Skip to comments.Pond scum to the rescue?
Posted on 07/05/2008 7:54:19 AM PDT by ovrtaxt
Remember the optimist's creed, "If life gives you lemons, make them into lemonade"?
Well, ConocoPhillips and the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels are trying to do one better in a new, $5 million research partnership:
"If life gives you pond scum, turn it into alternative fuels. And while you're at it, fight global warming."
OK, trying to cram two good ideas into one slogan may make it too long for bumper stickers. But it is a classic example of the creative thinking that promises to reshape Colorado's future while creating jobs in the new energy economy.
Making fuels from pond scum isn't a new idea. Nature thought of it millions of years ago when it covered layers of algae and other organic matter with millions of tons of rock to produce today's deposits of oil and natural gas. But soaring energy prices have encouraged researchers to speed up that natural process.
Algae is very efficient at converting sunlight into oil, so much so that researchers say algae can produce more oil in an area the size of a two-car garage than an entire acre of soybeans. Best of all, in water-short regions like Colorado, algae fuels don't compete for scarce fresh water resources but can use seawater or wastewater to make biodiesel, biogasoline and other biofuels.
That means algae can be grown in areas where human food can't be grown, according to Al Weimer, executive director of the center. And how's this for a kicker: carbon dioxide from power-plant emissions can be used as a feedstock for the algae.
So instead of spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from a coal or natural-gas fired power plant, we can recycle that greenhouse gas into algae-based fuels for cars and trucks — fighting global warming and the OPEC oil cartel at one stroke.
Maybe it's time to stop using "pond scum" as an insult and start using it to save our wallets and our planet.
Renewable Energy ping!
More info here:
If there is an upside to high energy prices it is that the ingenuity of the American people gets put on display.
The thought of Arab oil billionaires being usurped by algae makes my heart proud.
I think biodiesel from algae is the most promising renewable transportation fuel, by far.
oh, nevermind I thought this was an article about how bill clinton was going to help obama win the election
I have a friend who’s thinking about acquiring a biodiesel plant- his investors were talking about importing soybeans from Argentina. Dumb dumb dumb.
I turned them on to Valcent’s system, I hope they go for it.
Agreed. Biodiesel from soybeans is far too low-yield.
Yes. Good idea, worth pursuing.
BUT. It will never amount to more than about 1% of our energy needs at best. The left wing press will continue to use ideas like this to block the serious measures we need to take to deal with the other 99% of our needs: drill, refine here in this country, dig coal, and build nuclear plants by the bushel.
Pond scum? Sure. Maybe it will fuel as many as a hundred cars in the whole state.
That’s not accurate. Granted, there are still some obstacles, but algae-derived biodiesel is the one renewable fuel idea that actually could replace all our transportation fuel, due to its high yield.
That said, we do need to develop our oil, coal and nuclear as well.
DRILL HERE ... DRILL NOW!
Can they come take it out of my pool?
It would be nice if they tore up those bike trails and put some high speed trains on them, maybe Chicago to NY, Cleveland to Columbus. etc.
Yes, we need to drill NOW!! And build Nuke power plants too!
But we need to find another means of providing power for transportation too. Pond scum may or may not be the answer, but it is an idea, and means people are thinking. Americans are the most inventive people in the world and we WILL find a way. And who knows, that farm pond in my back yard may provide enough fuel to power my Explorer!!
Actually, algae produces A LOT of oil. Way more than corn, soybeans, switchgrass, or any other biological source.
Go to the Valcent link in post 3 and watch the short video on the Vertigro system, the guy gives some staggering stats.
Having said that, yes drill like crazy, build refineries and nuke plants, and issue tax credits for investment into new energies- solar, wind, geothermal, hydro. etc etc. Throw it all out there and let the market work.
we use close to 100 billion of barrels a day so the biofuel math is fishy
Well, naturally the developers are talking it up, and maybe there’s some truth in it, although collecting all that algae and transporting it to a refinery may be harder than one would think.
I thought that 1% of our energy needs was a high figure. But even if it proves to be 2 or 3%, we still need to drill and build nuclear plants if we want to solve our problems and stop exporting billions of dollars for our enemies to use against us.
Also, we should not have to rely on foreign refineries and pay them to do work we should be doing here.
Didn't know they had seawater in Colorado...
I agree that we should let our entrepreneurs loose to follow any leads they can think of. We just should not let the leftist media persuade us that this will solve our problems in the foreseeable future.
All these things are good, but they are still marginal.
I’ve bought a wood burning stove and built a wood shed, and I’m getting a pellet burning fireplace insert, because I don’t want to pay any more for high-priced fuel oil than I have to. But I’d rather have cheap, convenient nuclear power. It would be a lot easier, and it could have been much cheaper—if the whackos hadn’t been blocking it for decades.
We should be doing whatever works best, not whatever is politically correct.