23 February, 2009

Here Comes The Algae Over The Hill!

Solazyme, cleverly harnessing the hidden strengths of algae to make diesel fuel.  Also note that the "reporter" actually tastes the oil - I'm told that you can actually use this oil as a food.  If they ever read about using algae to scrub smokestack exhaust and convert it to algae oil, I think they'd soon have a whole lot of power stations producing a whole lot less mess, and giving back diesel fuel instead of consuming it...

While commercialism is the focus of  most sustainable/renewable/zerocarbon power ventures that's not necessarily a drawback, as it helps spur developments like this one and bring us closer to giving Earth a chance to recover.

Here's a thought for you, green technologists out there:

Algae and bacteria are poweful allies indeed.  Between them they do the scutwork of turning all manner of toxic and waste substances into useful sources of food for some other organism.  So how about splitting up the path between garbage and your petrol tank with one or two stages of algae?  One to convert plastics to a biomass that's tailored for algae to eat, another to convert food wastes to that intermediate biomass, and so forth.  Exhaust stack wastes to intermediate biomass, old fish and chips oil to intermediate biomass.  And then you wouldn't have to tailor algae to each specific conversion, just a handful to convert anything to intermediate biomass, and then a handful to take that intermediate biomass and convert it to whatever output product you need - be it fuel oil, animal feed, or a tasty snack food.  BONUS:  More stages = more growth, means you end up with a lot more algae and output product than you put in.

Any biotechs out there want to try that?

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1 comment:

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