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Bill Palone

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Mon, 27 Jul 2009

Another Green Dream


The following was found on Slashdot, a news for nerds site:

A company called Joule Biotech claims to have a breakthrough in biofuel production. Their process can create 20,000 gallons of fuel per acre per year at a cost of about $50 per barrel. 'Algae-based biofuels come closest to Joule's technology, with potential yields of 2,000 to 6,000 gallons per acre; yet even so, the new process would represent an order of magnitude improvement. What's more, for the best current algae fuels technologies to be competitive with fossil fuels, crude oil would have to cost over $800 a barrel says Philip Pienkos, a researcher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO. Joule claims that its process will be competitive with crude oil at $50 a barrel. In recent weeks, oil has sold for $60 to $70 a barrel.



I went to their site http://www.joulebio.com and found that they say that their proprietary photosynthetic organism uses sunlight and CO2 to synthesize its nutrients. Now, I read that to mean the organisms need food other than CO2 and sunlight. Is that food something we have very little of or something that we need but is plentiful at the moment. It's all a big mystery, which they are being very coy about.

It smells a lot like snake oil, to me. Then maybe the food for the organisms is solyent green, which is not that far off if the wizards in Washington get their health care.

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