I saw that on /. the other day.
I just read an interesting article in Diesel Power magazine (September 2008)
that discussed biodiesel from algae. There have been talk about this for
some time now, but no real action. Apparently the issue has been
Now, however, it has been shown
(http://tur-www1.massey.ac.nz/~ychisti/~yc.html ) that the US would need 24%
of arable land to produce biofuels from soybeans or other crops. Yet, the
same result could be achieved with algae using only 1%-3% of crops.
In addition, there's a new process for converting the algae - the MCGYAN
process (http://www.mcneffresearchconsultants.com/technology-mcgyan.asp )
that uses common zironia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zirconia ) as a
catalyst. There's a new algae producing "refinerey" being workedon in
Isanti, Minnesota. (
If all this works, one would just need to deal with the normal issues of
free methanol, glycerine and triglycerides.
Add the ability for us to use more solar with the ability to produce
biodiesel, and the Arabs will be quaking in their Burkas.
If we reduce the amount of CO2, where will we get all that algae and saw
grass? After it was the far greater CO2 level in the atmosphere
60,000,000 years ago that produced all the plant growth to sustain the
dinasours for 160,000,000 years ;)
The problem with all fossil fuels is the CO2 production.
The fuel cells and H production stops all that and it is a major
revolution in power use
Um, the article relates to biodiesel. Bio diesel is carbon neutral (which is
a good term for all you CO2 kooks in the worls).
Plant consumes sunlight and CO2 > plant grows > plant releases O2 >
hydrocarbons from plant are converted to diesel > diesel engine burns
biodiesel and releases CO2.
Seems pretty stable to me.
If that is what you believe I suggest you do a search of the much higher CO2
and oxygen levels during the 160,000,000 years the dinosaurs roamed the
earth to increase your knowledge on the subject of CO2 and the much greater
plant growth and the resulting greater oxygen production. ;)
Lots of algae species grow in seawater. Witness these:
These are just a few of the over thousand hits looking at "Algae
blooms off coasts".
I say, "Let's start to kill two birds with one stone and make a
harvest out of algae blooms". Tidel ponds could be made to draw the
stuff in, runoff to fertilize/feed the ponds, and the algae's killed
when we harvest the oil and ferment the cellulose. When the pond is
"spent", lower the gate and drain and refill during a tide cycle.
Florida's hot and humid, it can grow algae all year round, with
seawater. Most gulf states could make a current problem a natural
What make you believe the environuts would make that distinction? They
will tell you loss of sea water will reduce the amount of fresh water. What
makes you believe the environuts would ever let us build the facilities?
In addition what makes you believe we could possibly produce enough bio-fuel
to replace the amount of diesel fuel we consume or the 400,000,000 gallons
of gasoline that are consumed in the US every day? ;)
I think we need more to organize cities for public transport and
In general utilize energy better.
Oil is too slippery and costly.
I am not sure the long term trend that is needed has been set in
motion in the US yet.
There ar ehints that china, india and other big countries that were
subsidising oil will decrease their subsidies.
That would also help the long term trend.
The US should go in more for alternatives and not least more nuclear.
That would be nice, but next to impossible in many countries.
For example the cities are often built up around (a) shipping of goods and
(b) cheap available land.
For example, you'll have City X built next to a port or a river and then the
spread in a general direction based on individual purchases of land for
development. Since no government - except for the USSR - can really
dictate where things need to be built, you won't get the efficiencies you
As for the USSR, we can see where that government is today.
You are right, but keep in mind the NIMBY factor. No one wants a nuclear
reactor built nearby. Nevermind that they are the safest form of cheap
energy we have that has the least environmental impact - no one wants to
have Three Mile Island in their community. (Keep in mind that Three Mile
Island actually wasn't a disaster - the structure did its job and kept the
melting reactor from spewing all over the landscape.)
In any case, Ex-Governor bush is moving a bit towards resuming nuclear power
and I have also written my congressman and senators on the subject.
All major cities were originally built around waterways.
Then came airports and trainstops and crossings.
Later the automobile would try to rearrange the options for a decade.
In many places it has changed the way cities grew.
There is no central decision but a lot of individual choices and it
all depends on the options available.
Governments and major players can assist in the making of
It is not possible to stand against the tide and force people into
If one transport option becomes too costly everyone will slowly adapt
The cars and trucks have utilized the fact that roads have been built
and oil has been cheap.
Now that oil is no longer cheap and probably never will be again then
older forms of transport will be coming into favor again.
This only happens very slowly.
Governments can put on taxes to assist in making some options more
favorable than others.
It would be good if they have good visions.
USSR was famous for making silly decisions so now there is no USSR
There are other dictatorships around showing us how not to do things.
There are also a heard of silly politicians making silly decisions.
One of the most stupid people around is in Zimbabve but some others
equally silly are closer to you wherever you are.
It is only a question of not being able to have too much power in one
pair of silly hands.
Whatever happens I bet that next year will see positive changes.
While everyone seems to believe we need to pursue alternatives, me thinks
the Presidents announcement to lift the Executive Branch ban on offshore
drilling had a lot to do with the price drop, since it started to drop the
very next day.
Now if we can lonely get the Dims leadership in Congress to allow a vote by
the Members we will see it drop even more. "We can't drill our way out" is
BS. If we have more of our own oil we still not need to buy as much form
those that want to control the price. Apparently there are more than
enough votes to lift the ban, according to published reports.
It is an interesting study. As soon as Congress passes an antitrading bill
for oil, the
price starts to fall a bit.
Have we unnerved the traders? Maybe, a bit, but dont worry...they will be
full force most likely.
Boone Pickens testimony before the Senate was interesting. He said, among
things, that we are moving away from a petroleum fueled era and we need a
bridge to get
us to the next state of renewable energy. Like it or not, he is probably
Pickens envisions our over supply of NG as the answer to our effort to get
off IMPORTED oil. What till he tries to build the thousand of miles of new
NG lines. The environuts and the NIMBY nuts will kill that idea. If you
doubt that look at what is happening in the effort to build new electric
high voltage lines that we need. The reason we are burning off BILLIONS of
cubic feet of NG every year at the wells and the refineries is BECAUSE we do
not have the lines to distribute the NG.
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