Friday, 3 February 2012

Also from "Aunt Sally Whipping the Boy"

Quote: "A voice of dissent; quote: "Nobel Laureate Robert B. Laughlin exposes the consequences and limitations of biofuels from manure and corn ethanol to switchgrass and algae.
The energy industry’s sudden interest in algae might also be part of this absurdity, unfortunately. Green politics powerfully encourages “greenwash,” the practice of associating yourself with green causes to look more environmentally friendly than you actually are. Although the investments that the oil majors are presently making in algae look technically legitimate, they might just be public relations expenditures. We can’t tell, for the amounts of money involved, though considerable, are smaller than the potential costs of taxation, regulation, and political vexations that might be visited upon them for not being sufficiently green. Absent some truly unprecedented discovery or breakthrough, it will be hard not to smile knowingly whenever world-famous geneticists begin explaining their strategic algae oil partnerships that involve no farming until sometime way in the future, if ever." Go to

My comment: "…and how much do you think cleaning up"...the effects of.."the nuclear industry will cost? As with the previous century’s “green” research INVESTMENT is required, or one can continue to pedal the myth that the notion of an “unsustainable economy” is NOT an oxymoron."...Also
"It is vital to realise that INVESTMENT also means investment in education"..."How myopic to assume that even the “most able” are unable to provide an answer in adulthood when they have received no encouragement (infact been actively dissuaded from, cajoled and FORCED not), to explore the alternative paradigms which inform such research as children.

Considering the blinkered attitude towards mycological and bacteriological research displayed by the academic institutions generally (revealed on my thread, "Mycological Environmentalism, Under-Reported/Researched?", go to ), it is hardly surprising no one has an answer as yet.

Comment from Sean OHanlon on the same article: quote; "So Robert Laughlin shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1998. Good for him; But Algae cultivation is about Biology & Systems Engineering, not Physics. To me this is another case of someone who clearly hasn’t spoken with any leading researchers in the field of algae R&D or attended a single conference to get a pulse on the state of the industry.

Fresh water? Why would we want clean water to grow algae? Not only does algae capture CO2 but it also has the ability to sequester heavy metals and other toxins that no reasonable person would want released into the air or water. In addition, Algae has the ability to cut energy consumption in Wastewater treatment plants by as much as 80 percent. Even if that number were only 20% it would still be a technology well worth pursuing."

Dr. Laughlin also chooses to narrowly focus on saltwater micro-algae. This is another major miscalculation. We have barely scratched the surface of what can be done by the over 100,000 species of micro-algae in the world. We haven’t even started to take a serious look at the macro-algae that grow faster and have a higher sugar content. And as for: “there is no saltwater agriculture industry at the moment from which you can make crop comparisons” Not true, The Irish have been harvesting algae for centuries and Asia has been cultivating it for decades now. (Where do you think your sushi wrap comes from?) Algae is already being grown profitably as feed for livestock, pharmaceuticals, and DHA Omega 3′s just to name a few.

The cost of producing biofuels is getting cheaper all the time while exploration, drilling, and refining oil is getting ever more difficult, costlier, and dangerous. (Let’s not forget the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill that took 11 lives and went on for over 90 days just last year; Not to mention the environmental damage that will last for decades.) Take away the tax breaks and other advantages that petroleum currently enjoys and it immediately becomes economically unsustainable to the tune of ~$13/gallon and up for gasoline.

Thank you for your opinion Dr. Laughlin. However, Your opinion is clearly not supported by the facts."

Re: “clean” water (see above), there’s a difference between “capture” and “proliferation”, you can’t continue to pollute the body (even when using maggots to clean-up a wound)."

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