Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The top 5 technologies that will save us from climate change

Algae Tube Picture

Dear Pablo: What do you believe are the top technologies that will help us overcome climate change?

First of all, the number one solution to climate change is not a technology at all; it is political will. As Thomas Friedman, the author of Hot, Flat, and Crowded said in a speech last week "change your leaders, not your light bulbs." …

1. Algae Biofuels

Algae, that green scum that grows in your pool when you forget to chlorinate it, can contain more than 50 percent lipids (fat). By feeding algae with nutrient-rich water (wastewater treatment plant effluent, for example) and carbon dioxide (the climate change-causing emissions from power plants) and exposing them to warmth and sunlight, they multiply rapidly (see image above). The lipids can then be extracted easily and used to create biodiesel fuel, which can replace or be mixed with regular diesel. The remaining material can be used as cattle feed, burned as a biomass fuel, or processed into methane by small organisms.

What could be better than a plant-based solution that uses waste materials (dirty water and CO2) and renewable resources (sunlight) to create both a transportation fuel and a heating fuel? Not much, which is why algae holds so much promise. Several companies, such as PetroSun and GreenFuel Technologies, are currently working on commercializing this technology. The Torres winery in Villafranca del Penedes, Spain is even operating an experimental facility that captures the emissions from wine fermentation to grow algae for making biofuels. …

The Top 5 Technologies That Will Save Us from Climate Change

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