Algae-based oil as silly as heavier-than-air flight

wright

“Radio has no future. Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. X-rays will prove to be a hoax.”

– British physicist Lord Kelvin

“New ideas pass through three periods:
1) It can’t be done.
2) It probably can be done, but it’s not worth doing.
3) I knew it was a good idea all along!”

– Arthur C. Clarke

——————————

Sapphire Energy, a startup company trying to commercialize the use of algae as an energy source to replace oil, last week announced $144 million in new investments.

As MIT’s Technology Review reports:

“The new funding will allow Sapphire to finish building its algae farm, near the small town of Columbus, New Mexico, just north of the U.S.–Mexico border. A 100-acre segment of the farm has already been finished, and when the whole project is complete, by 2014, Sapphire will have the capacity to produce about 1.5 million gallons of algae crude oil, which can be shipped to refineries to make chemicals and fuels such as diesel and gasoline….

Sapphire hopes to lower the cost of producing algae fuels by changing every part of the production process. That includes increasing the quality and the amount of oil produced, reducing the cost of building ponds, and developing low-cost ways to harvest the oil. The company aims to have a product that’s competitive with oil priced at $85 per barrel, and it expects to meet this goal once it reaches full-scale production in about six years. Oil costs over $100 a barrel now.”

There’s no guarantee of success, of course. Based on current technology, algae-derived diesel would be several times more expensive than diesel refined from petroleum. In other words, the technology is in Step #2 in Arthur C. Clarke’s progression, with no assurance it will ever reach #3.

And it’s not an experiment that private investors are willing and able to support on their own. While private partners such as Monsanto and Arrowpoint Partners, a Denver-based venture capital firm, have invested heavily in the company, the federal government accounts for $105 million of the $300 million that Sapphire has raised so far.

Is that a wasted investment? Even if Sapphire proves a total failure, the answer would be no. Not when you consider the hundreds of billions of dollars that we ship overseas every year to buy naturally occurring petroleum. Not when you consider the lives and hundreds of billions in tax dollars invested in our military to help guarantee access to that oil. Not when you consider the environmental impact of burning carbon-based fuels for energy.

Given all that, it would be foolish not to seek alternatives, and it would be foolish for government not to try to push the technology to commercial viability. Government subsidized the building of the railroads; it was the “angel investor” that brought the Internet into being. More than a third of the medical research undertaken in this country is government-funded; the polio vaccine, among many others, was created with federal funding. And other countries, including China, have no compunction whatsoever about investing in new-generation energy technologies.

It is inconceivable to me that the United States, a country whose prosperity has been built in large part on technological superiority and whose leaders speak endlessly about reaching energy independence, would cease striving to develop alternative energy sources. Those who argue in favor of doing would forfeit the future to others more willing to take a chance.

– Jay Bookman

545 comments Add your comment

ty webb

April 9th, 2012
5:12 pm

No one’s arguing against the private sector investing their money on algae-based oil…The federal government doesn’t have the money.

Paul

April 9th, 2012
5:12 pm

Before any bloggers post about the stupid environmental whackos in the Obama Administration who are out of touch and are blindly pursuing their green agenda to wreck the domestic oil industry, I’d just ask them to go to Google and type ‘Department of Defense algae fuel.’

Then let them post about the stupid environmental whacko, out of touch admirals and generals who are investing in this as a matter of national security.

In other words, think before you repeat what you heard your favorite broadcaster say.

And I’ll repeat what I’ve said before: I don’t care if it costs more than conventional crude, given the American lives lost protecting the oil supply. But I don’t see how hit can cost more if one factors in the Defense costs to guard our supply lines.

They BOTH suck

April 9th, 2012
5:12 pm

Heck…….. Big Oil is invested in it

It was comical when the right laughed at Obama for bringing up algae. A good percentage who were laughing do not even know that Big Oil is banking on it………. BIG

ByteMe - Thugs vs. Goons IN 3-D!!

April 9th, 2012
5:13 pm

We need to make big bets on energy, no doubt. China’s sucking up all the oil and gas leases it can buy. Existing companies only want to protect their own market share, not grow into unproven markets. Government assistance is needed to help move all this along.

ByteMe - Thugs vs. Goons IN 3-D!!

April 9th, 2012
5:14 pm

The federal government doesn’t have the money.

Sure we do. If we have money to continue to wage war and defend Europe and Japan, we have money to secure our energy future.

MAATF

April 9th, 2012
5:14 pm

It is well worth the investment. It may fail – but most every failure moves the science forward. Success is built on the back of failure.

Jay

April 9th, 2012
5:15 pm

How about the polio vaccine, Ty? Should the feds have invested in that, or left it to private industry?

What about the Internet?

ByteMe - Thugs vs. Goons IN 3-D!!

April 9th, 2012
5:16 pm

Jay: might as well ask ty about going to the moon, which was entirely funded by government and helped create numerous technologies we now take for granted.

Doggone/GA

April 9th, 2012
5:17 pm

“The federal government doesn’t have the money”

$105 million – says they do

ty webb

April 9th, 2012
5:19 pm

Byteme,
no arguement from me…we don’t have money to wage wars, so let’s stop waging wars…still doesn’t mean we should spend money we don’t have on something else.

too little time

April 9th, 2012
5:19 pm

“Those who argue in favor of doing would forfeit the future to others more willing to take a chance”

That is a logical fallacy. You are assuming an either/or outcome…that the U.S. Govt/Sapphire must do this now or “forfeit the future” … to whom? I’m sure that you could have written this exact same article about Solyndra 3 years ago. You would be wrong then just as you are now.

If, when oil stays consistently above $100, the technology is viable, there will be dozens of companies in the hunt. What makes you believe that there will be a single winner… that some single entity must win and all others will be forfeit?

Or, some other technology… natural gas or hydrogen… could make algae obsolete in the same way that cheap China panels made with a newer technology doomed Solyndra in its infancy. Why should the taxpayers be on the hook?

Soothsayer

April 9th, 2012
5:20 pm

Al Gee: the favorite whipping boy of the Right!

ByteMe - Thugs vs. Goons IN 3-D!!

April 9th, 2012
5:21 pm

still doesn’t mean we should spend money we don’t have on something else.

Of course we have the money, silly. We’ve already made the investment. Just because you’d rather keep the money than fund it via taxes doesn’t mean we don’t have the money.

Doggone/GA

April 9th, 2012
5:22 pm

Good one Sooth!

Bruno

April 9th, 2012
5:22 pm

It is inconceivable to me that the United States, a country whose prosperity has been built in large part on technological superiority and whose leaders speak endlessly about reaching energy independence, would cease striving to develop alternative energy sources. Those who argue in favor of doing would forfeit the future to others more willing to take a chance.

I don’t have a problem with some federal funding going toward energy research. My only requirement would be some accountability. No more Solyndras.

My personal guess is that a private company will come up with a solution faster than the government researchers, however. Nothing like the profit motive to bring the best out in folks.

ByteMe - Thugs vs. Goons IN 3-D!!

April 9th, 2012
5:22 pm

Why should the taxpayers be on the hook?

Or, you could ask: why shouldn’t taxpayers benefit if the technology pans out and our bet succeeds?

Logical Dude

April 9th, 2012
5:22 pm

Now what the heck are they feeding these algae in the first place to make them poop oil?

ByteMe - Thugs vs. Goons IN 3-D!!

April 9th, 2012
5:24 pm

My only requirement would be some accountability. No more Solyndras.

Solyndra had accountability to their stakeholders, they just didn’t have success.

Every VC out there will tell you that they have to place a lot of bets to get their desired payback, because 19 out of 20 of those bets will be losing bets. But that one that pays off will be huge.

ByteMe - Thugs vs. Goons IN 3-D!!

April 9th, 2012
5:25 pm

Now what the heck are they feeding these algae in the first place to make them poop oil?

I’m thinking it’s the same thing my dog is eating when he’s outside that makes him pass gas that is soooo toxic.

ty webb

April 9th, 2012
5:26 pm

Jay,
the polio vaccine? yes…the internet? no.

JohnnyReb

April 9th, 2012
5:27 pm

Government investment in promising technology, yes. Crony Capitalisim and political paybacks like Solyndra, no.

There is ample evidence the government funded space program paid back a thousand fold. Only the uniformed deny that.

Wise government funding decisions must include just how far the market is being pushed. For example, the payback on solar cell power is over 30 years. The cells have to be replaced in less than 30. It’s not a market ready technology regardless of the examples of it working.

carlosgvv

April 9th, 2012
5:30 pm

If this turns out to be a viable solution, it’s success will depend on the support of Big Oil. If they in any way feel threatened financially, they will enlist their lackeys in Congress and their usefull idiots who blog for them to assure a total defeat of this project.

They BOTH suck

April 9th, 2012
5:31 pm

Bruno

I’m not saying that Solyndra was run well, had a great marketing plan, etc, however Brocephus posted a pretty good article a few weeks ago how the state of GA has actually worked to keep companies like Solyndra from competing and maybe flourishing ……….. How many states are doing what GA is doing, I can not say, but the article was an interesting read on how Republicans at least in this state in regards to the “energy industry” are picking “winners and losers”

Of course we can speak of the Chinese as usual undercutting but I will attempt to only go down own or two rabbit holes not ten or so

ByteMe - Thugs vs. Goons IN 3-D!!

April 9th, 2012
5:32 pm

Internet2 is also being underwritten by the government.

JamVet

April 9th, 2012
5:32 pm

Sinkwich ain’t gonna be happy about this…

Or this, which skewers our GOP ostriches…

Consider President Jimmy Carter’s April 18, 1977 speech. Since it was given nearly three decades ago, when many of the reporters in Bush’s White House were children, it’s understandable that they don’t remember it. But it’s inexcusable that Bush and the mainstream media (which, after all, has the ability to do research) would completely ignore it. It was the speech that established the strategic petroleum reserve, birthed the modern solar power industry, led to the insulation of millions of American homes, and established America’s first national energy policy. “With the exception of preventing war,” said Jimmy Carter, a man of peace, “this is the greatest challenge our country will face during our lifetimes.”

He added: “It is a problem we will not solve in the next few years, and it is likely to get progressively worse through the rest of this century. “We must not be selfish or timid if we hope to have a decent world for our children and grandchildren.

“We simply must balance our demand for energy with our rapidly shrinking resources. By acting now, we can control our future instead of letting the future control us.” Carter bluntly pointed out that: “The most important thing about these proposals is that the alternative may be a national catastrophe. Further delay can affect our strength and our power as a nation.” He called the new energy policy he was proposing, “[T]he ‘moral equivalent of war’ — except that we will be uniting our efforts to build and not destroy.”

I realize that the cons did not listen then and they sure as hell aren’t going to now, but for those who seek the counsel of men wiser than themselves…

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/primary-resources/carter-energy/

JohnnyReb

April 9th, 2012
5:32 pm

Jay, you state our military missions help ensure oil flow from the mid-East. I don’t disagree, but with that in mind, and the Left wanting to drastically cut military funding, how does the different factions within the Democratic party agree on less domestic drilling and no to the pipeline?

Paul

April 9th, 2012
5:32 pm

We’ve got the money. It’s in the DoD budget. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has been massively investing for several years.

Bruno

April 9th, 2012
5:34 pm

Every VC out there will tell you that they have to place a lot of bets to get their desired payback, because 19 out of 20 of those bets will be losing bets. But that one that pays off will be huge.

ByteMe–The problem with the Solyndra deal wasn’t their lack of commercial success. As you noted, we should expect a fairly high rate of failure–in fact 100% until someone makes a breakthrough. The problem with Solyndra was all the political shenanigans surrounding the loans. From Wiki: “The company reportedly spent nearly $1.8 million on lobbying during the period the loan guarantee was under review. Tim Harris, the CEO of Solopower, a different solar panel company which had obtained a $197 million loan guarantee, told the New York Times that his company had never considered spending any money on lobbying, and that “It was made clear to us early in the process that that was clearly verboten… We were told that it was not only not helpful but it was not acceptable.”

Aquagirl

April 9th, 2012
5:35 pm

Jay: might as well ask ty about going to the moon

Or nuclear power…another one of those big gubmint programs, brought to you by gubmint scientists, some of them furriner immigrants! Thank God the U.S. isn’t like that any more…or more precisely thank you, Republicans and teanuts.

If private innerprize can’t do the job with white Americans who can trace their ancestry back to the Mayflower, it’s just Not ‘Merican.

Joe Hussein Mama

April 9th, 2012
5:39 pm

Good to see Bruno’s views on lobbying recorded here. Time to bookmark this thread. :D

They BOTH suck

April 9th, 2012
5:40 pm

Jam

How was the weekend? Hope you enjoyed the nice weather

Apologize for not asking earlier today

ByteMe - Thugs vs. Goons IN 3-D!!

April 9th, 2012
5:40 pm

The company reportedly spent nearly $1.8 million on lobbying during the period the loan guarantee was under review.

Not quite accurate. See here:

http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/183703-solyndras-lobbying-not-disclosed-under-stimulus-guidelines

No direct contacts within the DoE were reported. Seems they lobbied Congress instead.

pogo

April 9th, 2012
5:40 pm

OK Jay, I will take the bait and say that algae based fuel can work. But if it is indeed viable, then it will soon not need taxpayer dollars to back it up. As this country is now so far in debt and is in fact broke, taxpayer money only goes so far and if algae is indeed viable economically, then it will be able to compete and exist on the open energy market like everything else. If it cannot, then it should fail. The real problem as I see it is that your president wants to placate the environmentalists by giving federal money that we don’t have to these programs based soley upon politics and not their long term survivability. I mean, some day algae farms in the South America or Indonesia or somewhere else may just make algae based fuel way cheaper than it can be made here in America and once again the American consumer will take it in the butt. Our prices won’t go down, and our taxpayer dollars will still be funneled into the industry. I can almost guarantee that will happen. Kind of like Solyndra and the Chinese you know.

And Jay, you must have gotten a very large dosage of liberal kool-aid going on the Madow show. Your writing reflects it.

ByteMe - Thugs vs. Goons IN 3-D!!

April 9th, 2012
5:41 pm

Off to play in the garden… have a good evening all.

JamVet

April 9th, 2012
5:41 pm

Crony Capitalism and political paybacks like Citizens United?

Like the trillions given away every decade to BIG Finance, BIG Utilities, BIG Telecom, BIG Oil, BIG Pharma, BIG Aerospace and Defense, BIG Insurance Conglomerates, BIG Farming Operations, BIG Retail & Wholesale, BIG IT, BIG Food, Beverages & Tobacco, BIG Chemicals, BIG Healthcare and BIG Manufacturing?

That crony capitalism?

Bruno

April 9th, 2012
5:42 pm

I realize that the cons did not listen then and they sure as hell aren’t going to now, but for those who seek the counsel of men wiser than themselves…

Didn’t Jimmy Carter’s Global 2000 study also predict that we would be almost out of oil by the year 2000??

http://books.google.com/books?id=UEGPFXrScoIC&pg=PA103&lpg=PA103&dq=jimmy+carter+prediction+no+oil+by+year+2000&source=bl&ots=9o2ORvCVtU&sig=r9j6hLe_FPyggBbbTYfX3S0565s&hl=en&sa=X&ei=1FaDT5b0HpSw8AS44qzdBw&ved=0CCAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

Apparently liberalism and pessimism have been bedfellows for many years now.

Stephenson Billings

April 9th, 2012
5:44 pm

Yes, it’s exactly what we need. Millions more dollars of guaranteed loans to these companies who then turn around and give their officers huge bonuses right before they go bankrupt…. but hey, it worked for the solar and wind industries :rolleyes:

Joe Hussein Mama

April 9th, 2012
5:45 pm

Bruno — “Didn’t Jimmy Carter’s Global 2000 study also predict that we would be almost out of oil by the year 2000??”

There are many predictions out there regarding that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil

Paul

April 9th, 2012
5:46 pm

Stephenson Billings

So you are saying there’s huge waste and incompetence in program management in the Dept of Defense and their budget can be significantly cut without compromising national security?

Stephenson Billings

April 9th, 2012
5:46 pm

I just want to know why it’s the government’s job to pick winners (and losers).

Stephenson Billings

April 9th, 2012
5:47 pm

Who’s talking about the defense industry?

JamVet

April 9th, 2012
5:48 pm

BOTH, thanks for asking.

Not a religious guy, bur fairly spiritual, so I stayed away from Jay’s blog and contemplated my navel. (grin) Also spent some time with dear friends that I hadn’t seen in too long.

Hope yours was equally fine…

Layin’ on my back
In the newly mown grass
Rain is coming down
But I know the clouds will pass
You bring me tea
Say “the babe’s a-sleepin’”
Lay down beside me
Love ain’t for keeping

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3JTQoXZygc

Adam

April 9th, 2012
5:48 pm

That’s a nice bait headline :lol:

Matti

April 9th, 2012
5:49 pm

Mr. Billings,

I suppose you didn’t hear about China’s role in that, did you? Hmmm… guess not. Bless your heart!

They BOTH suck

April 9th, 2012
5:51 pm

Jam
Weekend was great. Spent time with the gf on Saturday then she and I went down to my sister’s south of the city and hung out yesterday…………..

Great WHO selection………… they were great

Paul

April 9th, 2012
5:52 pm

Stephenson Billings

Read the second post and my 5:32.

GT

April 9th, 2012
5:54 pm

If you invent an alternative fuel not only is the country’s security improved over night, but the oil companies would be shut down over night. Like pay telephones only bigger oil would no longer be a part of our economy or the world’s. Which industry has the largest to invest in alternative, and that same industry has the most to loose. It would not be a stretch to think some of this contrary thinking is sponsored by the oil industry, the same one that tells us all is forgiven on the Gulf Coast, similar to the cigarette campaign that had many smoking and thinking it was not so unhealthy much longer that the unknown facts dictated them to quit. This is where America buys the sizzle and not the meat. Car, cigarette, alcohol, and thousands of other things have purposely tried, in many times, clandestine campaigns to let Americans die for the benefit of stockholder’s profit. This is why this corrupt system could not be trusted in such an endeavor. They would either horde it from the market to make other products sell better or be like the drug company and now the oil companies and squeeze the last oz. of blood out of the American economy with the endorsement of the Republican Party. Why not let the national defense be run by the private sector? Because that same Las Vegas guy trying to buy the election for a Newt Gingrich now owns the arm services and thus owns the country and maybe, in a Hitler case, the world. Why is the arm forces any different from energy when it falls in the wrong hands.

Stephenson Billings

April 9th, 2012
5:54 pm

China? Sure. I mean, they’re part of the reason we don’t have much of a manufacturing or export base in the US anymore. And the reason we can buy our iPads so cheap. All the more reason it was a bad idea to throw taxpayer money down those rat holes.

They BOTH suck

April 9th, 2012
5:54 pm

Jam

“See some old friends, good for the soul …” Great lyrics and oh so true

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zunyXjzJLp0

rightwing troll

April 9th, 2012
5:55 pm

I’m all for drug testing those who are on public assistance… There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and why should there be??? If you have to pee in a cup for the right trade you time for money, why is it wrong to ask that of those asking for money for nothing?

It may be problematic paying for it, but it would probably save money in the long run.

Fred ™

April 9th, 2012
5:56 pm

I know I’m stupid but…………

I’d rather “invest” that money on an alternative fuel source that didn’t involve the burning of “oil” of any type. Something cleaner. Not to tie into the “debate” downstairs, but I think it wouldn’t hurt to do all we can to eradicate as much “carbon footprint” as possible……….

Fred ™

April 9th, 2012
5:59 pm

Stephenson Billings

April 9th, 2012
5:46 pm

I just want to know why it’s the government’s job to pick winners (and losers).
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Boy howdy, you are tearing it up with your Rush Limbaugh bumper sticker talk. You’re like 4 for 4 so far.

Got an ORIGINAL comments or thoughts to add?

How about Newt’s paln on $2.50 a gallon gas……….

rightwing troll

April 9th, 2012
5:59 pm

I don’t know if this algae stuff is viable, but I’d rather my government spend money on a problem like finding alternative fuels, than a lot of the crap it currently spends money on.

Bruno

April 9th, 2012
5:59 pm

If you invent an alternative fuel not only is the country’s security improved over night, but the oil companies would be shut down over night.

As I asked DF below, GT, can we just snap our fingers and produce “alternative energy” out of thin air?? Can we simply will solutions into existence?? Isn’t new energy production subject to the same economic pressures that any new technology faces??

Per your “conspiracy theories”, give me a break. Whoever patents an energy extraction process which costs less than burning oil is going to be the richest person alive. He’ll be able to hire Bill Gates to clean his bathrooms.

Joe Hussein Mama

April 9th, 2012
6:01 pm

R. Troll — “If you have to pee in a cup for the right trade you time for money, why is it wrong to ask that of those asking for money for nothing? It may be problematic paying for it, but it would probably save money in the long run.”

Sounds great; let’s make oil company executives submit to urinalysis on demand, too. After all, they’re getting WAY more money than citizens on public assistance are.

They BOTH suck

April 9th, 2012
6:02 pm

“He’ll be able to hire Bill Gates to clean his bathrooms”

that’s for sure

Stephenson Billings

April 9th, 2012
6:05 pm

Fred – I sure do. But I see you don’t have any original “insults”

Bruno

April 9th, 2012
6:06 pm

Stephenson Billings

April 9th, 2012
6:06 pm

I will say trying to get petroleum from algae is a heck of a better idea than turning our food into ethanol.

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

April 9th, 2012
6:07 pm

Well, they can have their algae. It’s so . . . so slimy. Anyway, I want my oil in a nice quart can where I can pour it into the engine block without getting slime all over my hands. Ewwwww! And if they want algae they can just come right up here to Simpsons Trailer Park and get truckloads of it from a pond below the woods behind the trailers. Even frogs have more self-respect than to live there.

What will they think of next? I say Drill Here, Drill Now! Let’s put a oil well in every back yard and get real oil, not slime. That won’t hurt nobody. It’s a little noisy at first but after awhile you forget the well’s even there. And you get a nice check besides. I know they put a cell phone tower on Elliot Boggess’s farm and they pay him $400 every month just for letting it stay there. Hard to tell what the oil cos. would pay to have you let a oil derrick stay in your back yard.

Have a good night everybody.

Adam

April 9th, 2012
6:07 pm

If you have to pee in a cup for the right trade you time for money, why is it wrong to ask that of those asking for money for nothing?

You know what? You’re right. Let’s drug test a percentage of the welfare recipients based on the percentage of people who have to get drug tested to get a job. Would that work for you?

Gordon

April 9th, 2012
6:07 pm

Natural Gas is the obvious viable alternative at this point.

Fred ™

April 9th, 2012
6:08 pm

Stephenson Billings

April 9th, 2012
6:05 pm

Fred – I sure do. But I see you don’t have any original “insults”
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Stating the truth is an “insult?” how? I already heard the originals of your bumper stickers slogans, I’m curious to hear what YOU have to say on the matter.

So far it has been a sum total of nothing.

Adam

April 9th, 2012
6:10 pm

ty: the polio vaccine? yes…the internet? no.

Oh of course not, not knowing what we know now. I mean the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement used the internet to get their message out and coordinate. Can’t be havin’ that! SOCIALISM!

Fred ™

April 9th, 2012
6:10 pm

Stephenson Billings

April 9th, 2012
6:06 pm

I will say trying to get petroleum from algae is a heck of a better idea than turning our food into ethanol.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

See? There ya go. Thanks. Why is one method different than the other?

Not being a smart ass, I really don’t know. Until you stated it like that I never thought of it. If we already have the one technology what’s the advantage of spending money on the algae?

barking frog

April 9th, 2012
6:11 pm

Algae may be the origin
of the oil we’re pumping
now. To me it makes
more sense than rotting
plants and dinosaurs. If
we must pay exorbitant
prices for oil I would
prefer it be renewable
and ours. I forgot, it
would go on the world
market like our oil does
now.

Logical Dude

April 9th, 2012
6:11 pm

rightwing troll: If you have to pee in a cup for the right trade you time for money, why is it wrong to ask that of those asking for money for nothing?

Yep, ANY COMPANY who gets tax credits? PEE IN A CUP.
Any lobbyist getting a kickback? PEE IN A CUP.
Anyone on the payroll of government? PEEEE INNNN AAAA CUP!!!!!!!

If those who can actually pay for it kick in, it will be a huge moneymaker for the state. HUUUUGGEEE.

GT

April 9th, 2012
6:12 pm

rightwing troll exactly how would it save money? Problematic doesn’t cover the word needed. What if you catch a few million taking drugs what are you going to do with them? Lock em up because if you don’t now you will later, if you cut off the public assistance, and have you looked at the cost of locking up people in America. It is so expensive we are now letting people out early, trying to figure out who is violet and who have to be locked up and that is mostly just dealers, now we are going to put the whole population they sell to in jail. Not at first but when a woman can’t feed herself or her family eventually you are going to have to kill her or put her in jail.

This has been the rightwing response to everything, jail it or go to war or kill it. A large reason we are in this economic condition is because of this knee jerk reaction with no thought involved. These hot air politicians back themselves in a corner to satisfy a dull minded voter, simple answers cure everything. Actions equal results and the results are not the easy answer the right is trying for, at least I hope not.

Don't Forget

April 9th, 2012
6:13 pm

Logical Dude

April 9th, 2012
5:22 pm

Now what the heck are they feeding these algae in the first place to make them poop oil?

CO2. Algae take light energy to convert CO2 to hydrocarbons. A little fertilizer would probably be helpful to supply the other necessary elements but CO2 is the major component.

Jay, it’s still carbon based but it’s not fossilized carbon so it would merely be part of the natural carbon cycle and shouldn’t increase atmospheric carbon the way fossil fuels do.

They BOTH suck

April 9th, 2012
6:15 pm

getalife

April 9th, 2012
6:15 pm

Looks like an investment opportunity.

We need a green energy bubble and repair infrastructure instead of occupations on the credit card.

JamVet

April 9th, 2012
6:16 pm

Whenever I mow the grass, it takes me back to Kansas and that sweet smell.

And memories of songs like this…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UhResTVZ6s

Logical Dude

April 9th, 2012
6:16 pm

Don’t Forget, CO2. Algae take light energy to convert CO2 to hydrocarbons.

Dadgum biochemists. Ain’t rocket scientists, but they’re getting close. ;)

Stephenson Billings

April 9th, 2012
6:16 pm

‘Why is one method different than the other?”

Well for one, the increase in ethanol production, mostly from corn (and subsidized by the gov’t), resulted in higher feed prices which increased the cost of foodstuffs due to the decreased supply of said corn. Ethanol also combusts less efficiently than gasoline so while the cost per gallon may be less, you actually end up buying more (particularly in the “flex fuel” vehicles).

F. Sinkwich

April 9th, 2012
6:17 pm

“Not when you consider the hundreds of billions of dollars that we ship overseas every year to buy naturally occurring petroleum.”

Good point, Jay. One wonders why we don’t develop our own. Oh yeah, O’bozo!

After driving around town this morning enjoying the beautiful day, the family truckster needed another fill-up. The local Kroger Fuel (of the past) Center was my choice. Less than a Benjamin this time! $99.91! Did have a few gallons left in the ol’ tank-a-roo before the fill though.

While the nozzle was doing its thing, I talked to the kid behind the window about the potential of algae. The looked at me like I had three eyes. Sort of the look O’bozo is going to get when he tells Mr. and Mrs. Middle-America how wonderful his energy strategy is, and how they should be prepared for $10 gas because it’s good for the planet.

You lib ilks have some work to do on messaging. Them dags ain’t gonna buy that dog food.

Bruno

April 9th, 2012
6:17 pm

Jay, it’s still carbon based but it’s not fossilized carbon so it would merely be part of the natural carbon cycle and shouldn’t increase atmospheric carbon the way fossil fuels do.

Not following you here, DF. Are the byproducts of burning algae based petro different from those of a fossil based origin??

Joe Hussein Mama

April 9th, 2012
6:19 pm

F. Sinkiewicz — “After driving around town this morning enjoying the beautiful day, the family truckster needed another fill-up. The local Kroger Fuel (of the past) Center was my choice. Less than a Benjamin this time! $99.91! Did have a few gallons left in the ol’ tank-a-roo before the fill though.”

I love how it’s President Obama’s fault that Fishy had to drop a C-note for a fill-up. Like the President somehow MADE him buy a big, honkin’ truck. (laughing) :D

getalife

April 9th, 2012
6:20 pm

Buy a Volt filky.

Paul

April 9th, 2012
6:20 pm

F. Sinkwich

“Sort of the look O’bozo is going to get when he tells Mr. and Mrs. Middle-America how wonderful his energy strategy is, ”

Maybe he should have that lib ilk who’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff give the speech so the cons can tell everyone how he lies.

Rep Ryan tried that and apologized a day later.

Oh, and anyone who asks the kid at the Kroger gas station for advice on energy policy……

I know, I know, you were just looking for an audience who’d agree with you when you said “Obozo.”

They BOTH suck

April 9th, 2012
6:22 pm

“While the nozzle was doing its thing, I talked to the kid behind the window about the potential of algae. The looked at me like I had three eyes.”

No offense to the kid at Kroger because he might grow up to do great things. With that said, I’m going to venture that he wasn’t a scientist working for BIG OIL who has hundreds of millions invested in what? ALGAE

getalife

April 9th, 2012
6:22 pm

Poor kid had to put up with filky.

Jay

April 9th, 2012
6:22 pm

Bruno:

Burning carbon-based fuels takes carbon that has been buried beneath the earth for millenia and releases it into the atmosphere, adding to atmospheric concentrations.

Algae, in contrast, remove C02 from the atmosphere.

JKL2

April 9th, 2012
6:24 pm

A couple problem I see here. 1: It goes against the moratorium that Democrats can purchase stock in the oil industry. 2: It goes against the Democrats in that it might crreate a job in the oil industry which has been forbidden.

If this is going to have any chance we need to get some Republicans working on it right away.

They BOTH suck

April 9th, 2012
6:24 pm

Paul @ 6:20

A kid at Kroger agrees. hahahahahahaha………. Even though it was a captive audience. Ole Sinkwich chalked it up to his charisma and has been on cloud 9 all day……

Good for you, Sinkwich

hahahahahahahaha

Don't Forget

April 9th, 2012
6:24 pm

As I asked DF below, GT, can we just snap our fingers and produce “alternative energy” out of thin air?? Can we simply will solutions into existence?? Isn’t new energy production subject to the same economic pressures that any new technology faces??

good timing, I was just getting ready to answer that, lol. I believe in the market but the energy market is unique in that the benefits of the new technology are enjoyed by society and NOT by the individual consumer. Every new technology I can think of is more expensive than the existing technology initially. But the consumers who pay that high price get the benefit of the technology. Buy the newest processer and you get a faster computer, be the first to get an Iphone, DVD player, plasma TV and on and on and you pay more but you enjoy the benefit. After a while the price comes down due to improvements in process, design and mass production. Not true of alternative energy. Put solar panels on your house and the energy you get is no different than if it came from a coal fired plant. That is why it is taking so long to get this stuff going. The consumer may get a warm fuzzy from doing something green but altruism doesn’t go far in a capitalist system. Would we have plasma TV’s if the picture was no better than the old CRT’s. No way.

Bruno

April 9th, 2012
6:25 pm

Algae, in contrast, remove C02 from the atmosphere.

Yes, but by reburning it, that carbon goes right back into the atmosphere vs. eventually going into the ground after its death. In other words, the amount of carbon entering the atmosphere from burning is the same regardless of the source.

The only way to increase the rate of resorption of carbon is either by increasing the plant mass on earth, or by reducing the amount of carbon we burn.

GT

April 9th, 2012
6:26 pm

Bruno no more than you can win a war just by showing your teeth or clean the country of drugs yet it never seems to stop that response from the right. There is a huge need for alternative oil, there is a huge movement against it.

Conspiracy flashed in my mind with the death of Wallace yesterday and the tobacco company or the class action suit won because an auto maker purposely left a gas tank on a car that exploded after they knew better. Sometimes conspiracy happens without the conspirators even knowing they are involved in a conspiracy. First you become afraid of ghost, then you burn the house down next door because it has ghost, other house are burned down because of the same bad information. Not one person realizes their part in the conspiracy and even the guy telling you there are ghost in the house may not realize his part, but there is a conspiracy non the less.

JamVet

April 9th, 2012
6:27 pm

Jm

April 9th, 2012
6:27 pm

I am not a fan of government in the VC biz

That said, the payoff reward is worth someone taking the risk

Private capital in the deal makes one fell better about it

Proud to be me

April 9th, 2012
6:30 pm

How about investing in algae when the spending has been brought under control and the debt brought down!!! Shouldn’t controlling spending (and the national debt) and stopping the continued borrowing from China be top priorities! SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ethical Atheist

April 9th, 2012
6:30 pm

@Bruno – Fossil fuels are carbon stores of dead plants and animals that accumulated over hundreds of thousands of years. They are essentially an inert carbon battery that we convert to active carbon as CO2 thus increasing the carbon on our active ecosystem. If algae take CO2 out of the air and then we return it to the air through combusion it’s an essentially carbon neutral exchange.

Bruno

April 9th, 2012
6:30 pm

DF–Good points about consumer behavior in your 6:24. At some point, however, the price graphs will cross and the “alternative” energy sources will be cheaper. The price of solar panels has already dropped dramatically while the quality has risen steadily. Should be just a matter of time.

P.S. Thank God I sold my JASO stock when I did.

Stephenson Billings

April 9th, 2012
6:31 pm

Jm – I mostly agree….. but then again, according to Obama, the “private market” (ie, capitalism) has never worked here in the US :rolleyes:

Don't Forget

April 9th, 2012
6:32 pm

Bruno
Yes, but by reburning it, that carbon goes right back into the atmosphere vs. eventually going into the ground after its death. In other words, the amount of carbon entering the atmosphere from burning is the same regardless of the source.

Not true. It would not go into the earth it would decompose. Same thing with leaves or firewood. It makes no difference if you burn them or let them rot in terms of atmospheric carbon. No net gain or loss of atmospheric carbon.

Peadawg

April 9th, 2012
6:32 pm

**ALERT**

NOBODY CAN CLEAN THEIR FISH TANKS.

You may be sitting on a gold mine!

Fred ™

April 9th, 2012
6:32 pm

Thanks Mr. billings.

Myanmar Sheere

April 9th, 2012
6:32 pm

Gas prices up.
Employment down.
Idiots to blame,
For electing this clown.

Burma Shave

Jay

April 9th, 2012
6:33 pm

but then again, according to Obama, the “private market” (ie, capitalism) has never worked here in the US

When did he say that, or anything like that, Mr. Billings?

Proud to be me

April 9th, 2012
6:33 pm

Comparing government investing in algae farming with investing in a vaccine for polio is ridiculous!! There is no comparison. There was a polio epidemic — big, big difference!!! Save the government investment in algae farming for a time when our economy is in a better position to do so!!!

JamVet

April 9th, 2012
6:34 pm

“The use of solar energy has not been opened up because the oil industry does not own the sun.” ~Ralph Nader