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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 Kary on 12/10/2008 5:56:32 PM , Rating: 3
Hoping people will do what you consider to be the right thing is just wishful thinking... a 60W bulb costs less than a dollar (I think, I haven't bought them in a long time) vs $2 or so for a 13W bulb. The fact the lower watt bulb pays for itself in under a year doesn't sink in for most folks.

Also, some applications might NEED incandescent lighting (though I have no idea why).

Recycle your old SUV and buy a new car....yeh, that makes more economic sense than reselling your used car.

The only way you can change what people do in a free society is to make the better alternative more attractive to the people.

RE: This or hydrogen
By quiksilvr on 12/11/2008 12:14:44 PM , Rating: 2
At CostCo you can buy a 10 pack of CFL bulbs for 9 bucks. And as I said, you can just put these in lamps (not bright, brighter, brightest nor dimmable, just regular lamps) and forget about it.

And recycle your old SUV to get a DISCOUNT on a new car (obviously don't do this if you aren't in a financially sound situation).

And...yeah I can't argue with that point. Consumers will only get something if its shiny.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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