Algae May Be The Next ‘Green’ Biofuel

1311481940 f07018efa5 300x225 Algae May Be The Next ‘Green’ Biofuel

Summer weather usually triggers a season-long battle with algae and pond scum in the waterfalls and ponds that I manage, but according to MIT, the future of green technology may be just as entangled with these easily grown plants.

Common strains of algae, including pond scum, are competing with other plants in the search for the next ‘green’ bio-fuel. Common algae outpaces the growth of other ‘green’ alternatives such as corn, but vast pools of brackish water would be needed to produce enough algae to benefit the energy market. Plans for such algae pools are being examined in several of the western states, such as New Mexico, where the dry air and sunny locations could provide an ideal environment for the growth of massive crops of the stringy stuff.

As with all crops, the potential vulnerability of algae to parasites creates unique challenges, and may require growing conditions in production that could cause prices to skyrocket and send it out of the competition. I’ll let the energy guru’s factor in the pro’s and cons of massive algae fields, but I’m crossing my fingers and hoping they will find some use for this seasonal frustration, and at least help me gain a few respect points for the plant while I’m ripping it out of my ponds!

Do you think that algae production and conversion sounds like a feasible biofuel option?

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Comments

  1. I think I read about a proposed plan to use algae to absorb waste gases like CO2 from coal power plants. The algae then grows so rapidly it can be used as a biofuel. Sound like a pretty cool idea.

  2. Amy says:

    Ethan,

    I read about that too, and I hope that in the next handful of years we see the fruition of some of these ideas. The sooner we can harness biotechnology, the better, and I have high hopes that the Obama Administration will push research in this area within their first one hundred days, and get the ball rolling!

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