h/t Peter Sinclair (alias Greenman)
In the mid oughts, trying to answer our urgent questions in a positive manner, algae seemed like a good solution to me. People tended to dismiss it, but Exxon bought into it. After a while, I began to understand that algae has thrived in every situation, no matter how difficult. It is poised to take over. A vast ocean farm cannot be constrained; algae is already a problem in a wide variety of environments. For example, in places I used to enjoy painting, black and green have come to dominate. It’s much better poised to survive than we are.
I would love to hear an adequate answer to this. I also wonder, since algae has been demonstrated to eat toxins for breakfast, why it is not used to scrub emissions from more conventional generation.
Algae is sufficient diffuse enough as to be difficult to concentrate in a useable source of energy. So I suspect it will remain a boutique solution to energy woes.
This is true to some extent of all energy sources, even fossil fuels. People outside the fossil fuel production zones (including, until 5 years ago, myself) are unaware of the enormous geographic footprint of the conventional energy industry.
Maybe this algae technique will actually scale:
I’m not holding my bated breath.
Oh, I didn’t read carefully enough. It is a pyrolysis unit. I suppose it could process algae but obviously the idea is to use crop residues and forestry wastes.
Sounds quite reasonable – for today’s technofetishist standards. Pyrolysis is a well-tested process – alas from pre-fossil age (city gas, Neanderthal super glue), involves 150y old chemistry and had cars,trucks and locomotives running pre WWII. The feedstock is there en masse (dead trees). Too simple it seems.
The company’s idea of mobile pre-fabricated micro-refineries also seems to make too much sense energeto-economically.
Who wants sound technology PLUS sound economy? Nope, we want to suffer and feed the rich from the crumbling remains of our biosphere. And we want to have new glitzy tech toys, not that old stuff. Artificial photosynthesis rocks! We want Dyson’s diamond trees! …
I’m not holding my breath.