Ditto. The potential is there. The costs still need to come down.
Re:17. On the yield potential, the back of the envelope figure that floated around a few years ago was that algae pencilled out at a potential of about 10,000 gallons an acre, compared to about 300 gallons an acre for corn ethanol. Those are old numbers; corn yields and the efficiency of ethanol conversion have increased, and I’d bet that the energy potential of the algae is increasing as well. Biotech means that nothing is static. I offer the admittedly dated figure just to suggest the order of magnitude and to indicate why so many in the research community are excited.
Algae has high potential and is scaleable. You don’t need prime farmland. And you can use a lot of water that is unfit for other purposes. If we’re serious about breaking OPEC and defunding the jihad, algae is certainly something we should be interested in. It’s not ready for prime time yet, but it’s probably closer than advanced batteries for electrics (high enough energy density for full electrics with adequate range), and much closer than fuel cells.
Fracking and expanded drilling are fine too, but they will still leave us heavily import dependent for oil (not natural gas).
I had some thoughts about how it could be done on the cheap.
To start with, shallow, accordioned canals with gas bubbling pipe under the water, covered by “self-cleaning” glass, also a new technology. Mechanical harvesters track the canals, scooping up algae and putting it in sluices between canals, so it can be concentrated.
The constant flow of water through the accordion continues until it reaches the end, where it is filtered, then sent to small evaporative cooling towers.