Pond scum finally gets some respect - as oil resource

  • Article by: NEAL ST. ANTHONY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 17, 2009 - 9:45 AM

Big Oil is investing in algae as a promising alternative. Will the Midwest play a role? The ante was raised this week.

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iluvminnJul. 17, 09 3:48 AM

The Bali climate summit promoted this some years ago. There is an Asian consortium and Hawaii has a big oil sponsored effort. In technical terms, it is a new vector, reaching into both the atmosphere and ocean depths for resources. The earth's land surface is pretty tapped out.

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algaepreneurJul. 17, 09 8:26 AM

Algae is renewable, does not affect the food channel and consumes CO2. To learn more about the fast-track algae industry, you may want to check out this website: www.nationalalgaeassociation. They are the first algae trade association in the U.S.

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fish60Jul. 17, 09 9:12 AM

Cattails produce a huge amount of sugar per acre and can be used to clean wastewater. They're also easier to produce and process than algae. Algal cells blow in the wind so it's nearly impossible to maintain a "pure" population outdoors. Once the pond is contaminated with other algal species it becomes very very difficult to maintain the population of preferred species.

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ttaylor0711Jul. 17, 0911:17 AM

I would recommend the Algal Biomass Organization rather than the NAA. www.algalbiomass.org. The ABO has Boeing, Sapphire, Synthetic Genomics (of the Exxon deal) and a great many other key algae players. Regardless, getting involved in an industry group is a good idea.

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bkjcjrJul. 17, 09 6:01 PM

Some of the discussion is about genetically modifying algae. Algae produces about 1/2 of the oxygen in the atmosphere. There are thousands of types that we know very little about. Genetic modification should not be emphasized for oil at the risk of oxygen.

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mdnorthJul. 17, 09 6:25 PM

Another dead end story for Minnesota. Today 7/17/09 64 degrees and cloudy outside in Minnesota where I live in the winter (I love extremes} and today in my backyard in Arizona it is sunny and 115 degrees so where will algae have the best extremely rapid growth rate be, not in Minnesota put the money somewhere else. Some species of algae are ideally suited to biodiesel production due to their high oil content and extremely rapid growth rates. Refining to start in a joint venture to construct and operate a biodiesel plant near Coolidge, Arizona. The feedstock for the refinery will be algae oil produced by algae farms to be located in Arizona.The refinery will have an annual biodiesel production capacity of 30 million gallons.

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stolamiJul. 19, 09 2:49 PM

Lots of sun and heat in Arizona, but not so much water--lots of political conflicts over it. So, sun and heat are not the only components in the successful formla.......(same thing applies to ethanol production now, whereby a major limited factor has been obtaining adequate water in Minnesota, even.) (retired environmental regulator)

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