Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Real Problem with Obama’s Algae Quote | Innocent Bystanders

The Real Problem with Obama's Algae Quote

President Obama has been getting some flak from the right for suggesting using algae to replace oil:

"Believe it or not, we could replace up to 17% of the oil we import for transportation with this fuel that we can grow right here in America," Obama said.

In his defense, a reasonably scientific study did claim just that: National Microalgae Biofuel Production Potential and Resource Demand, by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

However, there are a few leetle problems with it, which PNNL themselves pointed out:

  • It would take acreage equivalent to the area of South Carolina to generate that much oil
  • It takes 350 gallons of water for every one gallon of oil you produce
  • Meeting that water requirement would take 25% of our irrigation capacity
  • It takes even more water than that unless you use lakefront and oceanfront real estate

This was a very preliminary "what-if" type study that happened to use a better geographic database than earlier studies. There's a long way to go before we can even start thinking about getting serious about significant oil from algae.

But this President doesn't concern himself with those details – if it sounds good, why, that's the plan.

Sent from my iPhone

No comments:

Post a Comment