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Saturday, 31 May 2008

More good news about slime

I am frequently critical of "biofuels" technology because of issues like poor (or negative) payback in energy terms and the competition for food production and so on. Once or twice I have mentioned algae as a possible alternative "crop" which may be able to capture solar energy in a chemical form that's suitable for production of liquid fuels. Well, the prospects for a bright slimy green future just got better.

A mob in the US has announced that they have developed a process for producing gasoline from algae, using wastewater to support the algal growth. The key breakthrough is that the fuel they're making is chemically identical to the stuff that we put in our cars today rather than "biodiesel": this makes it a potential direct substitute fuel requiring no change to existing fuel processing and handling systems and no change to our engines.

Of course I'm still going to advocate radical efficiency improvements a la Amory Lovins, but if this technology turns out to be viable and scalable without significant drawbacks then it's going to make a huge difference.

Read more via this link.

About time I could tag a post with "hopes".

1 comment:

Crazy Mumma said...

Wow, what an interesting read, thanks for the link Terry. Lots of potential, but I wonder if the practicalities will see it get off the ground?