Now that we can create crude oil in a jar maybe we can stop raping the planet

When I was younger I read an incredible economics book by E.F. Schumacher called “Small is Beautiful” which starts with an attack on the disregard for the natural limits on fossil fuels. He essentially argued that treating the planet’s ‘capital’ as an asset instead of as capital was incredibly foolish and made us think the problem of production had been solved, or at least solved enough for us to stop worrying so much about finding a replacement. Well, the time is nigh, and we are having to resort to methods such as fracking to unlock hidden oil and gas deposits to power our death machines and the list generators that Buzzfeed runs on.

The dream has always been some sort of perpetual motion machine but that’s exactly what it is. I guess the next best thing is a source of energy from which a byproduct can be reused to create more of it. This is exactly what scientists at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have been working on. They recently carried out a process which could revolutionize the entire energy industry by turning algae slurry into crude oil in less than an hour.

The process involved can be explained in very simple terms: a slurry of algae is fed into a chemical reactor, which produces crude oil, water and a number of waste products which can be used to feed back into algae growing process. At the moment, algae is reportedly an expensive biofuel option but further refinement of this method will ensure that it is a much cheaper and thus more viable option. If only we were looking into this a few decades ago instead of ignoring the finite fossil fuel issue, maybe I could have afforded plane tickets to Japan to see Pride FC live… [Source]

Published on December 19, 2013 at 2:31 am
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