Sunday, June 29, 2008

BYBS: The Aquatic Species Program

According to the US Dept of Energy, it's possible to grow fuel like farmers grow rice.

From the late 70's to mid 90's, a study called "The Aquatic Species Program" was conducted to investigate and optimize growing fuels. The outcome was that you could use algae and ponds to grow all the fuel you need.

The basic problem with the approach was that, at the time, it was twice as expensive as buying oil. Now mind you, this was back in the mid 90's - ten plus years ago. As the report noted, the price of oil had been decreasing for the last 20 years. Now that we are in the first decade of 2000, with the economies of China and India heating up, it looks like the price for oil is going to be increasing for the foreseeable future.

The good news is that this will reduce, though not eliminate, the problem of global warming from greenhouse gasses. Furthermore, it can be hoped that some of the poorer countries of the world now have something that they can trade with the richer countries - biofuel. The kinds of "farms" that the DOE came up with are what amount to great big rice paddies.

What's more, these farms do not need pure or even fresh water. Indeed, one of the potential applications for this approach was water treatment, since at the time of the report, it did not look like the fuel aspect was going to pan out.

The various countries that have large oil resources from fossil fuels can be balanced by countries that have large agricultural spaces. If the oil countries cut production, the agricultural countries can increase production.


SandyCarlson said...

I love it. The government presents us with either-or options and you remind us that there are oh so many more possibilities. What a nifty idea this is.

CyberCelt said...

Oil no more. War no more. Bush no more. Onward and upwards. Have a great weak.

Kuanyin said...

Great post! Biodiesel has some drawbacks, and this is a complicated subject. I'd like to see more alternative options too. Happy BYB Sunday!

stev said...

at interesting look at alternatives

thanks for bringing about awareness thru this week's byb!