Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Slimy, green and good for you

The online newsletter RenewableEnergyWorld has a nice overview of efforts to turn that slimy green stuff that grows on the sides of your pool into transportation fuels for everything from trucks to jets.

It addresses the methods to grow algae, harvest its oil for refining and what to do with what's left, the ever confusing "co-products." I started hearing that term when interviewing people about ethanol. "Don't call it byproduct, it's a co-product," they all said. That seems a lot like the military insisting Iraq is in Southwest Asia, not the Middle East.

Regardless, the article says 30 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas production comes from people trying to get from one place to another so new fuels could help cut production.

It also says algae produce 100 times the oil soybeans, the current choice to make biodiesel, can. Also, growing algae only takes sun, water and carbon dioxide. That doesn't sound as fun as driving a big ol' tractor all day, but if it works...

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