Thursday, March 10, 2011

Alt. Energy Update: Green Crude

OK, So these little Algae won't power the world, but they are more efficient than ethanol and switchgrass!

So far, the 30 or 40 mostly small companies now developing algae fuels in the U.S. have produced thousands of barrels of green crude, a far cry from the 7 billion barrels of oil consumed each year in America. Producers also face the daunting task of scaling from demonstration projects to what amounts to a vast new infrastructure for growing and maintaining algae in either fermentation tanks or in open ponds, and in providing feedstock for the plants, which grow best when fed sugars and other carbons in the form of plant waste or CO-2.

Green crude from algae is not a new idea. The federal government first started researching algae and other plants as alternative fuels at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, after the first oil shocks in the 1970s. The program, however, was shut down in 1996 when oil dropped down below $40 a barrel.

Scott Dauenhauer CFP, MSFP, AIF