[Vision2020] Boeing Jets Fueled By Algae?

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Sun Sep 9 12:58:35 PDT 2007


Boeing is planning on powering their jets via biofuel, in part to respond to
the global warming problem.  We have heard a lot of hype about ethanol from
corn or sugarcane, and cellulosic biofuel, but these options have serious
disadvantages.  I have read this from other sources, that algae is a
superior means of producing biofuel with fewer of the drawbacks of other


It would take a lot of land to produce enough crops like soybeans to propel
fuel-hungry jets. The increasing use of crops like corn and soybeans to
produce ethanol and biodiesel is already stirring a controversy of its own.
Some argue these biofuels have a negative impact on the environment and on
food prices.

The solution could lie in algae, experts say. These slimy aquatic creatures
not only absorb great quantities of carbon dioxide during their lifetime,
but they are also the source of energy-rich oil that can be turned into
fuel. Lurking in the depths of ponds, they take a lot less space than
conventional horizontal above-ground crops — and they can live in brackish
water. A huge algae bio-reactor — a series of chambers or ponds outfitted to
boost growth — could supply more fuel in less space than other plants.

"Instead of needing all of Florida [for U.S. transport needs], you could
provide the whole world's fleet with biojet fuel if you had a bioreactor the
size of Maryland," Daggett said.
Daggett estimates that a pilot plant for algae-based fuel could be in place
in a year or so. "I think within 10 years we could see biofuel produced from
algae," he said.
Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett
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