[permaculture] good news about pond scum

Keith Johnson keithdj at mindspring.com
Sat Jan 13 23:17:33 EST 2007

Pond Scum Offers Promise for Biodiesel
January 11th, 2007 @ 8:54pm
Ed Yeates Reporting
A new fuel for your car - made not from oil that comes from the ground,
but scum! That's what could happen as Utah researchers make plans to
build what could be the most unusual refinery ever.
Oil refineries, we know what they look like and what they do, but this
may not even fit the word "refinery" anymore.
Utah State University researchers are looking at biodiesel fuel made
from pond scum. That's right, the green, slimy stuff that grows
virtually anywhere appears to produce as good, if not a better, quality
biodiesel fuel than soybeans.
Lance Seefeldt , USU Biofuels Program: "For soybeans, you get about 48
gallons per acre. And right now, the idea is for algae, we could get
about 10-thousand gallons of oil per acre. So you can see it's about
200 times more oil per acre compared to soybeans."
Instead of prime agricultural land needed for soybeans or corn, pond
scum can be grown rapidly on meshes or grids inside huge structures,
fed by rooftop solar dishes. It's not a refinery, but a bioreactor.
Bright light comes through fiber optics from one single solar dish on
the roof of the lab. Now, imagine what thousands of dishes could do in
a massive bioreactor. Bioreactors built not on productive farmland, but
on remote desert soils with thousands of grids inside growing the pond
scum from solar energy.
"For every square meter of parabolic dish, we can illuminate 10 square
meters of algae surface."
Byard Wood, USU Biofuels Program: "We're talking about thousands of
acres with these kinds of bioreactors to produce in quantity the amount
of liquid fuel that we need to make an impact."
 From prototypes, to a fuel, to the pump, the technology appears so
promising it's got the backing of the Utah Science and Technology
Research Initiative to the tune of six million dollars in seed money.
The first large experimental facility would be built in Utah. USU
expects pond scum biodiesel fuels could become cost competitive by

Keith Johnson
"Be fruitful and mulch apply."
Permaculture Activist Magazine
PO Box 5516, Bloomington, IN 47408
(812) 335-0383
also Patterns for Abundance Design & Consulting
also Association for Regenerative Culture
also APPLE-Bloomington (Alliance for a Post-Petroleum Local Economy) It's a small world after oil.
also Bloomington Permaculture Guild

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