Mailbag: Algae News Thanks to Geo. McCalip

In an email message titled “watch the two videos,” Geo. McCalip wrote:

“The Algae Bioreactor Video and the HDVG Video are about 2/3 of the way down the page.”

http://www.valcent.net/s/Home.asp

This Google Video of a 22 minute Bloomberg interview with the Valcent founder back in June might be more accessible to various media players.

The vertical growth bioreactors remind me of the algae driven “biocoil” oxygen generator built by students for an Australian aquanaut who lived underwater in the fairly famous BioSub project.

While we’re on the subject of algae, or more accurately, microbe based biofuel, I got several links in my Google Alert inbox about an Amyris pilot plant going online. Here’s a blog post at EcoGeek about it.

Back on September 30, 2005, I started a long thread at the LeftLibertarian YahooGroup with a post titled “Peak Oil v. Algae.” An article by Michael S. Briggs of UNH really hit me in the face. He responded to what I wrote or else I quoted his response to me in follow up postings in that thread. Part of it was to say he wasn’t using ponds any more, but couldn’t talk about the replacement. (Now I’m guessing it was some kind of bioreactor).

Here’s what I wrote back then (eh, go quote yourself, buddy! I’m not your buddy, friend. . .) :

“Regarding all the “peak oil” Malthusian pessimism in the press these days, I found a physics professor online who did the math and arrived at a techno-optimist replacement solution, by my reckoning.”

http://www.unh.edu/p2/biodiesel/article_alge.html

“Replacing all transportation fuels (switching everything to diesel, using algae grown in the U.S.) would not displace food crop or grazing acreage, could be done in 12.5% of land in the Sonora desert alone (but of course should be split up and located at various U.S. sites),
and would cost a total of $46.2 billion per year compared to the $100 to $150 billion per year just for foreign oil imports (at mid-2004 prices!). Not quite the end of the world.”

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