Monday, August 04, 2008

Algae-based biofuel ‘beginning to look like a bargain’?

CNN has a write up on one of Pound360’s favorite biofuel alternatives: algae. This particular feature looks at harvesting oily species of algae, extracting the oil and then refining it for a pump near you.

One of the big benefits to algae-based biofuel, it doesn’t take up farmland. In other words, no one has to starve so somebody else can put gas in their car. Also, algae feed on CO2, so it could offset some tailpipe emissions. The stuff grows quick, too. An algae colony doubles in size every 24 hours.

The big problem with algae-based fuel is the cost. A 15-year study by the Energy Department concluded in 1996 found the cost was simply too prohibitive to pursue algae-based fuel. But at the time, oil was $20 a barrel. It’s five-times that now.

A 2004 study found it would cost about $308 billion to build enough algae farms to satisfy U.S. transportation fuel demands, and $46 billion to maintain them. “In the wake of the current energy crisis,” said CNN, “those numbers are beginning to look like a bargain.”

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About Me

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.