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Algae used a biofuel is inching closer to reality

As companies look for alternative fuels to help ease the world's reliance on oil, researchers and companies have created several viable alternatives.   

The aerospace industry hopes algae can be refined and used to help fuel commercial airliners and jets.  In the short term, it's likely algae would be mixed with gasoline and diesel, though it's possible algae could be used to eliminate both resources at some point.

Select Boeing aircraft will use a mix of jet fuel and fuel made from algae and jatropha seeds, Boeing said.  Continental Airlines will be the first airline company to use algae as a fuel, with Air New Zealand and others expected to begin testing algae or jatropha-based technologies.

Continental's first demonstration flight is expected to take place in Houston on Jan. 7, though the flight will not carry passengers and use a blend of jet fuel with algae and jatropha.

Even with the backing of Boeing and other aerospace giants, algae supporters must now request the federal government give them loans, research and development backing, tax breaks, and other similar perks that corn and soybean researchers are actively receiving.

"We are up against formidable opposition from competing interests," said Jason Pyle, Sapphire Energy CEO.  Sapphire Energy has created a new "green crude" gasoline that is entirely made up of algae.

Algae for use as a biofuel has been more widely researched in the past few years, and it seems like it will continue to be a popular topic.  

The Colorado Field Institute (CFI) will host a biotech meeting with Colorado State University to discuss the use of algae as a biofuel later this week.  The focus of the meeting is the use of algae biofuel in rural Colorado.

Researchers will continue to look for alternatives to gas, but even with major research breakthroughs, it's unlikely the heavy U.S. reliance on foreign oil will end any time soon.  Ethanol, a popular technology that still receives major research, caused the cost of food to soar, and much work will have to be done in order to make ethanol a more viable solution or to develop a satisfactory alternative.


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RE: This or hydrogen
By SilverShadow on 12/9/2008 7:45:38 PM , Rating: 1
Quote: "Get rid of that tube television and go LCD."

We're on 240V AC over here, don't know what sets over there are like.

Panasonic CRT TV, TC-29R20 (68CM/29")
Power Consumption: 130 Watts

Toshiba CRT TV, 3350DE (83CM/33")
Power Consumption: 140 Watts

Rowa CRT TV, RTM-804 (80CM/31")
Power Consumption: 150 Watts

Akai CRT TV, CT34X4AV (86CM/34")
Power Consumption: 180 Watts

AWA LCD TV, LTW32DS (81CM/32")
Power Consumption: 150 Watts

NEC LCD TV, NLT32XT1 (81CM/32")
Power Consumption: 170 Watts

NEC Plasma TV, PXT-42XD2 (106CM/32")
Power Consumption: 350 Watts

Panasonic CRT Rear Projection TV, TX-51P15H (129CM/51")
Power Consumption: 188 Watts

Samsung DLP/LCD Rear Projection TV, SP-46L5HX (116CM/46")
Power Consumption: 170 Watts

Sony DLP Projector, VPL-CS7
Power Consumption: 240 Watts

That seems to be the general wattage of TV's going by the sets that I've got here. I'm looking forward to good solid-state lighting, I'd imagine all those street lights that cover the place are chewing up a bit of power.


RE: This or hydrogen
By PrinceGaz on 12/9/2008 10:05:23 PM , Rating: 2
Street lights do use a lot of energy, but they use it far more efficiently than any other form of lighting in use today. The old sodium-vapour street lights with their characteristic yellow-orange light that have been around for decades are still more efficient in terms of useful light-output than the best modern LEDs and other lighting technologies. It's just a shame that they have been replaced at least locally here in Britain with more natural much fuller spectrum white lights, which might make things look better, but almost certainly use more power for a given brightness.

Solid-state lighting will no doubt be the most efficient in the long-run and may become common place for LCD TVs, though that may be superseded by OLED TVs, or just possibly SED TVs (though I think disputes over licening of SED technology may have consigned it to an early death).

Street-lighting with the ancient sodium-vapour lights is still the most efficient way of lighting a large area with electric lights today.


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