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High School Science Fair Project Turned into a Business

by Josh Wolf

I started researching algae about 2 years ago. I became very fascinated about algae's capability to sequester carbon dioxide. This deep interest eventually turned itself into science fair project about using lighting methods with algae to increase photosynthetic efficiency to increase carbon sequestration yields. After presenting my project I later became interested in algae biodiesel after reading an article about Botryococcus Braunii and its +50% oil capacity.

I began extensively trying to grow algae production systems bigger and bigger. I went from small 2 liter bottle photobioreactors to a 2,000 liter tank that was run off of solar power. I created this tank out of wood and painters plastic. After about a week, the algae had finally grown enough to make reasonable quantities of oil. I filtered out the water and was astonished at producing 60Kg of algae biomass! After drying and pressing the oil, I was able to produce about 1.5 gallons of oil which turned into 1.6 gallons of diesel fuel (methanol and lye added).

I presented my project to my new science teacher at my high school and he became very interested in helping me take this whole project to the next step.

I am currently working on filing for a Department of Energy grant to make a 1/2 acre open algae pond to produce over 100,000 gallons of oil a month.

To see more pictures of my project come check out and "Like" my Facebook page,

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Oct 26, 2015
High School Science
by: Anonymous

You have created a history i must say. Extremely unbelievable to know that your science fair project has become the business. I have read many articles on biodiesel and now got to know how to make it home made.

Oct 23, 2015
by: john

It is delightful to read this post and i get much useful point through this post. Please keep posting such kind of post

Oct 20, 2015
Science Fair Project
by: Anonymous

We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your site provided us with valuable information to work on. You've done a formidable job and our whole community will be thankful to you.

Sep 21, 2012
Cost to produce Biodiesel?
by: Russ Browne

Hello Josh,

I just spoke with the Cowichan Biodiesel co-op manager on Vancouver Island in Canada, who has been making bio-diesel for about 15 years, he said your figure of 96 cents per gallon to make it is impossible. Even if he got the oil for free he said he could not make it for that because of the cost of the other materials.

BTW...they have a very impressive automated system for making the biodiesel at their headquarters, it is much larger than any of the automated machines I have seen for sale on the net.


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