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Thread: Patent to Reverse Global Warming

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Hi Robert,
    Have you advanced your patent to actually formulating a claim 1 yet? I cannot find any claim on your website.
    The main claims are at Provisional Patent Application Ocean Based Algae Biofuel Production System - R Tulip July 2009:
    1. The Algae Production System is a photo-bioreactor floating in the ocean, made primarily of polymer fabrics and enclosed contents.
    2. Algae production chamber shown at A and B is a continuous chamber floating at ocean surface. (A) indicates points of addition of inputs and (B) indicates output point for algated content.
    3. Lower chamber (C) contains gas (eg air or CO2) which passes through one way valves (four vertical arrows (J) through polymer layer (I) into algae chamber A and B.
    4. Polymer bag (D) contains fresh water, surrounding algae production chamber A-B, and connected to submarine bags E and F as shown at separate schematic drawing of top view.
    5. Liquid source (K) and gas source (N) are pumped through inlet pipes (L) and (M) into submarine pumping chambers (E) and (F).
    6. Rise and fall of bag D with wave causes chambers E and F to expand and contract, pumping liquid from bag E into chamber A and gas from bag F into chamber C.
    7. Rigid base container G extends beneath and connects all bags E and F, such that wave energy transmitted from bag D expands and compresses bags E and F to provide pumping pressure rather than causing bags E and F to rise and fall with the swell or expand and shrink horizontally.
    8. Barrier I between chambers C and A-B is reflective and insulated to maximise retention of sunlight and heat entering through transparent polymer layer (H) into upper chamber E and F.
    9. Volume of gas in chamber C can be increased or decreased to regulate depth of entire system. When chamber C is full the system will float high, and when empty it will sink lower.
    Last edited by Robert Tulip; 2011-Aug-06 at 12:23 AM.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Tulip View Post
    The main claims are at Provisional Patent Application Ocean Based Algae Biofuel Production System - R Tulip July 2009:
    1. The Algae Production System is a photo-bioreactor floating in the ocean, made primarily of polymer fabrics and enclosed contents.
    2. Algae production chamber shown at A and B is a continuous chamber floating at ocean surface. (A) indicates points of addition of inputs and (B) indicates output point for algated content.
    3. Lower chamber (C) contains gas (eg air or CO2) which passes through one way valves (four vertical arrows (J) through polymer layer (I) into algae chamber A and B.
    4. Polymer bag (D) contains fresh water, surrounding algae production chamber A-B, and connected to submarine bags E and F as shown at separate schematic drawing of top view.
    5. Liquid source (K) and gas source (N) are pumped through inlet pipes (L) and (M) into submarine pumping chambers (E) and (F).
    6. Rise and fall of bag D with wave causes chambers E and F to expand and contract, pumping liquid from bag E into chamber A and gas from bag F into chamber C.
    7. Rigid base container G extends beneath and connects all bags E and F, such that wave energy transmitted from bag D expands and compresses bags E and F to provide pumping pressure rather than causing bags E and F to rise and fall with the swell or expand and shrink horizontally.
    8. Barrier I between chambers C and A-B is reflective and insulated to maximise retention of sunlight and heat entering through transparent polymer layer (H) into upper chamber E and F.
    9. Volume of gas in chamber C can be increased or decreased to regulate depth of entire system. When chamber C is full the system will float high, and when empty it will sink lower.
    Many thanks this is very interesting although not phrased as a patent application. I am not a patent agent so I cannot advise directly but I would say you need to use an agent to tidy up the claims, basically one patent has one invention plus refinements so you start with a careful claim one and then claim two is claim one plus this feature, claim three is claim two plus this next feature and so one ending with the last claim which has all the bells and whistles. So you have to decide which of your many features is the really inventive step because that is your main claim one. (I hope I am not teaching grandma to suck eggs!)

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by hhEb09'1 View Post
    We've unlocked this thread.

    I've never submitted a patent application. Didn't they used to have a proof of concept requirement? A model, or something? Has that been done away with?

    If you're relying on previous research for proof of concept, doesn't that affect your ability to reserve and protect it?
    Working models haven't been required for US patents for over a century. Feasibility is not even a rigorously enforced requirement; I believe that there are some recent patents that are issued for "machines" which violate the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics. And don't get me started on software patents....
    Last edited by swampyankee; 2011-Aug-06 at 02:00 PM. Reason: punctuation
    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    Working models haven't been required for US patents for over a century. Feasibility is not even a rigorously enforced requirement; I believe that there are some recent patents that are issued for "machines" which violate the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics. And don't get me started on software patents....
    Alas for the days when a patent was an intellectual treatise, they allow discovered genes and perpetual motion machines to be patented now, the whole thing needs a real shake up and revision but sadly very unlikely. It is especially sad for the lone or small company inventor. It really is just a lawyer's game today.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Alas for the days when a patent was an intellectual treatise, they allow discovered genes and perpetual motion machines to be patented now, the whole thing needs a real shake up and revision but sadly very unlikely. It is especially sad for the lone or small company inventor. It really is just a lawyer's game today.
    It's been a lawyers' game for a very long time. Unfortunately, the entire intellectual property issue seems to have stopped being designed to promote innovation, but to promote corporate interests.
    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Alas for the days when a patent was an intellectual treatise, they allow discovered genes and perpetual motion machines to be patented now, the whole thing needs a real shake up and revision but sadly very unlikely. It is especially sad for the lone or small company inventor. It really is just a lawyer's game today.
    It's been a lawyers' game for a very long time. Unfortunately, the entire intellectual property issue seems to have stopped being designed to promote innovation, but to promote corporate interests.
    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

  7. #67
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    The inventive claim is that flexible containers holding fresh water can be used for buoyancy, stability and energy for a scalable ocean based algae production system. This claim is detailed in the descriptions of the invention.

    Profloater is correct that the initial claim should be stated with more precision and then expanded in subsequent subclaims. The way I present it in my original first claim seeks intellectual property for the entire concept of ocean based photobioreactors, and restricts the material to polymer fabric. In fact, as my subclaims explain, I have a specific design that I suggest will prove the most efficient, rapid and environmentally sustainable way to make biofuel.

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    That's quite likely far too late to lay claim on that.
    Especially since there's years of previous mention of the idea.

    To wit, it's nothing new.
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  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Tulip View Post
    The inventive claim is that flexible containers holding fresh water can be used for buoyancy, stability and energy for a scalable ocean based algae production system. This claim is detailed in the descriptions of the invention.

    Profloater is correct that the initial claim should be stated with more precision and then expanded in subsequent subclaims. The way I present it in my original first claim seeks intellectual property for the entire concept of ocean based photobioreactors, and restricts the material to polymer fabric. In fact, as my subclaims explain, I have a specific design that I suggest will prove the most efficient, rapid and environmentally sustainable way to make biofuel.
    In the old days patenting a combination of ideas was not allowed on the sausage machine principle. If a meat grinder exists and a sausage filler exists you cannot patent putting them together in one machine. However you can counter that if it is obvious why has no one done it? Patenting concepts or business ideas is very difficult. You can however easily protect a trade name if you have one and this is amazingly powerful as the technology develops. Passing-off legislation is powerful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    That's quite likely far too late to lay claim on that.
    Especially since there's years of previous mention of the idea.

    To wit, it's nothing new.
    That is a very perplexing comment. Where are the years of previous mention? I have invented this system as something that does not yet exist, especially the described methods for use of waterbags as an energy source and the proposed method for algae production. Grateful for elucidation.

  11. #71
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    From what I understand about it, the normal order of business is first get the patent, then start publishing the idea.

    It sounds like the idea you've been pushing here for a long time, which makes it look like you've reversed the process by publishing before securing the patent.
    __________________________________________________
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    Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails. Clarence Darrow
    A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. Mark Twain

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    In the old days patenting a combination of ideas was not allowed on the sausage machine principle. If a meat grinder exists and a sausage filler exists you cannot patent putting them together in one machine. However you can counter that if it is obvious why has no one done it? Patenting concepts or business ideas is very difficult. You can however easily protect a trade name if you have one and this is amazingly powerful as the technology develops. Passing-off legislation is powerful.
    The described invention is not just putting together existing methods. It involves several novel components, most notably new methods to use bags of fresh water floating at sea to convert tidal and wave energy into pumping power.

    These subclaims are simple in concept but powerful in potential, supporting the overall purpose of minimum cost biofuel production. The absence of such low cost pumping methods has prevented cost-effective large scale algae biofuel production to date.

    These simple methods can easily be tested in small scale laboratory conditions, and in field pilot trials in sheltered locations such as San Francisco Bay, to determine feasibility of operation at sea.

    An initial commercial strategy, based on the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory proposal to use algae farms to recycle CO2 emissions from coal powered electricity stations, would involve finding power stations that are close to suitable sheltered coastal sites where tide and wave energy can power the movement of inputs into a floating photobioreactor. Another feasible initial option is to use this method on the North West Shelf Gorgon Gas Project in Australia as an alternative to geosequestration of CO2.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Tulip View Post
    The described invention is not just putting together existing methods. It involves several novel components, most notably new methods to use bags of fresh water floating at sea to convert tidal and wave energy into pumping power.

    These subclaims are simple in concept but powerful in potential, supporting the overall purpose of minimum cost biofuel production. The absence of such low cost pumping methods has prevented cost-effective large scale algae biofuel production to date.

    These simple methods can easily be tested in small scale laboratory conditions, and in field pilot trials in sheltered locations such as San Francisco Bay, to determine feasibility of operation at sea.

    An initial commercial strategy, based on the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory proposal to use algae farms to recycle CO2 emissions from coal powered electricity stations, would involve finding power stations that are close to suitable sheltered coastal sites where tide and wave energy can power the movement of inputs into a floating photobioreactor. Another feasible initial option is to use this method on the North West Shelf Gorgon Gas Project in Australia as an alternative to geosequestration of CO2.
    I think you are working on a really useful and important idea with a very large potential. The strategy of protection in this case is a hard one because once big bucks get involved you can get left behind. It sound like you may need two or three provisional patents, at least one based on the fresh water pumping idea, assuming there is no prior art on that. I have found good patent agents will always help with the first filing for free if you agree to let them have the subsequent work when you are successful. One possible route then is to offer options based on the idea to larger organisations to fund development where you get the rights back if they do not proceed later but they have the option to go to the next stage for an agreed figure, which would then include going international with the patents which is really expensive. Alternatively you forget the patent but publish the ideas as you are doing here so that others cannot patent them during your development. The details you have given here would already block a patent and might block your own if you have not got your claims sorted out. I wish you well with the development.

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    I know nothing about Australian patent law, but in the jurisdictions I have been involved in, you get 12 months after a provisional application to file a full application (and in most case, there are quite strict limits on adding new material to the full application if you want to retain the priority date) and a similar time to file the same patent in other countries. If you filed the original application in 2009, then isn't this all moot now?

    A quick glance at the claims as written currently suggests they would be rejected immediately by European or US examiners for being indefinite and describing multiple inventions. They wouldn't even do a prior art search at this stage. Of course, that can be used as a tactic to drag out the application process but it is expensive and risky - in the US, at least, the original form of the claims is used to judge your intent when any later versions of the claims are examined (or challenged in court).

    I agree with profloater's comment that the discussions here (as well as your provisional application) could make it very difficult to file any new patents - unless they are for something significantly novel you haven't mentioned yet. And if you do have any such ideas, keep quiet!

    Personally, I would very strongly recommend anyone thinking of filing a patent to get professional help.

  15. #75
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    I think Stange is right which is why I suggested getting a good name protected so at least you have that for the future. When large brands get bought out the name of the brand is often a major part of the value, sometimes it's everything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    If you filed the original application in 2009, then isn't this all moot now?
    As far as patenting is concerned, yes. Because I am a very multi-disciplinary thinker, it really has not surprised me that no one has taken an interest in this material, which appears futuristic and even far-fetched at first glance. Perhaps if somebody helped me when I published it here and elsewhere two years ago they could have got very rich! I still think these ideas are the basis of major new industries with potential to drive planetary transformation of energy, food and climate policies. I am not particularly concerned about money, but I do have many other ideas that I have not shared, and am more interested in influencing how these ideas are put into practice than maintaining personal control of them. So I assert a moral right over these ideas rather than a strict legal control.

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    I had that sort of attitude toward my invention of "Solarkinetic Pulse Propulsion". I knew I lacked the knowledge and experience to implement the concept, so I hoped I could get current researchers in chipsats interested in the concept. But they have their own things they're working on.

    I've come to realize that the only way to get this sort of idea pushed forward is to do it myself, or at least get the ball started rolling myself. While I freely posted all of the details of Solarkinetic Pulse Propulsion, I have been keeping enough details to myself to keep my later concepts patentable until I have sufficiently developed them. I have also been concentrating on figuring out ways to at least partially implement my concepts with cheap off-the-shelf technology (for initial demonstrators).

    For example, for "picokinetic pulse propulsion", my aim is to build a prototype picosat demonstrator using off-the-shelf chips and components. This rules out fancy ideas of lightweight chipsats, and also rules out some fancier propulsion possibilities such as ion thrusters. While the picosat prototype is only one component of the overall system, it's something I can implement as an amateur level hobbyist.

    Maybe you could try and implement some sort of small scale version of your systems, or some component?

    For example, if you're good with algae experiments you could experiment with a small scale bioreactor.

    Or if you can't handle algae experiments, you could use cheap plastic bags and a small salt water pool to experiment with a small scale buoyancy demonstrator.

    Armchair thinkers like us are a dime a dozen. If you want your ideas to get anywhere, build something tangible--something that looks good on camera.

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    Small scale demonstrations should be fairly simple. Fill a few thousand bags like used to protect one news paper on a rainy day with the cooled exhaust of a gas turbine for electric power generation. Add a second bag slightly larger to make it less leaky and stronger. Take them out to sea in a small boat designed to catch rain water. Put some rain water in the inside bag with some algae starter, and algae fertilizer. Seal the bag with a baggy tie. Put it over board gently. Pick up as many of the bags as you can find, a week later. An oversize butterfly net might be helpful. The bag likely is not reusable. Shake the bag vigorously. Remove the baggy tie. Pour the contents into a storage tank. Press the bag between high pressure rollers to separate the algae oil from the algae organisms. Put the liquid in 5 gallon plastic containers similar to those that paint is sold in. Cover and let set for a few hours. Skim off the top 5%. Filter to remove floating solids. Use the oil to power your boat back to port. On the way back to port the crushed bags will likely drip some more liquid. There will still be some residue in the bags which can go into a plastic depolarize at your facility. The solids you skimmed off likely have more oil which can be extracted by squeezing again with high pressure rollers, and some more oil can be recovered from the 95% full 5 gallon containers. The algae in the tank can be used as algae starter for the next trip to sea. The surplus algae needs to be crushed to extract the oil. The algae oil may need another processing step to optimize it as diesel oil. One source said treat it with methane which may be available from your plastic depolarizer.
    The bags will float high in the water due the fresh water and the 75 % nitrogen in the bag. Hopefully most of the carbon dioxide will be converted to algae oil by the algae. Since the bags are small, most of the algae will be less than 4 inches = 10 centimeters from the sun light most of the time. The sun light path will be longer for larger bags, so this may not scale up very well. Coal fired plants will give a slightly higher percentage of carbon dioxide, but also a higher percentage of chemicals toxic to the algae. Also the the exhaust is much hotter unless you collect it at the top of the 100 meter plus chimney. More details and rebuttals are appreciated. Neil

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    Neil, the test you propose does not help prove the claims. Algae biofuel is already a proven technology, with widespread start up investment in a variety of methods, including photobioreactors and raceway ponds. Marine algae production is the subject of intensive testing by NASA, and their progress is documented in the link at #59. My proposals suggest an efficient way to take these existing methods to scale. What is needed to test my claims is specific prototyping, not generalised demonstration that algae will grow in bags at sea.

    Following up on Isaac's helpful suggestion, I plan to prove the waterbag tidal pumping concept in a glass fishtank. I will let you know when I have made it.

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    Hi Robert: I love mega engineering projects, but I confess to obtaining details of only a small percentage of what is needed. Marshal Savage 1975 in Millennium Project did OPEC best for me. Some of the details are applicable to your project, I think.
    The 4 degree c water is typically about 6 kilometers below the ocean surface, so you may need 20 kilometers of pipe, unless the sea cliff is close to vertical. Keeping the water under 5 degrees c (for 20 kilometers)is a major problem for OPEC, but not for you, unless you expect to use it as cooling water. Perhaps the nutrient rich water is sometimes available at one kilometer below the surface or closer.
    Yes the things you mentioned do seem to be proven technology, but some of them appeared proven in 1975.
    Pontoon bridges were built perhaps a century ago, but perhaps are only rarely cost effective even with today's advanced technology. Does the plastic in a large inflatable pontoon weigh one ton? That would possibly explain why you thought up to $45 per square meter for a plastic bag. A water bed mattress is my largest first hand experience. My kids had fun playing with one inflated with air. Neil
    Last edited by neilzero; 2011-Sep-30 at 05:45 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neilzero View Post
    Hi Robert: I love mega engineering projects, but I confess to obtaining details of only a small percentage of what is needed. Marshal Savage 1975 in Millennium Project did OPEC best for me. Some of the details are applicable to your project, I think.
    Hi neil, thanks. I had not heard of Marshall Savage, but see there is a wikipedia page on his book The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps. Perhaps I should write a book on colonizing the ocean in eight easy steps. His Aquarius stage of Arcology is precisely what I am discussing. I think you meant OTEC, not OPEC. My idea is not about Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion, but rather that by generating upwelling of deep nutrient rich water from below the thermocline we can produce controlled algal blooms on the ocean surface. This mimics the natural upwelling process
    The 4 degree c water is typically about 6 kilometers below the ocean surface, so you may need 20 kilometers of pipe, unless the sea cliff is close to vertical. Keeping the water under 5 degrees c (for 20 kilometers)is a major problem for OPEC, but not for you, unless you expect to use it as cooling water. Perhaps the nutrient rich water is sometimes available at one kilometer below the surface or closer.
    Yes the things you mentioned do seem to be proven technology, but some of them appeared proven in 1975.
    The thermocline (see link above) indicates that the barrier between clear surface water and nutrient rich deep water is only about 200 meters deep, and that the temperature gradient is not as you suggest. But temperature is not the key issue here. A series of tidal pumps (see Drawing D)on the continental shelf off California could use inlet pipes drawing water from 500 meters deep, and outlet pipes to algae farms floating on the surface. This use of waterbags for tidal pumping has very low operating costs. I also have new ideas for using wave energy for this purpose in the deep sea.
    Pontoon bridges were built perhaps a century ago, but perhaps are only rarely cost effective even with today's advanced technology. Does the plastic in a large inflatable pontoon weigh one ton? That would possibly explain why you thought up to $45 per square meter for a plastic bag. A water bed mattress is my largest first hand experience. My kids had fun playing with one inflated with air. Neil
    The costing of $45 assumes several layers of plastic. The model for this general idea of bags filled with fresh water floating at sea has been proven by Terry Spragg of waterbag.com.

    I have made a prototype tidal pump, and will post photos soon.

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    Here is my latest summary, from a comment I sent to a geoengineering group. Still no interest from anyone...

    Algae for Geoengineering
    This post explains my ideas on large scale ocean based algae production as a possible technological breakthrough to implement geoengineering. I am an amateur researcher, so I accept there may be flaws in my ideas. However, they have not been field or lab tested, so the research is needed before these proposals can be assessed.

    My work as an international development professional with the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) has exposed me a range of sectors – climate, infrastructure, food, energy, fisheries, private sector development, banking and mining - that suggests to me that a multidisciplinary innovative proposal is needed for real progress to address climate change. I would welcome advice on the feasibility of this proposal and potential strategies for research and pilot testing. These ideas are in the public domain, and while I explored patenting, I did not proceed. My main interest is to contribute to real response to global problems.

    My proposal is to grow algae in large floating ponds, initially in shallow warm sheltered seas, with buoyancy, stability, transport and pumping provided by plastic bags of fresh water. Relative density of fresh and salt water means 1/40th of a fresh water bag will float above the ocean surface. Using energy from sun, wave, wind, tide and current, such fresh water bags can pump nutrient-rich water across a shallow sheet of plastic to optimise algae growth. This idea builds on NASA’s work on Offshore Membrane Enclosures to Grow Algae (OMEGA) and Mr Terry Spragg’s waterbag invention. It mimics both the original natural process of petroleum deposition and the upwelling of deep water for algae production.

    My related inventions include use of wave energy to sink bags of algated water deep in the ocean in order to use pressure to dewater it and separate oil, use of wave pumping to aerate the system and enable rapid temporary sinking in event of storm, use of water bags as tidal pumps for both nutrient-rich deep water and CO2 inputs, and use of waterbags to support ocean structures and to transport water and other commodities.

    Geoengineering is advanced as a solution to global warming, using solar radiation management and carbon dioxide removal. Main constraints are cost, acceptability and effectiveness. This proposal addresses these geoengineering constraints as follows:

    Cost: the aim is to use algae to produce biofuel, and other commercial commodities such as food, fertilizer and fabric. Aiming for profitable commercial operation is essential for rapid scalability. Aiming for use of 100% renewable energy sources based on low capital expenditure and operating expenditure methods is a key to profitability. Using produced algae for fabric to build the ponds and bags can provide a potential cheap and sustainable material that will also provide short term sequestration. Species selection can enable highly productive algae growth, orders of magnitude above other plants.

    Acceptability: The primary aim is ecological sustainability. This method has potential to rapidly remove CO2 from the air on large scale, mitigating likelihood of a climate crisis. It is also designed to reduce ocean acidity and temperature, so could be located in strategic places of high risk such as coral reefs and the Arctic to help insure against these risks. As well, co-location with CO2 emitters (eg Gorgon Gas on Australia North West Shelf) presents a commercial sequestration and commodity production method with potential for investment by extractive industry firms. My very rough calculation is that placement of algae ponds on about 0.1% of the global ocean would be enough to balance all human CO2 emissions. The scale of the world ocean (71% of planet surface) means that initial acceptable test locations should be readily available. As such, it presents a pragmatic method to enable continuation of the fossil fuel economy alongside growth of a new replacement system.

    Effectiveness: This method combines the goals of solar radiation management and carbon dioxide removal to produce profitable products and mitigate and adapt to climate change and resource constraints. Ponds on the ocean surface aim to transform as much as possible incoming solar heat into algae, significantly cooling the local ocean and providing a transportable concentrated energy source. Combination with other CO2 removal technologies can enable a local use of the captured CO2 to produce commercial products from algae. Coastal coal fired power plants are a potential major CO2 source. It may be possible to use produced algae as a fuel source for electricity plants.

    My documents are at http://rtulip.net/ocean_based_algae_...isional_patent

    I encourage readers to look at the linked documents at this site. I am sure you will see some ideas that you will regard as impractical, but I urge you to set aside any ‘blue sky’ material and focus on whether there is anything with practical potential. To date, none of these ideas have been prototyped or lab tested. I would welcome interest in taking this forward.

    Sincerely

    Robert Tulip

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    Quote Originally Posted by neilzero View Post
    Hi Robert: I love mega engineering projects, but I confess to obtaining details of only a small percentage of what is needed. Marshal Savage 1975 in Millennium Project did OPEC best for me. Some of the details are applicable to your project, I think.
    The 4 degree c water is typically about 6 kilometers below the ocean surface, so you may need 20 kilometers of pipe, unless the sea cliff is close to vertical. Keeping the water under 5 degrees c (for 20 kilometers)is a major problem for OPEC, but not for you, unless you expect to use it as cooling water. Perhaps the nutrient rich water is sometimes available at one kilometer below the surface or closer.
    Yes the things you mentioned do seem to be proven technology, but some of them appeared proven in 1975.
    Pontoon bridges were built perhaps a century ago, but perhaps are only rarely cost effective even with today's advanced technology. Does the plastic in a large inflatable pontoon weigh one ton? That would possibly explain why you thought up to $45 per square meter for a plastic bag. A water bed mattress is my largest first hand experience. My kids had fun playing with one inflated with air. Neil
    Plastic for your floats? I think not. Try concrete, specifically, cellular concrete. Not only is it far more compatible with the marine environment, it'll outlast plastic 20:1, and those two reasons are why it's being considered for use in mega-scale floating structures.

    Link 1 - Pelagic platforms

    Link 2 - Versabuoy

    Link 3 - "Very Large Floating Structures: Applications, Analysis, and Design" by E. Watanabe, C.M. Wang, T. Utsunomiya, and T. Moan, Centre for Offshore Research and Engineering, National University of Singapore

    Doesn't mean you can't use a narrow plastic tube as a surface barrier to contain the floating algae, but you wouldn't want to use plastic floats to support the infrastructure, and you will require significant infrastructure.

  24. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoggerDan View Post
    Plastic for your floats? I think not. Try concrete, specifically, cellular concrete. Not only is it far more compatible with the marine environment, it'll outlast plastic 20:1, and those two reasons are why it's being considered for use in mega-scale floating structures.

    Link 1 - Pelagic platforms

    Link 2 - Versabuoy

    Link 3 - "Very Large Floating Structures: Applications, Analysis, and Design" by E. Watanabe, C.M. Wang, T. Utsunomiya, and T. Moan, Centre for Offshore Research and Engineering, National University of Singapore

    Doesn't mean you can't use a narrow plastic tube as a surface barrier to contain the floating algae, but you wouldn't want to use plastic floats to support the infrastructure, and you will require significant infrastructure.
    Thanks very much for these informative links, especially the paper on very large floating structures by Watanabe et al. A more accessible version is at http://www.eng.nus.edu.sg/core/Report%20200402.pdf

    Your question about suitable materials is a good one. Yes, there may well be parts of this system where concrete is more suitable. But there are also significant parts where plastic should be superior, especially regarding energy production from waves and tide. The advantage of plastic includes its flexibility, so that it rides with the wave, with the goal that suitable plastics (eg polyethylene as used in NASA OMEGA) can be produced from the algae grown in the system, to enable rapid scale up and biosequestration within the plastic. Continual addition of new plastic to the interior of bag structures could be an effective maintenance method. Very large submarine floating structures could be built of plastic with steel reinforcement. A reference summary on use of algae for manufacture of plastics is at http://www.oilgae.com/ref/downloads/...ioplastics.pdf

    Many parts of my proposal require flexible materials, where plastic is likely to be more suitable than concrete.



    Some further comments and links in response to another reply about whether this proposal constitutes a form of geoengineering are as follows.
    growing algae for use as biofuels would be classified as mitigation (i.e., an alternative form of energy) rather than as geoengineering. This is because the use of the algae as a fuel would release the captured CO2 to the atmosphere, later to be pulled out again in the growth of more algae. This is a fine idea, although there may well be limits to the availability of needed nutrients in ocean waters to accomplish this; bringing up deep water for nutrients is certainly possible and has been proposed by others in past (perhaps even in association with energy generation using the ocean thermal energy conversion). Mining enough nutrients on land may well create other problems in terms of the availability of resources, so there may be capacity problems, but growth of algae for energy is certainly worth exploring (and is done with CO2 from some power plants already). Were the proposal to be to grow the algae and then sink it to the bottom of the ocean, then the approach could be said to be an approach to Carbon Dioxide Removal, so a form of geoengineering. But why one would go to the effort to create a non-fossil based source of carbonaceous material and then sink it to the bottom of the ocean instead of use it for energy is not at all clear.
    Short term carbon fixing using algae may well be able to help stabilise and reduce both atmospheric CO2 levels and ocean temperature, making algae production a valid geoengineering method.

    Only permanent sequestration is generally considered to have substantial effect on CO2 level, but I question this assumption. If algae can provide a replacement for fossil fuel, and also provide a commercial market to use CO2 emissions from power stations and mines, it can substantially reduce and ultimately reverse growth of atmospheric CO2 level.

    Lets say hypothetically we can establish 100,000 square km (10m ha) of ocean based algae farms, covering about 0.02% of the world ocean, funded primarily by sale of produced fuel, fish, fertilizer and fabric. At the upper limit of yield cited by NASA OMEGA, a goal of 50 tonnes of oil per hectare per year, production on 10 million hectares would yield 500m tonnes This is about 10% of world oil supply of about 5 billion tonnes per year. As well, it would produce a large amount of carbohydrate and protein suitable for fertilizer and fish food.

    Instead of obtaining fossil carbon from under the ground, ocean based algae production would obtain the carbon from the atmosphere, replacing a large proportion of emissions with a sustainable energy supply and other products. Instead of adding to atmospheric CO2, this method would help stabilise and manage the carbon cycle, especially through non-fuel outputs.

    Algae farms on this scale would provide solar radiation management, converting incoming sunlight into algal growth, and cooling the local ocean as a geoengineering contribution. Algae farms at sea may prove superior to space based SRM approaches. Algae industry could be funded by sale of produced outputs, creating commercial incentive to support this technology that can help address peak oil, food security and global warming.

    Ocean deserts, the growing area of low-chlorophyll sea, were estimated at 50 million square kilometres in size in 2008, five times bigger than the land area of the USA. Algae production in these zones would enable significant increase in fisheries as a food supply and support for biodiversity. The carbon from algae could be fixed in surface waters temporarily in a form that would decrease acidity and local CO2.

    Using ocean energy to raise nutrient-rich ocean water as feedstock from below the thermocline, combined with CO2 inputs from power plants and mines, would create an industrial farm environment in which high yielding varieties of algae could be bred for a range of products, as a key input to managing the global climate.

    Some references
    http://www.sealevelcontrol.com/ocean.html - ocean aeration and upwelling.
    http://www.eng.nus.edu.sg/core/Report%20200402.pdf - engineering issues for very large floating structures.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6oek...layer_embedded - TED talk by Dr Jonathan Trent, head of the NASA OMEGA project.
    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/new...e_feature.html - OMEGA Press Release April 2012
    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories...eandesert.html - NOAA information on Ocean Deserts
    Last edited by Robert Tulip; 2012-May-01 at 01:32 PM.

  25. #85
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    I used the term 'Solar Radiation Management' differently from the usual 'reflection to space' meaning. My suggestion is that if the solar radiation hitting a patch of sea is used to grow algae on top of an insulated reflective mat floating just below the ocean surface, then that collected heat is deflected from warming the ocean into a range of energy uses, such as fueling internal combustion engines and power stations, as well as producing other useful commodities. The radiation is being 'managed' if not reflected. But that still has a geoengineering benefit.

    The local result would be a significant cooling of the ocean water. In strategic vulnerable locations, such as Australia's Great Barrier Reef and the Arctic, such local cooling would have a beneficial mitigation and adaptation impact. Displacing the heat for useful purposes therefore has a specific limited geoengineering impact, while also providing funding for system expansion to deliver the main geoengineering impact of CO2 reduction.

    The main geoengineering impact of industrial algae production is as a way to rapidly remove atmospheric CO2 on large scale at low or negative cost. You may be right that algae could not replace all fossil fuels, but as algae technology gets going we are likely to find many new uses for algae as a bulk material, salable as a commodity that would aim towards and past the 30 gigatonnes of CO2 we now add to the atmosphere each year. For example, it might be possible to use industrially mass-produced algae as material for construction of infrastructure such as insulation and even roads and buildings, as well as for ocean pond construction.

    Mining CO2 in this way as a useful product could extend to piping emissions from power plants to coastal algae farms, aiming for zero emission electricity production from existing plants. Tidal pumping can serve as a large scale method for low cost transport of CO2. The aim is to prevent the doubling of CO2 that you cite as the need for reflection of radiation back to space.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0803111005.htm and http://www.ieabcc.nl/workshops/task3...agen/Dixon.pdf provide information about Global Potential for Negative CO2 Emissions Through Biomass, but does not cite the ocean as a main potential biomass production location.

  26. #86
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    I have successfully reached the second round of an MIT competition for geoengineering concepts, for my Large Scale Ocean Based Algae Production proposal. The Climate Collaboration (CoLab) competition is run by the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence.

    The website link to my proposal is at http://climatecolab.org/web/guest/pl...ab/DESCRIPTION

    The competition reviewers have provided detailed and constructive comments, to which I have just responded.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Tulip View Post
    The competition reviewers have provided detailed and constructive comments, to which I have just responded.
    And they still let you in?
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Tulip View Post
    I used the term 'Solar Radiation Management' differently from the usual 'reflection to space' meaning. My suggestion is that if the solar radiation hitting a patch of sea is used to grow algae on top of an insulated reflective mat floating just below the ocean surface, then that collected heat is deflected from warming the ocean into a range of energy uses, such as fueling internal combustion engines and power stations, as well as producing other useful commodities. ... The local result would be a significant cooling of the ocean water. In strategic vulnerable locations, such as Australia's Great Barrier Reef and the Arctic, such local cooling would have a beneficial mitigation and adaptation impact.
    You are blocking a lot of visible light from going into that patch of ocean where you are floating. That means that you are greatly reducing any photosynthesis going on below it. On the whole, I expect that is much worse for any eco-systems underneath your floating mats than any welcome cooling effect. It's a bit like expecting large-scale aboriculture to be good for the local ecosystems. There are some local advantages, but on the whole they are terrible. I think if you actually calculate the quantity of energy taken up by your system operating at a plausible scale, it will still be literally be a drop in the ocean in comparison to the total insolation of ocean.

    While I was thinking this through, my attention was drawn to the great kelp mats and other floating algae mats that exist in some parts of the ocean. Thus one doesn't necessarily need a floating platform to cultivate algae on, to get great floating mats of it, though of course only a few kinds of algae naturally have that habit. But if an economically useful alga could be persuaded to be of that habit, it would save a lot of infrastructure.

  29. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ara Pacis View Post
    And they still let you in?
    Somehow I expect that there is a shortage of perfectly plausible ideas.

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    I wish you the best with the MIT completion. In the few areas where I have a bit of expertise, your several alternate routes look promising. Neil

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