09 October 2009

Algae In the News

A new "Algae Fuel X Prize" of $10 million has been announced in San Diego. The prize is meant to stimulate research and development of a commercially viable biofuel from algae.

NSF funding genomic research on algae. The $2 million grant to North Carolina State University is meant to assist in the genetic modification of natural algae into modified algae better suited to biofuels production.

The ambitious algal fuel plans of Sapphire Energy Inc. Chief Executive Jason Pyle. With such highly determined executives behind the algal fuels movement, never count them out.

Some people are foolish enough to believe that algae is all about "climate change" and reducing CO2 footprints. No. Algae is about producing liquid fuels cheaply, plentifully, and sustainably into the indefinite future. False fantasies of carbon catastrophe have always been an expensive distraction from the real problems we face.

Mother Jones wants you to disregard algal fuels. She wants that very badly. Of course, she has never really been a good mother, so it is doubtful that she has your best interests at heart.

Big oil, big chemistry, and big-big are all investing in algal fuels. What do they know that the skanks at Mother Jones don't?
Investments in algae-based biofuels, on the other hand, are booming. Corporations like ExxonMobil and Dow Chemical are partnering with biofuel companies on algae projects, and one company, Solazyme, will soon begin producing commercial quantities of algal fuel for the U.S. Navy. Algae’s photosynthetic cells produce an oily goo, including various oils and ethanol, that can be converted into advanced biofuels…. Algae have several key traits that make them a desirable energy source. They can be grown on non-agricultural land in a fraction of the area required by conventional oil crops such as maize (corn), soybean and palm. In addition, algae capture carbon dioxide and can thrive in domestic waste water or salt water [Nature News]. The big hurdle companies now face is scaling up their operations, and finding out whether processes that work in the lab also function on massive, commercial level. _Discover
Cross posted at Al Fin Energy

"Algal biofuels" is an energy revolution in the making. There are a lot of problems going from any idea to its successful consummation. The same will obviously be true for algal fuels.

The $10 million "X Prize" will help, but if you know that Exxon Mobil is already investing up to $600 million in the game, you will begin to comprehend the true size of the prize.


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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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