"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Algae Power

Following up on something I noted before, here's another hot Algae Biodesil Plan:

Bolted onto the exhaust stacks of a brick-and-glass 20-megawatt power plant behind MIT's campus are rows of fat, clear tubes, each with green algae soup simmering inside.

Fed a generous helping of CO2-laden emissions, courtesy of the power plant's exhaust stack, the algae grow quickly even in the wan rays of a New England sun. The cleansed exhaust bubbles skyward, but with 40% less CO2 (a larger cut than the Kyoto treaty mandates) and another bonus: 86% less nitrous oxide.

After the CO2 is soaked up like a sponge, the algae is harvested daily. From that harvest, a combustible vegetable oil is squeezed out: biodiesel for automobiles. Berzin hands a visitor two vials — one with algal biodiesel, a clear, slightly yellowish liquid, the other with the dried green flakes that remained. Even that dried remnant can be further reprocessed to create ethanol, also used for transportation.

This will work, people. Algae and other photoplankton are what handle 90% of our C02 as it is, not trees. I love trees and soybeans and all, but if we're looking to do some biodynamic power stuff, Algae's a more likely winner:

One key is selecting an algae with a high oil density — about 50% of its weight. Because this kind of algae also grows so fast, it can produce 15,000 gallons of biodiesel per acre. Just 60 gallons are produced from soybeans, which along with corn are the major biodiesel crops today.

Fuck fuel cells, let's go single-cell. I dunno what it will take to get corporate America on board. Probably a genetically-engineered (2% more efficient, but more importantly: patented) strain, but whatever. I'm still planning for that outhouse to cesspool to biodeisel set up in my mountain fortress, but I think an ambitious public-works program to get this ball rolling would but just what the doctor ordered.

In 1990, Sheehan's NREL program calculated that just 15,000 square miles of desert (the Sonoran desert in California and Arizona is more than eight times that size) could grow enough algae to replace nearly all of the nation's current diesel requirements.

"I've had quite a few phone calls recently about it," says Mr. Sheehan. "This is not an outlandish idea at all."

Maybe not, but I'm gonna keep pimping it.