Biodiesel Fuel From Algae

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I was thumbing through Time Magazine tonight and stumbled across an article that really caught my attention. The topic was centered around the possibility of producing fuel from growing algae. I was intrigued immediately because algae is voracious. It grows very quickly and carries that lofty possibility of being highly sustainable. If one tenth of New Mexico, the part where no one lives, was converted into an algae farm from which we could attain fuel, it would be enough to sustain the entire United States.

Understandably algae has become the holy grail of the enthusiastic biodiesel community. It is quickly becoming a real hope at a possible resource to make a serious impact on fossil fuel consumption. So far research conducted at Utah State University has show that farmed algae can yield 10,000 gallons per acre.

A joint venture company called Vertigro Energy is growing the oil-rich algae by pumping it through plastic bags suspended in a greenhouse. The algae produced via this process is siphoned off so the lipids can be extracted and refined into a biodiesel fuel. Vertigro’s processing facility is located in El Paso, Texas.  According to their Principal Scientist, Glen Kertz, the process can produce 100,000 gallons of oil per acre, per year. When you compare this to ethanol, which I think is a scam and a totally unrealistic fuel source, you see the real potential. Corn only yields about 20 gallons per acre.

I hope we begin pulling our heads, collectively out of our warmongering asses and start pushing some greatly needed funding towards researching alternatives like this. I think we have lost 8 years now fighting pointless wars and throwing money away. It’s time to pull ourselves back together and start taking it to our government to put money towards programs and research like this to start making some serious gains in sustainable energy. I think seeing what has happened to food and gasoline prices this week was a good kick start for the American public. Algae biodiesel isn’t a new idea, it’s been around a while but it is something that needs to be examined and it offers a realistic solution to looming problem that will effect all of us, worldwide.

You can read up more about algae biodiesel fuel at the following links:
Energize Now Blog
Valcent Products Inc.
Utah State University: Biofuels Initiative

written by Christopher | tags: , , ,


Earth Day 2008

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Well today is the official date of Earth Day. What do you do on Earth Day? To be perfectly honest, I do not know.

WikHow has a nice little page that can help you figure out things you can do on Earth Day. I found it pretty useful and it answered some of my questions. It seems like it would be something of greater importance these days considering the heightened awareness of the possibility of an impending environmental crisis. I didn’t even realize it was Earth Day until I saw Google’s special little illustration at their home page.

Here is somewhere you can find out even a little bit more about it and what you can do.

written by Christopher | tags: ,


Doomsday Seed Vault

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A coworker alerted me to this disturbingly terrifying project today. I have to say it kind of sent me reeling a little bit especially when considering a group of people with the level of intelligence it would take to complete a project like this would get together to actually follow through with it. It sometimes sounds like our civilization and planet are in a lot more peril than most of us would like to consider. Whether or not any of this is right or we are totally nuts remains to be seen.

Apparently several of the seeds on our planet have been going extinct even faster than the fish and animal populations. According to Dr. Cary Fowler, Executive Director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, “Every day that passes we lose crop biodiversity. We must conserve the seeds that will allow agriculture to adapt to challenges such as climate change and crop disease.”

In order to combat this problem they have constructed the Svalbard International Seed Vault that will be carved deep into the frozen rock of an island not far from the North Pole. According to the architects the “fail-safe” seed vault will “gleam like a gem in the midnight sun,” signaling the priceless treasure within: seed samples of nearly every food crop of every country.

My question is what do they know that they aren’t telling the rest of us? If they really think it is worth the resources it would take to carve a gigantic vault into one of the most inhospitable regions of the entire planet, what is signaling the disaster that would provide just cause for such an insane project. I try to take the optimistic side when it comes to conspiracy theories but this definitely caught my attention. It’s just too bad our government could care less.

written by Christopher | tags: , ,


A Little Hepatitis C Never Hurt Anyone

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Well, in what I honestly have to say is one of the more extreme cases of downright egregious malpractice on American soil, the Endoscopy Center of Nevada says as many as 40,000 patients may have been exposed to Hepatitis C and even possibly HIV. The clinic is currently in the process of issuing letters to these patients acknowledging the exposure. Apparently the practice of reusing syringes by removing and replacing the needles while keeping the same plunger is the culprit behind the outbreak. The procedure was ongoing for possibly as long as 4 years, exposing thousands of people to other patients blood. The reason for this gross oversight? To save money of course. The question that obviously arises is how many other clinics have engaged in similar practices? You can read more about it in the Las Vegas Sun and listen to an NPR interview here. I usually reserve news like this for the rolling sideblog but this story was just too appalling to keep of the central feed. The story struck close to home for me since I contracted Hepatitis A (the least damaging strain) from food while traveling in Brazil about a year and a half ago. It knocked me out of commission for about a month, and I had to go to the emergency room for the first time in my adult life. If Hepatitis A can make you that sick, I could only imagine how angry someone would be if exposed to Hepatitis C in order to save a few pennies on the dollar.

written by Christopher | tags: , ,


Snipes taxed

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I know this post might be a little off topic for a design and politics blog but I found it interesting no less so here it is. Wesley Snipes was apparently convicted of evading taxes and his trial was cut short yesterday when his defense team apparently rested its case early citing lack of evidence on the part of the prosecution. Snipes is claiming he sincerely believed he didn’t have to pay taxes and was even demanding to be paid back taxes he had already paid. He stopped filing his returns in 2000. Snipes says he was the victim of unscrupulous accountants who convinced him he didn’t have to pay any taxes.

Whew, what is that smell in here? It smells like…yuck what is that? Oh, yikes I am pretty sure that’s bullshit I smell.

I guess we will have to wait and see if the court smells it too.

written by Christopher | tags: , ,


The 7 billion dollar man

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French bank, Societe Generale has stated that a 31 year old rogue trader named Jerome Kerviel has cost the bank upward of 7 billion in a series of fraudulent trading scams. It is being tauted as the most expensive cases of fraud in trader history. Other sources have reported the Kerviel blamed part of his dealings on troubles at home with his father’s death. His father must have died pretty horrifically to justify stealing 7 billion dollars. It is a whole new era when a single human being can be responsible for losing such a vast some of money. It reminds me of the 12 billion that was flown, in all it’s literal physical bulk, into Iraq and massive sums of it were lost. Except that was a government responsible for that blunder, not a single rogue trader.

written by Christopher | tags: , ,