1. Joined
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    25 Mar '11 21:271 edit
    http://www.alt-energy.info/biofuel/joule-unlimiteds-bacteria-secretes-diesel-fuel/


    “.... The company is claiming that their bioreactors will be able to produce fuel on demand at a cost of about $30 per barrel of oil at a rate of about 15,000 gallons/acre/year. ….”

    this sounds fantastic but I cannot wonder if this is too good to be true? For starters, I believe $30 per barrel of oil is actually less than the current price.
    Also the world uses around about 85 million barrels of crude oil each day so that's about, say, 31 billion. So we would need about:
    31,000,000,000/15,000 = about 2 million acres to produce all the oil we need by this method. There is about 3.7 billion acres of arable land worldwide so 2 million aces is only about one par in 1850 of that or less than 0.6% of that! So land area taken up would not be an issue here! -too good to be true? -I hope not although it does says that scaling up this technology will be "hard to do".
  2. Cape Town
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    26 Mar '11 06:421 edit
    Originally posted by Andrew Hamilton
    “.... The company is claiming that their bioreactors will be able to produce fuel on demand at a cost of about $30 per barrel of oil at a rate of about 15,000 gallons/acre/year. ….”
    From what it says in the article I think it would be quite difficult to accurately estimate either cost per barrel or area required.

    So land area taken up would not be an issue here!
    It does seem like a lot of land to me. But from the pictures in the article, I suspect it would need to be arable land and would in fact probably be better if it was done in hot deserts due to greater amount of sunlight.

    How does the price compare to solar panels for power generation?
  3. In your face
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    26 Mar '11 10:34
    Originally posted by Andrew Hamilton
    http://www.alt-energy.info/biofuel/joule-unlimiteds-bacteria-secretes-diesel-fuel/


    “.... The company is claiming that their bioreactors will be able to produce fuel on demand at a cost of about $30 per barrel of oil at a rate of about 15,000 gallons/acre/year. ….”

    this sounds fantastic but I cannot wonder if this is too good to be true? For s ...[text shortened]... true? -I hope not although it does says that scaling up this technology will be "hard to do".
    Oil is over $100 a barrel at present so yes this would be much cheaper. Do you not think it is a hoax though. I mean Diesel is a derivative of crude oil which is produced over millions of years via dead micro organisms being crushed under immense pressure at the bottom of the oceans. It is the actual substance of the micro organisms crushed together in a big soup of carbon compounds.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I can't see it possible for bacteria to actually excrete organic compounds as complex as diesel. I know yeast produces ethanol from glucose, glucose having 6 carbon atoms in its chain, ethanol has 2, but diesel is made up from molecules ranging from 10 to 12 carbon atoms in their chains. What would you have to put in the other end for bacteria to excrete this? Can someone with a bit of biology knowledge help us out here.
  4. Cape Town
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    26 Mar '11 11:01
    Originally posted by jimslyp69
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I can't see it possible for bacteria to actually excrete organic compounds as complex as diesel.
    There are other companies claiming to have bacteria capable of making diesel. For example LS9. But their bacteria start with sugars as an input whereas Joule Unlimited includes photosynthesis.

    http://www.ls9.com/
  5. In your face
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    26 Mar '11 11:16
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    There are other companies claiming to have bacteria capable of making diesel. For example LS9. But their bacteria start with sugars as an input whereas Joule Unlimited includes photosynthesis.

    http://www.ls9.com/
    Interesting reading. SO it is possible then. But then there's the question of what would be the impact on the environment if the designermicrobes tm. were to escape?
  6. Standard memberDeepThought
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    26 Mar '11 15:52
    Originally posted by jimslyp69
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I can't see it possible for bacteria to actually excrete organic compounds as complex as diesel.
    They've produced GM yeast that generates insulin, so I don't see any immediate reason they shouldn't get a photo-synthesizer to generate petrochemicals. Whether this is practical probably depends on the amount of petrochemical the cell can produce before it's poisoned. Diesel contains several different compounds though, I think it's likely that this method would produce a single compound rather than several, which may or may not have similar enough properties to diesel to make the fuel immediately usable in diesel powered vehicles.

    It's also not clear that bio-fuels are the way forward, as land diverted to fuel manufacture is not available for food production, which in any one place may not be the best thing to do. After all it's stupid to have a system for generating low carbon fuel that involves so much transport you'd be better off just burning oil anyway.
  7. Joined
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    26 Mar '11 15:56
    Originally posted by Andrew Hamilton
    “.... The company is claiming that their bioreactors will be able to produce fuel on demand at a cost of about $30 per barrel of oil at a rate of about 15,000 gallons/acre/year. ….”

    this sounds fantastic but I cannot wonder if this is too good to be true?
    Are the owners of the company multi-multi-millionaires yet?

    If not, it's too good to be true.

    Richard
  8. In your face
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    26 Mar '11 17:48
    Originally posted by Shallow Blue
    Are the owners of the company multi-multi-millionaires yet?

    If not, it's too good to be true.

    Richard
    There are conspiracy theories about people coming up with alternative energy solutions having their patents bought up and not used, or simply disappearing. However these are only thoeries...
  9. Joined
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    26 Mar '11 18:24
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    From what it says in the article I think it would be quite difficult to accurately estimate either cost per barrel or area required.

    [b]So land area taken up would not be an issue here!

    It does seem like a lot of land to me. But from the pictures in the article, I suspect it would need to be arable land and would in fact probably be better if it w ...[text shortened]... greater amount of sunlight.

    How does the price compare to solar panels for power generation?[/b]
    “...if it was done in hot deserts due to greater amount of sunlight. ...”

    I got the impression that the process requires a lot of water although I might be wrong.

    “...How does the price compare to solar panels for power generation? ...”

    I don't know. But even if it was more expensive than solar panels it would still be very useful for making fuel for non-electric machinery (assuming that all-electric machinery doesn't one day completely replace all that non-electric machinery).
  10. Joined
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    26 Mar '11 18:32
    Originally posted by jimslyp69
    Oil is over $100 a barrel at present so yes this would be much cheaper. Do you not think it is a hoax though. I mean Diesel is a derivative of crude oil which is produced over millions of years via dead micro organisms being crushed under immense pressure at the bottom of the oceans. It is the actual substance of the micro organisms crushed together in a b ...[text shortened]... nd for bacteria to excrete this? Can someone with a bit of biology knowledge help us out here.
    “...but I can't see it possible for bacteria to actually excrete organic compounds as complex as diesel. ...”

    diesel is not very “complex” -it can just consist of simple straight-chained saturated hydrocarbons although it would help a bit to have a mixture of them with different lengths to optimise its properties.

    “...glucose having 6 carbon atoms in its chain, ...”
    but glucose also has a lot of oxygen atoms in it that simple long-chained hydrocarbons don't so the two have vaguely about the same “complexity” overall.
  11. Joined
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    26 Mar '11 18:361 edit
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    They've produced GM yeast that generates insulin, so I don't see any immediate reason they shouldn't get a photo-synthesizer to generate petrochemicals. Whether this is practical probably depends on the amount of petrochemical the cell can produce before it's poisoned. Diesel contains several different compounds though, I think it's likely that this me carbon fuel that involves so much transport you'd be better off just burning oil anyway.
    “...After all it's stupid to have a system for generating low carbon fuel that involves so much transport you'd be better off just burning oil anyway. ...”

    but doesn't oil require a lot of transport? We currently import a lot of it from the middle-east.
    For this reason, I doubt the transport costs would be much greater (if greater) for bio-fuels.
  12. In your face
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    26 Mar '11 18:43
    Originally posted by Andrew Hamilton
    “...but I can't see it possible for bacteria to actually excrete organic compounds as complex as diesel. ...”

    diesel is not very “complex” -it can just consist of simple straight-chained saturated hydrocarbons although it would help a bit to have a mixture of them with different lengths to optimise its properties.

    “...glucose having 6 carbon at ...[text shortened]... e long-chained hydrocarbons don't so the two have vaguely about the same “complexity” overall.
    I'm not sure. I think I'm uncertain as you are on the subject. 😛

    By complex I meant long chained. In diesel this is generally 10 - 12 carbon atoms in each chain. I found it dubious that bacteria could create such long molecules as a by product. I was hoping that someone could provide a link that would prove this either way.

    My initial doubt was brought about by my thinking that bacteria broke molecules down into smaller units to release energy to live, the smaller molecules being the microbes' excrement but now I have read that photosynthesis is involved this kind of changes things in that perhaps the bacteria can build larger molecules using the energy of light.

    Another thing that made me doubt it is, how large a molecule could actually fit through a cell wall of a microbe. They are made up of a semi permeable membrane which all food and excrement must pass right?
  13. Joined
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    26 Mar '11 21:061 edit
    Originally posted by jimslyp69
    I'm not sure. I think I'm uncertain as you are on the subject. 😛

    By complex I meant long chained. In diesel this is generally 10 - 12 carbon atoms in each chain. I found it dubious that bacteria could create such long molecules as a by product. I was hoping that someone could provide a link that would prove this either way.

    My initial doubt was brou . They are made up of a semi permeable membrane which all food and excrement must pass right?
    “....I found it dubious that bacteria could create such long molecules as a by product. ...”

    but bacteria produce bacterial proteins most of them being more than 100 carbon atoms long -much longer than diesel molecules.
    also, they produce their own fatty-acids that are about the same length and have simular chemistry as deisel molecules.

    “...Another thing that made me doubt it is, how large a molecule could actually fit through a cell wall of a microbe. ...”

    it is not so much the “length” of the molecule that determines if it can slip through the tiny holes in the membrane but the “thickness”.
    A straight-chained non-branching hydrocarbon molecule would have the thickness of about one and a half water molecules no mater how long it is.
  14. In your face
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    26 Mar '11 21:41
    Originally posted by Andrew Hamilton
    “....I found it dubious that bacteria could create such long molecules as a by product. ...”

    but bacteria produce bacterial proteins most of them being more than 100 carbon atoms long -much longer than diesel molecules.
    also, they produce their own fatty-acids that are about the same length and have simular chemistry as deisel molecules.

    “...A ...[text shortened]... lecule would have the thickness of about one and a half water molecules no mater how long it is.
    I seem to remember an experiment in high school where a semi permeable sack was filled with glucose and starch solution and placed into a beaker full of water. After a given time, the water in the beaker was tested for starch and glucose. Only starch was present because the glucose could not pass through the membrane. Wouldn't these diesel like hydro carbons have the same problem passing back out through the cell membrane?
  15. Standard memberDeepThought
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    27 Mar '11 07:15
    Originally posted by Andrew Hamilton
    “...After all it's stupid to have a system for generating low carbon fuel that involves so much transport you'd be better off just burning oil anyway. ...”

    but doesn't oil require a lot of transport? We currently import a lot of it from the middle-east.
    For this reason, I doubt the transport costs would be much greater (if greater) for bio-fuels.
    I was thinking more of the amount of agricultural produce you have to shift to a factory to make the oil in the first place. Crude oil is a lot denser so you can transport more per vehicle to a refinery. Also by displacing food production in the area that the bio-fuel is being grown you force food to be transported in from outside.

    As you probably know from the news coverage, in Japan they're short of internal fuel resources so have to ship crude oil and other raw materials in, so there it you'd probably gain more as you reduce overall transport of fuel, which is going to act as a multiplier on the carbon intensity of whatever the activity the fuel is being imported for.
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