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(4,795 posts)
1. So how much, if any, net energy was produced?
Thu Dec 19, 2013, 01:53 AM
Dec 2013
The system runs at more than 660 degrees Fahrenheit at about 3,000 pounds per square inch, combining processes known as hydrothermal liquefaction and catalytic hydrothermal gasification.

The system isn’t easy or cheap to build, but Elliott said cost savings later in the process justified the investment.

“It’s a bit like using a pressure cooker, only the pressures and temperatures we use are much higher,” Elliott said. “In a sense, we are duplicating the process in the Earth that converted algae into oil over the course of millions of years. We’re just doing it much, much faster.”

When we wait a million years, we don't have to burn oil and coal to, well, er, make oil and coal. Im just curious what the net is. I understand the algae itself has energy (collected from the sun), whose storage needs to be converted to a form we prefer it to be in. But with all the processes required to do this (which cannot possibly be near 100% efficient), how viable could this be large scale compared to pursuing direct solar collection/storage/usage?
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