Sunday, October 17, 2010

algal biofuels progress?


DARPA thinks it is only a few years away from commercial algal biofuel production. Exactly how they have managed to circumvent the three obstacles to economical biofuel production; circulation of the culture, the high cost of photobioreactors and extraction of the fuel, isn't mentioned.

I really hope that this level of backing for the technology will ultimately produce a viable algal biofuel economy. Whilst private and state-funded research has produced certain leaps forward the obstacles to this paradigm-shift in hydrocarbon production away from fossil fuels still faces massive obstacles. Only through the kind of funding and resourcing available to the US military will the obstacles ever be surmounted. Ironically the same story may be about to propel micro- and meio-generation into the mainstream too. In a stroke of simply unbelievable irony, the US military recently announced its determination to deploy renewable generation technology to provide power for isolated outposts in Afghanistan.

Oh- and just in case anyone thinks I'm ranting on about something of little genuine relevance to our fantastically luxurious lifestyle, let me just quote from a recent Joint Operating Environment report produced by US Joint Forces Command:

"By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day . . . While it is difficult to predict precisely what economic, political, and strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds. Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other unresolved tensions, push fragile and failing states further down the path toward collapse, and perhaps have serious economic impact on both China and India."
Its ironic that the US military-industrial complex, that has been repsonsible for so many appalling crimes against humanity, might still produce the technological advances that could save our civilisation from collapse.

Hyperbole, moi?

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