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Algae to oil

Algal ‘slurry’ turns to crude oil in minutes

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Scientists in the US have worked out how to convert algae into crude oil in less than 60 minutes. Looking much like pea soup, a mixture of green algae and water is subjected to a temperature of 350°C and pressure of 3,000 PSI, which breaks the algae down into oil and gas. The scientists learned that a mixture of up to 80 to 90% water made the best algal ‘slurry’ for the process. I wonder what would happen if there was much more algae.

Just like crude oil that comes out of wells, the resultant oil can be easily refined into aviation fuel, gasoline, diesel and other products, and the gas can be converted to natural gas, with multiple uses such as household heating and cooking, and powering cars.1 

It has been widely believed for decades that ‘fossil fuel’ oil and gas took millions of years to form from algae and plants

It has been widely believed for decades that ‘fossil fuel’ oil and gas took millions of years to form from algae and plants (and other buried organic material—see box), after being slowly trapped in rocks and subjected to the earth’s heat and pressure over eons.

I wonder how the economics stack up

However, we now know that the millions of years are unnecessary. This industrial process (which does not involve chemical reagents) shows that heat and pressure suffice to form oil in ultrashort time periods. And both heat and pressure are ‘naturally’ available when organic material is buried2 deep within the earth, which would have happened on a vast scale at the time of the Genesis Flood. The thousands of years since then are thus far more than necessary to generate the huge fossil fuel deposits of the present day.

Heat and pressure suffice to form oil in ultrashort time periods

Ironically, whenever evidence such as this shows conclusively that fossil fuels would not require vast ages, reports often feature phrases like, ‘Process does in minutes what nature takes millions of years to do’.

Is all crude oil from buried plant or algal material?

Almost certainly not. Some oil deposits, especially those from Venezuela, contain high levels of vanadium, believed to be the result of its preferential accumulation in marine organisms, particularly shellfish.

Note that buried vegetation subjected to heat and pressure may first become coal, which can also form in short time periods. Coal can itself become oil if subjected to still higher temperatures and pressures. For example, the Bass Strait oil deposits in Australia bear the chemical signature of having been derived from the geographically nearby Gippsland brown coal deposits. It is believed that the oil is forming right now as the coal seams are thrust deeper into the earth.3

Also, there is evidence to suggest that some oil may form directly from methane gas from deep within the earth. Some oil is found in igneous rocks, where nothing seems to have been buried in sediment. Microbial action has been suggested as one likely agent in its formation.4

Related Articles

References and notes

  1. Rickey, T., Algae to crude oil: Million-year natural process takes minutes in the lab, pnnl.gov, 17 December 2013. Return to text.
  2. Thus preventing ongoing exposure to oxygen, which would result in decomposition, not oil formation. Return to text.
  3. Snelling, A.A., The recent origin of Bass Strait oil and gas, Creation 5(2):43–46, 1982; creation.com/bass-gas. Return to text.
  4. Wieland, C., Oil not always a ‘fossil fuel’, Creation 32(2):56, 2010; creation.com/oil-not-always-fossil. Return to text.

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Readers’ comments
Peter S., Australia, 19 June 2016

This is a legitimate email address

Peter S., Australia, 19 June 2016

Testing good email address

Peter S., Australia, 16 June 2016

Testing where it falls back to after publishing

Peter S., Australia, 15 June 2016

Testing which page it drops back to after I publish a comment.

Peter S., Australia, 13 June 2016

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testing F., Australia, 20 February 2016

Testing the new Facebook button

Peter Smartt responds

Don - please ignore ...

And this is the response, with the redirect to Link with redirect removed in email hopefully:)

hyperlinks L., Australia, 21 September 2015

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This one has a hyperlink to [link deleted per feedback rules] and should have the different message in the email.

Hyperlink tester H., Australia, 19 September 2015

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Hyperlink tester H., Australia, 19 September 2015

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Hyperlink tester H., Australia, 19 September 2015

Here is a hyperlink [link deleted per feedback rules] that was a link

test email message E., Australia, 19 September 2015

Don - please ignore ---- Testing adding a message with some http links [link deleted per feedback rules], some links with https [link deleted per feedback rules], something with just the slashes [link deleted per feedback rules], something with regular dots this.should.be.ok and something with an interesting query string [link deleted per feedback rules] However, having said all that, we love people to link to http://creation.com, http://www.creation.com, //creation.com, //www.creation.com, or any of our articles like http://www.creation.com/biology-exam-fraud, or other articles.

Peter Smartt responds

Don, please ignore --- And this is the response

Hyperlink tester S., Australia, 19 September 2015

Testing adding a message with some http links [link deleted per feedback rules], some links with https [link deleted per feedback rules], something with just the slashes [link deleted per feedback rules], something with regular dots this.should.be.ok and something with an interesting query string [link deleted per feedback rules] However, having said all that, we love people to link to http://creation.com, http://www.creation.com, //creation.com, //www.creation.com, or any of our articles like http://www.creation.com/biology-exam-fraud, or other articles.

T. S., Australia, 1 June 2014

Testing

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Testing the changes in emal message

Seen Y., United States, 9 March 2014

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sylvia S., Australia, 4 February 2014

Testing for over quota 2

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Re test to see the changes from recipient to correspondent

Man Hui N., Australia, 2 July 2013

Testing please ignore

Sylvia S., Australia, 27 March 2013

Testing the email address which is in the banlist

Sylvia S., Singapore, 11 March 2013

Testing

Sylvia Smartt responds

This response has bold, italics,

a blockquote

some lists

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and it could have more markup if needed.

pj J., Australia, 5 October 2013

Testing

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Testing

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Molén M., Australia, 23 August 2013

Let's see if Molén is supportable, or Try some words in other languages with funny characters Nestlé ÖŸËÒÔӭӫ

Already published and changing the tidyMessage

Sylvia S., Afghanistan, 19 May 2012

Testing of infobytes

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