Gas costs will only continue to head north for quite a few years to come making renewable energy all the more important for meeting our future energy demands. Our need for fossil fuel derived electricity has come at great expense to our ecosystem. Thankfully scientists are working on alternative fuel sources which will be practical to implement and better for our environment. Though it may well not obtain the same media attention as other renewable power sources algae is a surprising possible fuel source that is showing excellent promise in the lab. Algae grow naturally worldwide in just about infinite quantities.
Algae an efficient way to generate biodiesel. Biodiesel can replace fossil fuels in any process that burns fuels to create energy such as electrical energy generators. There are a great number of benefits of algae over oil. Algae is infinitely renewable. Petroleum is running out and will not be replaced. Algae calls for very little to grow. Sunlight, moisture and CO2 is about all it wants. Everybody has seen pond scum. This is probably the most know algae and is also probably the most productive form for producing biofuel. Far from depleting the food supply, the parts that are not converted to biodiesel might be used for fertilizer and feedstock.
Corporations are slowly starting to get on the bandwagon in researching algae’s possible as biodiesel. A lot of the current study in the area is funded by private corporations instead of by governments or universities. Many people feel that study into algae as a source for biofuel just isn’t getting enough attention or funds. They feel that this can be a tremendous opportunity to start to break our dependence on fossil fuel power sources. However, the pace of the research is frustratingly slow. There is an underappreciated chance to eliminate fossil fuel dependence. Skeptics feel the deck may be stacked against algae; at least in the short term. There is a feeling that big oil companies have an economic incentive to realize every last bit of profit from oil even as the asset depletes.
Current shortages have driven oil prices up and continue to do so. The world’s energy needs will not go down absent some kind of global economic calamity. This means oil companies will always be able to find willing buyers for oil even as prices climb. The fossil fuel revolution has facilitated a period of unprecedented prosperity for mankind. But it has not come without a price. Certain nations through luck of geography have been endowed with vast quantities of fossil energy. This fact has been the source of much geopolitical complication for generations now. Algae theoretically can easily be grown locally and converted to electricity and fuel by any nation on earth. This levels the energy playing field. Today’s model of extracting fuel from one place in the globe and shipping it thousands of miles across oceans could be transformed to one of local production of algae to produce electricity and transportation fuel. This would mean more jobs in places where economic opportunity may be lacking today.
If scientists are able to transition the technology of algae to biofuel from the lab to full scale, real world production impact could be far-reaching.