Saturday, March 28, 2009

Algae biofuels: the hype, the hope, the promise

A typical raceway pond, National Renewable Energy Laboratory The Algae Biofuels World Summit concluded this week in San Francisco. I was on-hand and on assignment for Triple Pundit Monday at the day long pre-conference briefing featuring leaders in research, government, and business involved in pushing the infant industry toward commercial-scale production.

It was a sobering day for me, as it became clear that much of what is bandied about on blogs and in the mainstream media (to the extent algal biofuel research gets any coverage in the mainstream media) is wild-eyed optimism and pure hype. No, you can not produce 15,000 gallons of algae biofuel per acre per year; no, algae biofuel will not replace oil all by itself - and the list goes on.

The plain reality is that producing algae biofuel at a commercial scale is not a given, it will not be cheap or easy, and a lot more R&D needs to be done before any real hope of algae biofuel being more than an experimental or "boutique" fuel is realized. …

Algae Biofuels - The Hype, the Hope, the Promise

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