Algae & bug poop in the gas tank?

Algae & bug poop in the gas tank?

Watch Lou Ann Hammond talk to MSNBC’s host, Alex Witt, about alternative energies.

China – the Saudi Arabia of biofuels?

The Chinese had to remove massive amounts of algae from around the Olympic sailing venue in Qingdao. That algae will grow back rapidly and kill other organisms.

The Financial Times wrote an article on July 11, 2008 called “The curse and blessing of algae” talking about China and their algae problem. But this problem could turn a boom for China. And Ill bet you PetroSun is already talking to China.

In an article on gas2.org PetroSun has announced it will begin operation of it’s commercial algae-to-biofuels facility on April 1st, 2008. The facility, located in Rio Hondo Texas, will produce an estimated 4.4 million gallons of algal oil and 110 million lbs. of biomass per year off a series of saltwater ponds spanning 1,100 acres. Twenty of those acres will be reserved for the experimental production of a renewable JP8 jet-fuel.

The biomass left-over from oil-pressing can either be fed to cattle as a protein supplement, or fermented into ethanol. Petro-Sun says they will use saltwater to create the biofuel instead of our other scarce resource, fresh water.

China has an expansive amount of coal that they are looking at producing coal to liquid. According to National Geographic China produces the most rapeseed, the product to make biodiesel, of any country. Now the algae that is clogging their port in Qingdao could fuel the barges that will be bringing our cars to us in 10-15 years.

Bug Poop in your gas tank?

Life Science 9 (LS9) is a company in California that, according to their website, creates biofuel from bug excretion. That’s right – bug poop.

Vinod Khosla, and industry leader in alternative energy venture capitalism, has invested in this venture. LS9 told the Washington Post that when they get up and running on a full-scale basis this biodiesel will cost $1.25 a gallon.

Tim from LS9 wants to make sure that we know that there are no bugs involved in the process, just microbes. According to Tim, “The reference to bugs, popularized by the London Times and in part by the Washington Post, was more alliterative than accurate. In fact, LS9 is producing petroleum-equivalent products via fermentation, in which specialized microbes in a fermentation tank convert feedstock to fuels like diesel. There are no “bugs” (ie insects) used in the process. You can read a little more on the system here (http://www.ls9.com/technology/)”.

Alright Tim, we get it, there were no animals harmed in the process. But couldn’t we say microbes are just the couch potato of bugs? They sit around watching television and eating bon-bons and flatuating all day. Their parents were couch potatoes before them, living off the fat of the land. Now, all of a sudden these parasites of the earth are excreting a needed commodity. They are famous, they have won the lottery. They are going to save the universe, or at least the United States!

T. Boone Pickens plan

and what about T Boone Pickens natural gas plan – is there a car ready for that?

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.