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Algae Neutral

Algae Neutral

Obama on our energy future:

“We’re making new investments in the development of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel that’s actually made from a plant-like substance, algae — you’ve got a bunch of algae out here,” Obama said at the University of Miami today. “If we can figure out how to make energy out of that, we’ll be doing alright. Believe it or not, we could replace up to 17 percent of the oil we import for transportation with this fuel that we can grow right here in America.”

I’m confused, do we inflate the tires first, or grow the algae?  I’ve got it, maybe we can use algae to make tires which then will be inflated to save algae.

Being algae neutral is the ultimate solution to our pressing energy problem.

From Vicki McKenna:


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.



NC Mountain Girl | February 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Our president has pond scum on his brain. Who would have suspected that?

Our Chief Moonpony Engineer also sagely advised us to “tune our cars”.

This revealed he never tuned a car in his life. Modern cars, controlled by computers, are SELDOM “tuned”…some of them never if they are working properly.

I have no trouble with the “pond-scum” plan…if it uses market investment and produces a not-harmful fuel (contra ethanol).

    How is ethanol harmful?

      Ragspierre in reply to Steve. | February 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      Well, several ways, Steve. When first introduced as an American motor fuel, it damaged fuel systems.

      When made from food and forage crops, it was in direct competition with people, who would normally consume those crops and/or the animals fed them. This drove up the cost of food world-wide, impacting some of the people least able to adapt.

        Well, not entirely true. Alcohol was widely used a fuel before gasoline in ICEs. The model T for instance ran on it. Modifications were made for gasoline to use it as a fuel. older cars also had no problem using alcohol or syth gas during shortages in WWII. The problem is alleged to be drying of some synthetic rubbers/plastics and those I under stand ar neglibible.

        As far as NOx , the chemistry of combustion doesn’t involve N2 at all:C2H5OH (l) + 3 O2 (g) → 2 CO2 (g) + 3 H2O
        So any NOx is produced by pressure and temp inherent in ICE design , not the fuel. That can be somewhat alleviated by running rich compared to gasoline settings.

        These are problems of tuning and requirements matching, not of the fuel itself.

        As far as competing with people/animals thats true if allowed to consume the food base, however it ( alcohol ) can be manufactured from cast-offs from bread crusts to rotten(over-ripe ) fruit. Enzymes are now available to convert cellulose to ethanol rather than methanol ( not sure why we would care , for fuel same diff). Ethanol can also be manufactured from biomass waste combustion by capturing and converting produced sythgas ( which itself is a viable if unweildly fuel). So competition with food sources is a minor regulating issue.

        Legalize home distilling, and I think lots of people would be independent , and perhaps some cottage industry fuel producers would spring up. Entry as a fual would depend on costs of raw materials , I think I could whip up some for ~3.80/gal with an initial investment gallon equivalent to 100 gallons; All that’s stopping me at the moment is legality.

          dmacleo in reply to Steve. | February 24, 2012 at 3:22 pm

          yup can run richer to overcome that, thereby using slightly more fuel. its not efficient.

          Jack Long in reply to Steve. | February 24, 2012 at 11:18 pm

          3 H2O

          A year or so ago Germany introduced 10% ethanol fuel and all hell broke loose.

          The factor that came to the surface in most of the reports I read was increased water content inside the engine due to increased ethanol content.

          This required more frequent oil changes (a 6-cyl engine = c. $250 per oil change!):

          Diese müssten die häufigeren Ölwechsel nämlich bezahlen. Für einen Sechszylinder bedeutet dies zum Beispiel laut der Zeitung jedesmal Kosten von gut 200 Euro“.

          (They [car owners] are the ones who have to pay for the more frequent oil changes. For a 6 cylinder, for example, this means costs of around 200 Euros each time, according to the newspaper.)

          This article definitively claims that the higher ethanol content attacks aluminum fuel lines.

          Also, from the link directly above, short distances in winter are the worst. Namely, not enough heat is produced to evaporate the extra water. This could lead to frozen oil pumps.

          I’m not sure how this relates to your position. I wanted to offer the links in order to describe the problems Germany has had with biofuel.

          This was a hot political issue here. The government was criticized for not adequately researching the ramifications before going online with 10% ethanol fuel

          Steve in reply to Steve. | February 25, 2012 at 12:33 am

          3H2O is a combustion product not contents of the tank. It is true that Alcohol is Hygroscopic when it is anhydrous, I wouldn’t expect that to be an issue though since it would lower the freezing temp of the solution, and still burn, 190 proof liquor is usable as fuel and is about as pure as you can go without becoming anhydrous. Pure Alcohol left alone will come down to about this level by absorbing atmospheric solution, but 97% alcohol is a stable solution and is still quite usable as fuel. In fact one way to remove water from a tank ( ie as from flooding) is to add anhydrous ethanol to provide a burnable solution of water/fuel and alcohol. In this case it acts like a soap and allows water and oil to mix without forming a frothing emulsion.

          Following up on dmacleo’s info the issue may be confusion about ‘alcohol’ a confabulation of methanol and ethanol has occurred.(This why we care about methanol vs ethanol).

          Methanol *is* corrosive to Aluminum and its salts are soluable in methanol resulting in removal of the passivation barrier:
          6 CH3OH + Al2O3 → 2 Al(OCH3)3 + 3 H2O
          This same action takes place on rubber and some plastics.

          in contrast:
          “Ethanol as a fuel reduces harmful tailpipe emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen, and other ozone-forming pollutants”
          ( slightly biased source perhaps… If you guys are interested I’ll look for more)

          Some attacks attributed to ethanol were in fact due to Hydrochlorides used as a surfactant cleaner that when left behind and contact with water form various Hydrochloric acids. These form salts soluable in water and while they persist would destry the passivation layer. This same type of attack is present with Methanol and Hydrochlorides and has a magnified effect compared to Ethanol. So Flush the systems when new or before standing with Ethanol for long periods( as in gas tank/carb/intake man). [Corrosion Resistance of Aluminium and Aluminium Alloy By Michael Schütze p277]

          Ethanol is the alcohol we drink in beer, wine, and whiskey. Methanol is either synthetic or derived from destructive distillation of cellulose ( wood/plant matter and is pretty toxic and the culprit of blinding among those who drink it).

          I defer the winter start up issues to you guys living in the Great White; 🙂 It would work fine for me here in Texas.

          Jack Long in reply to Steve. | February 25, 2012 at 5:53 am

          3H2O is a combustion product.

          Yes. That was the culprit according to a engine developer at BMW that the newspaper interviewed.

          Water condenses out of the exhaust gases and ends up in the oil. It loses viscosity sooner, thus, more frequent oil changes are required.

          „Das Wasser kondensiert aus den Verbrennungsgasen und gelangt ins Öl, das dadurch verdünnt wird und schneller altert“

          A German auto expert, also quoted in the article, claims that the E10 mixture attacks the aluminum components in newer direct injection engines. He said it could result in aluminum corrosion, then gas leaks and fires.

          „..Alu-Komponenten, die von E10 angegriffen werden. Folge: Aluminiumkorrosion. Benzin kann austreten, Brände verursachen. Betroffen sind vor allem moderne Motoren mit Direkteinspritzung.“

          Germans are REAL particular about their cars. It’s an obsession AFAIC. So any time a new technology/material is introduced it will get a full anal exam from the Auto press guys.

        I can’t comment on the German formulation, but Houston has been using E10 for years. I have not had water in my oil or seen any disintegrated fuel lines here. I have used the fuel in both carburated and injected cars and motorcycles. I’m not aware of any of my friends or family having issues related to this (condensation in oil). Perhaps its the warmer climate here?

        I wish I had a lab right now… this would be interesting to look into.

      9thDistrictNeighbor in reply to Steve. | February 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm

      From this article: “Ethanol is not environmentally safe. Oxygenates such as ethanol may reduce emissions of carbon monoxide (CO) and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs), but can also result in increased emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), a main precursor of smog pollution; and ethanol-blended gasoline can lead to increased emissions of acetaldehyde, a toxic pollutant.”

        NOx is a function of temp/compression in ICE, NOX can be reduced by running rich compared to gasoline. Burns more completely so less other materials to worry about , I’m speaking of pure ethanol or methanol here. Blends have odd properties.

      dmacleo in reply to Steve. | February 24, 2012 at 3:19 pm

      at/approaching about 85% its hell on aluminum, anodized helps but still not great.
      and at most mixtures its wasteful in cold (Maine for example) weather due to it having approx 60% btu per gallon of regular gas.

        Steve in reply to dmacleo. | February 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm

        RE Reaction with aluminium. That appears to be myth on its face. Alcohol will react with raw aluminum, but that’s true of Oxygen, Aluminum is VERY reactive. However the Oxidation product is not soluble in alcohol (or gasoline) and so quickly forms a passivation layer ( alO2, same stuff as sapphire and ruby, very hard) preventing further corrosion. This same property is why Aluminum is routinely used to store alcohols, used as lines in chemistry labs, Whiskey, ciders, beers etc in Aluminum kegs.

        It does have less energy than gasoline, but if its least cost ( as it may soon be) who cares? If it was legal to make your own, its cost becomes maintenenance time a few hours every few weeks, monetarily nearly free , esp if you grow or use waste products as feedstock.

          Ragspierre in reply to Steve. | February 24, 2012 at 4:13 pm

          I’m cool with you distilling your own fuel.


          Why in the wide-wonderful-world of sports SHOULD we consider doing that when PETROLEUM is extremely plentiful, our entire culture relies on it, and it is produced, transported, and consumed with such amazing safety?

          dmacleo in reply to Steve. | February 24, 2012 at 8:02 pm

          when its -10F and lower that btu issue really is an issue.
          when you have to burn extra gallon every morning in warmup time the cost vs effeminacy is a foolish argument.
          the reaction issue isn’t a myth, nasa was looking into decades ago too. not only is ethanol more reactive but its water absorption adds a secondary manner of corrosion.
          this is why those of us that worked in airline industry had to be careful when cleaning with alcohol. ISO wasn’t as bad, is some items it could be used to help etch the surface, but claiming its a myth is something people that don’t look deeply into it do.
          add all that to a boat operating in salt water environment and its often about 15% higher failure rate than boats in fresh water only.
          ethanol always has been someones wet dream thrust upon us. I just love power loss, efficiency loss, longer warmup times in cold here all cause of someones idiocy.

          dmacleo in reply to Steve. | February 24, 2012 at 8:04 pm

          when its -10F and lower that btu issue really is an issue.
          when you have to burn extra gallon every morning in warmup time the cost vs efficiency is a foolish argument.
          the reaction issue isn’t a myth, nasa was looking into decades ago too. not only is ethanol more reactive but its water absorption adds a secondary manner of corrosion.
          this is why those of us that worked in airline industry had to be careful when cleaning with alcohol. ISO wasn’t as bad, is some items it could be used to help etch the surface, but claiming its a myth is something people that don’t look deeply into it do.
          add all that to a boat operating in salt water environment and its often about 15% higher failure rate than boats in fresh water only.
          ethanol always has been someones wet dream thrust upon us. I just love power loss, efficiency loss, longer warmup times in cold here all cause of someones idiocy.

9thDistrictNeighbor | February 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Typo, Professor, although I think I like it just the way it is. “Being algae ‘neurtal’…” There’s something quite neurt about looking to algae–neurosis? not enough neurons firing?

I’m more distressed by the fact that our president had to describe that algae is a “plant-like substance” to a university audience.

Breaking News: Chevrolet announces production on their newest model… the Chevy Mold

Nobody directly challenges the president on this and a lot of other foolishness.

Our soldiers burned a few books and some barbarians rioted and killed people. Normal people would say: “Hey, stop being barbarians, stop murdering people!” Not our president; he said “Oh poor babies, we are so sorry that we burned the barbarian instruction manuals. How about some nice chicken nuggets.” This man represents the people of the United States and I hate being represented as a stupid coward. Why does nobody challenge this charlatan on such foolish behavior?

Now algae! Why should we expect anything better from algae than from switch grass or cellulose sourced alcohol? And he was talking to college students! These kids are not just math and science challenged. They are judgement challenged.

i have driven diesels for years on used fryer grease. you can burn most anything in the older diesels. you can get 50 mpg out of vw rabbits and other 4 cyl diesels. i have never understood why diesels cars are not more popular in the usa. prob because those clunkers gm put out in the early 80s. more than half the vehicles in europe are diesels according to the wsj.

i have read about algae fuel. some species are composed up to 50 percent oil. it can be grown in non farmland. the yield per acre is incredible when compared to soybeans and the like. all algae needs to grow is sun co2 and water. some companies grow it vertically in a closed system. it is a remarkable source of fuel and should not be scoffed at even though obama touts it.

    Ragspierre in reply to javau. | February 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    This needs to be kept quiet.

    I have an ex-wife who would happily have me rendered for pond-scum diesel.

    Seriously, though…the Japanese make excellent diesel compact trucks, and have for decades. We can’t get them here.

      i heard on radio show that ford has 60 mpg diesel it sells in europe but cant sell here. as i recall the guy said that us fiddled with the standards so that it would barely flunk. i do not understand why enviros arent hollering for more diesels they are more efficient and so called pollute less. a vw diesel wins green car of the year every year. i like them because theyrecheap to operate. a marriage made in heaven.

        Ragspierre in reply to javau. | February 24, 2012 at 2:58 pm

        I have a 83 Mercedes 350 SD that still gets 30mpg, has about 1/4 million miles on the engine, and is remarkably heavy.

        That was PRE-computer controls, too. All modern diesel heavy truck engines are computer controlled, and VASTLY better than the mechanical fuel systems.

    dorsaighost in reply to javau. | February 24, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    I scoff at the idea that we could replace 17% of imported oil with algae oil …
    any idea of the square miles of ponds that it would take to cover that 17% ?

    from wiki : average gallons per acre per year for algae – 12,000 (5k – 20k)

    that equals .59 barrels per day per acre

    we import about 12 million barrels of oil a day

    17% of that is 2 million barrels per day

    2 million divided by .59 equals 3.4 million acres

    3.4 million acres equals 5,400 square miles

    bigger than Conn., Delaware or Rhode Island

    all covered in fresh water which has to be diverted from the water supply … all of which would require a huge number of trucks to move to refineries to process into gasoline …

    this is not to mention that in the winter or bad weather nothing gets produced (like wind and solar) …

    sure, as a niche science experiment it can produce oil … and when peak oil hits your great, great grandchildren may use it … in a recession today to spend significant taxpayer money on this is simply ignorant …

    dmacleo in reply to javau. | February 24, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    diesels are good, and algae supplements them.
    would like to see more of them myself.
    the older gm glow plug setups hurt them for sure.

Where can I buy some pond-scum credits, I want to trade them for a new President.

If we can figure out how to make energy out of that… replace up to 17 percent of the oil we import for transportation…

Excellent juxtaposition with the Gingrich message. Obama wants to throw research dollars to cronies for a big maybe to maybe one day replace less than one-fifth of oil used for transportation (that doesn’t include other uses.)

I hate him, I hate him, I hate him so…

I think hot air should be included in barry’s “energy” plan as well, we should a-ok then, considering what comes out of this idiot’s mouth.

Washington Examiner, Beltway Confidential, alternate headline:

“Obama: Use algae as substitute for Solyndra.”

LukeHandCool (who is jumping on this slimy bandwagon with the first prototype protozoan pious prius people mover. And who, had he only known as a nervous, obsessive-compulsive hand-washing young boy whose job it was to clean the pool weekly, that one day all that green slime he had to skim, brush, and vaccuum from the backyard pool would one day be worth a fortune and capable of powering the world’s economies for centuries … he would have foregone his allowance).

Another Green energy scam? Isn’t anyone in congress going to force Obama’s friends to present their ideas and data for scientific review before Obama is allowed to sink more billions (we don’t have) into another crony scam/money laundering scheme?

We have now passed Greece in debt.


Obviously code. Alge = Al Gore = Al G. = Global Warming = No Oil = Alge.

Hopefully, with the Professor’s permission. Alternate Legal Insurrection Song of the Day:

“Amoeba” by The Adolescents

“Amoeba … amoeba … amoeba … amoeba !!!

We are the scientists in the lab
Looking through a microscope
Those little glass slides they never lie
How can this small mind cope?

I’ve never seen anything like it before
This amoeba’s got a mind of it’s own
But don’t turn your back you stupid science world
This is reaching for the telephone

A one celled creature a one celled thing
It hardly knows it’s alive
You’re better off dead if you only knew
Your growing life is taking a dive

I’ve never seen anything like it before
This amoeba’s got a mind of it’s own
But don’t turn your back you stupid science world
This is reaching for the telephone”

Adolescents saw this all coming 30 years ago. Where was everybody else?

I think Krauthammer said it about right (see real clear politics):

I think he’s on to something here that is truly revolutionary. Why would you build a pipeline, the Keystone pipeline with real oil from Canada to put in real refineries and put in real existing cars when you can do algae? I think he is on to something. And I think this shows the vision, the hope and change he promised in 2008.”


Waste vegetable oil diesel represents an interesting method of recycle/reuse. It started out “free”…

The politicians paid farmers to waste food corn on alcohol production. It didn’t take much calculating to realize that we just can’t grow enough. These calculations were made before the first corruption dollar was ever spent. But let’s face it, the corruption money was not spent to promote sustainable fuels.

Vegetable oil diesel also comes from farm production. The “we just can’t grow enough” problem persists.

I love the whizzy techy stuff and I would love to play with this stuff. But I should not be paid to do it just because I want to have fun. The right way is to let the market work it out by finding a winner with private money.

Is our president selling snake oil as a clean burning fuel? No, he is confiscating our taxes to buy votes.

So we should grow and kill plants for energy instead of using long dead plants for energy?

What a moron. This is the line that got me: “Anyone who tells you we can drill our way out of this problem doesn’t know what they’re talking about..” Really?
Why in the world are we letting the democrats from the 1970’s onward stop us from using our own oil? I think the democrats make us look greedy and imperialistic by buying up everyone else oil instead of using our own vast amounts of oil.

I always considered solar energy to be way, way too yellow to be green.

Admittedly, at times it’s been a costly trial-and-completely-error process.

But I, for one, welcome our president’s getting the color correct in this search for the fountain of energy youth.

LukeHandCool (who wonders in these exciting sputnik energy times … can toenail fungus be far behind? maybe the answer has been growing between our toes all along).

I just want all of the “pond scum” out of the White House.

With the right leadership, we could be energy independent within ten years.

With the current leadership, we’ll be dependent forever.

Priority #1 must be the serving of eviction papers in November for the current apologist/liar/pieinthesky-in-chief. Be sure to include Mooch in that order.

    Hope Change in reply to GrumpyOne. | February 24, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    GrumpyOne, Exxxcellent point! And maybe even sooner?


    So wouldn’t the USA be energy independent before that?

    “THINGS CAN BE DRAMATICALLY BETTER, and FAST” – Newt at The Mint in Scottsdale, Arizona -WESTERN FREE PRESS – 7:48

    Newt also says that if we develop our own energy reserves, some as much as 25 times greater than the US geological survey said they were some 8 years ago, THE GOVERNMENT WILL GET royalties of $16 to $18 trillion — TRILLION — over the next generation.

    And here’s the link to the energy plan video: NEWT: 28 MINUTES -AMERICAN ENERGY, MONEY IN YOUR POCKET

      Hope Change in reply to Hope Change. | February 24, 2012 at 6:11 pm

      That link doesn’t look like it’s working. here it is again:

      “THINGS CAN BE DRAMATICALLY BETTER, and FAST” – Newt at The Mint in Scottsdale, Arizona -WESTERN FREE PRESS – 7:48

      here’s a sort of loose, partial transcript:

NEWT SAYS: When you have a Left-wing incompetent in the White House, things don’t work. But we can EASILY make the economy work. EASILY. Dramatic tax cuts. We’ve created 16 million jobs. In the 90′s we created 11 million jobs in four years. YOU CAN HAVE A GOOD JOB. Personal Social Security for young people. YOU WILL OWN THIS MONEY. STARTING FROM YOUR FIRST DAY AT WORK. It will be a small fortune compared to old Social Security, and YOU WILL OWN IT. We will have so much savings and wealth that China will come to us for money. WE’RE GOING TO HAVE AMERICAN ENERGY: we will create a million new jobs, keep $500 billion at home, SAY YES to the Keystone Pipeline — THE GOVERNMENT WILL GET royalties of $16 to $18 trillion — that’s TRILLION, over the next generation, which is equal to the national debt. THE UNITED STATES WILL BECOME THE LARGEST OIL PRODUCER IN THE WORLD by the end of the next decade. We can say to those in the Middle East, stop sponsoring terror. Gasoline will stabilize between $2 to $2.59 a gallon. Drill here, drill now, pay less. If you work, you earn, you get to spend your own money as you see fit.

Either team Obama are clueless re: energy scale, or they assume that their parishioners are stupid. Probably a bit of both.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | February 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Using algae as fuel is not a new idea. Exxon, Shell, and BP all have announced investments amounting to hundreds of millions each in in algae related R&D projects. Also, after the dotcom bubble burst about a decade ago, venture capitalists up and down Sand Hill Road in Palo Alto shifted much of their focus to alternative energy away from information technology. Vinod Kholsa, who made billions in technology venture capital while at Kleiner Perkins, was probably the most high profile venture capitalist backing alternative energy (often appearing with algore promoting global warming fear mongering). He has concluded it will be decades before algae is an economically viable alternative fuel.

My question is, with the private energy industry dumping billions into alternatives, and venture capitalists dumping many millions more into alternatives, doesn’t that demonstrate the market is exploring for options? So why do government bureaucrats think they are better energy investors than the energy industry itself and venture capitalists?

Hint: My guess is that when bloggers and journalists dig into the government’s algae investments that Obama was bragging about, we’re going to find highly connected Democrat big wigs who not only invested in algae, but invested heavily in getting Obama elected. Crony capitalism.

Here’s Vinod Kholsa in 2010 throwing algae under the bus as an alternative and calls Exxon’s $600 million investment in algae development a pipe dream:

Here’s an article pumping the fact that a jet flew between Houston and Chicago using algae as a novelty additive to the jet fuel. Presumably to generate publicity and buzz for the alternative energy lobby:

    My guess is that when bloggers and journalists dig into the government’s algae investments that Obama was bragging about, we’re going to find highly connected Democrat big wigs who not only invested in algae, but invested heavily in getting Obama elected. Crony capitalism.

    Another racist hater… (sarc off)

Tim Geithner says on CNBC that the rich need to pay more in taxes because that is a “Privilege Of Being An American”

Under Secretary Chu, I have been able to detect an energy plan as follows:
1) Paint your roof white
2) Stop using so much oil
3) Inflate tires (as referenced by the prof)
4) Grow algae

“The American public…just like your teenage kids, aren’t acting in a way that they should act. The American public has to really understand in their core how important this issue is.” – Secretary Chu


Algae? Really? Why don’t you stick to constitutional law? Oh, I forgot, you don’t know dick about that, either.

I would give a million dollars to see Sacha Baron Cohen as a press reporter asking an unwitting President Obama if global warming won’t cause algal blooms leading to runaway inflationary energy costs.

Gee, these liberals sure are cutting edge with their ultra-modern alternative energy plans.

Biofuel – Prehistoric (whale, seal, and other blubber oil)

Solar – Prehistoric (sun>grain>livestock>food&transpo)

Geothermal – Prehistoric (hot springs, lava as fire source)

Wind energy – 500 AD, Persian windmills

Water turbine – 800 BC, Greek inland waterwheels

Tidal – 900 BC, Greek waterwheels placed in tidal waters


What works: hydroelectric, hydrocarbons (fossil fuels: oil & gas), nuclear.

What liberals fight against no matter what: See ‘What works’ above.

    Ragspierre in reply to Henry Hawkins. | February 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    One of my favorite things to note about Rockefeller and his brilliant management of Standard Oil was that he was responsible for the demise of BIG WHALE. People switched to the MUCH cheaper, high quality kerosene Rockefeller offered, making lighting available to people who could not afford whale oil for lamps, and VASTLY reducing demand for whaling.

    And now, we are being pushed into darker, colder, shorter, less traveled, more ignorant lives by the forces of witch-doctor level “progressives”.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Ragspierre. | February 24, 2012 at 10:38 pm

      Obama’s in good company. The idea of using algae as a biofuel was first funded by no less than America’s greatest president Jimmy Carter. (His administration funded the first research in 1978. 33 yrs later algae as biofuel is an idea still in developmental nascency).

Hartmut Michel from the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics has an editorial (open access!) in Angewandte Chemie with a title that makes his views clear: “The Nonsense of Biofuels (pdf)“. He essentially comes down hard on biofuel proponents of all stripes and not just the much hyped ethanol-from-corn lobby. Michel won the Nobel Prize for cracking open the structure of one of earth’s most important proteins – the photosynthetic reaction center – so he certainly knows his photosynthesis.

“Because of the low photosynthetic efficiency and the competition of energy plants with food plants for agricultural land, we should not grow plants for biofuel production. The growth of such energy plants will undoubtedly lead to an increase in food prices, which will predominantly hit poorer people.”

    Steve in reply to Neo. | February 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    I recall Castro writing a similar on-point objection to food crops being used directly. However ,what about all the wasted tonnage, stalk, root, other unused or unsaleble portions of produce? Those can be used toproduce methanol or ethanol without impact on food production. It could perhaps lower prices since crops would partially pay for their transport with previously unused/underutilized by products of the crop itself. It seems like that is a State level regulation/trade rule issue.

      Valerie in reply to Steve. | February 25, 2012 at 10:59 am

      This is a chemical issue, and a biological one. They’d better tread lightly on the solution, too.

      I submit that developing a method of rapidly digesting cellulose is entirely possible and has the potential for mischief, given the likely route of development. Bacteria that digest cellulose and that might yield useful products already exist, and could be cultivated and modified. If that happens, they will escape confinement eventually.

      The question then becomes, who would want a bug that rots paper and cotton running loose in our world? Envision MRSA for paper and clothing. This is a phenomenally bad idea.

On a happier note, between Obama, Biden, and Clinton, we have sufficiently big mouths with which to sift the algae from the fruitful waters, a la whales and plankton.

Trisodium phosphate (TSP) in our detergent apparently causes out-of-control, monster algae growth in the riverways…but that’s been banned, of course.

Bring back TSP, for the children! And the clean dishes! Or, you know, purchase some up at your local hardware store and add it in to your detergent yourself — why, now it’s the patriotic thing to do!

(Re TSP) Yeah, I know: it’s not just any algae that will do. But the President apparently doesn’t know that.

Now Obama is blaming the Koch Brothers for high gas prices….with a dig at the Tea Party too:


HERE is the truth about our energy reserves – this is what Obama is trying to avoid:

Soylent Green is people!

    Well played sir! 😛

    LukeHandCool in reply to IrateNate. | February 25, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Soylent Green is good eatin’. All natural, too.

    Former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, who is 94, smokes cigarettes, cigars, and a pipe, as well as chews tobacco and uses snuff. And he’s 94!!

    I’m going to start snorting algae, as well as use an algae IV drip while I’m asleep. When I’m as blue-green as a character in Avatar, I’ll know I’ve had my minimum daily requirement.

    Schmidt’s father was Jewish, which was unknown publicly until the late 1980s. So, how’s this for irony:

    “Schmidt explained that he and his father agreed to falsify their identity papers during the war, when Helmut was in the army.

    In 1981 Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin stirred a fracas by accusing Schmidt of “unbridled greed and avarice” in World War II for serving in Adolf Hitler’s army. In 1982, Begin demanded that Schmidt “go down on his knees” to ask forgiveness for German war crimes.”

    Schmidt is still smoking. Get this:

    “Schmidt (as was his late wife) is a smoker. He is well known for lighting up cigarettes on TV interviews and talkshows. In January 2008, German police launched an enquiry after Schmidt was reported by an anti-smoking initiative for defying the recently introduced smoking ban. The initiative claimed that Helmut Schmidt had been flagrantly ignoring laws “for decades.” Despite pictures in the press, the case was subsequently dropped after the public prosecution service decided that Schmidt’s actions had not been a threat to public health.”

    Life and people are fascinating for both good and bad reasons.

    LukeHandCool (who has a few cigarettes a month … once in a while in the morning with his coffee out on the porch … but who will now counter any ill effect with an extra dose of algae)

Newt will be giving his speech in California today that rips Obama’s “Algae a.k.a. pond-scum” energy speech apart. I know it starts at 12:00 Noon Pacific Time – does anyone have a link where it will be streamed live?

I think we should stop calling it “coal, oil and natural gas” and refer to it as “predigested biomass” because that’s what it all is.

In order to substitute algae for any of the above fuels, we first have to learn how digest something: either the food product for the algae or the algae itself. We don’t yet know how to do that efficiently. However, this process occurs naturally, and our country is situated over what used to be an inland sea: a vast deposit of predigested biomass that yields exactly the end products we need for energy: coal, oil and natural gas.

It appears to me that this administration does not have access to a single chemist.

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