. Since its hydrocarbon content is similar to heavy oil, it must be modified with a catalyst. The compound squalene is catalyzed to form squalene, which can be converted to jet fuel and gasoline. Monitoring this process is difficult with a conventional GC. The use of Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) helps to identify unknowns and understand the process. Using the Shimadzu GCMS-QP2020 in the positive chemical ionization mode rather than the EI mode gives the analyst added identification capabilities, a significant benefit due to the large number of carbons in the compound.
- Application News No 049 - Monitoring Algae Growth by TOC Measurement
- Application News No 050 - Characterization of Algae by TOC Measurement
- Application News No 052 - Measurement in TOC and TN in Marine Water Algae Culture Solution
- Application News No 065 - TOC/TN Measurement for the Control and Evaluation of Methane Fermentation of Food Waste using TOC and TN Measurement System
- Application News No SCA-130-401 - TOC Determination in algal biomass suspension method
- Application News No A482 - Simple Quantitative Measurement of Nanochloropsis Micro Algae in Water Using the Shimadzu UV Micro Algae Analysis System
- Application News No M270 - Analysis of Hydrocarbons Using PCI-GC-MS
- Analysis of Biofuel Determination of Formic Acid, Acetic Acid, and Propionic Acid in Biodiesel - Diesel Fuel Blend (Part 2)(LC)
- Analysis of Reaction Products in Artificial Photosynthesis Research(GC)
- GC Analysis of Biodiesel for Free and Total Glycerines by ASTM-6584(GC)
- Monitoring of Algae Growth by TOC Measurement
- Monitoring Algae Growth in Marine Water Culture Solutions Using TOC/TN
- Nexis GC-2030 Brochure (PDF)(GC)
- Speedy and smart screening technique of algal biomass, carbon contents and dry weight using TOC analyzer and Thermal analyzer
- TOC-L For Monitoring a Microscopic Algae Biomass
Government & Industry Links
- Atomic Spectroscopy
- Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrophotometer IRAffinity-1S
- GCMS QP2020
- Nexis GC-2030
- Thermal Analysis
- UV 1800