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Old 02-10-2008, 02:58 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Big Dave View Post
The use of algae as a feedstock gets around two of the problems of biofuels.

First, it is brain-dead to have fuel crops competing for the same resources (arable land, water, nutrients) as your food crops. the food crops will always win out in the end after the price of both food and fuel go up. Algae is probably best grown in transparent tanks in the desert and seawater is just fine for algae.

Secondly, we are in the fossil-fuel biz in the first place because bio-fuel crops let mankind down in the first place. Coal first started getting used in Europe becuase all the trees had been cut down for fuel. Algae grows so fast and is such an efficient collector/storage for solar energy that it actually gives solar a chance to provide transportation fuel.

One of the tricks will be to provide the concentrated CO2 that algae requires for explosive growth.

Another challenge is to efficiently extract the fats and sugars form the algae without destroying their capability of supporting fuel production.
A third "problem" with bio-fuels is that they require human intervention and human labor to harvest.

Algae can be grown without much human intervention. Harvest can be done with a pump and filtration system. Extraction of the nutrients can be done with a machine.

As Dave said, aside spirulina people don't eat Algae. In a world where a billion people are hungry burning food for fuel is obscene.


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Old 02-10-2008, 03:15 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by theclencher View Post
I concur. I imagine how much longer humanity could enjoy the party we have going now, then realize it is the damned breeders that are ruining it for all. OH, but don't dare talk bad about breeders, don't even bring the subject up! For some reason it's prohibited, taboo, forbidden, hush hush, verboten!
Funny thing... most of the industrialized nations have had negative population growth. Were it not for immigration parts of Europe was be denuded of people by now. Japan is experiencing a net negative growth in her people.

One place where people are really vanishing is in Russia. Between disease, alcoholism and repression her people are dying off. I don't think that this was what Marx had in mind at all 160 years ago when he spoke of ending the exploitation of man by man, but the cultural remnants of Marxism continue their mischief in Russia.

One can debate endlessly about "carbon footprint" or analogues in other scarce resources causing a population multiplier effect for industrialized nations. The point is that wealth does not equal gains in population.

Where we see Malthusian growth is where there is poverty, energy scarcity and often political repression and kleptocracy. Since you lack energy to automate and the ability to build equity for your old age you have children. They are your insurance against destitution in old age.

Making people poorer with artificial rationing, bureaucratic solutions and stealing the fruits of their labor seems to me to invite them to go back to that age old solution - big families. No, so far we have not seen this effect in places like Russia or the rest of Europe but I suspect it will happen somewhere.


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Old 02-10-2008, 07:44 AM   #43
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Put your superior intellect to work and calculate how big the population has to get before it even outpaces algae production, then compare that to pop growth, then see how soon we are back at the available resource/population conundrum AGAIN.
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Old 02-11-2008, 03:50 PM   #44
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Since theclencher is determined to reduce population, why fool around with halfway measures. You know for a fact that nukes work to that end.

All I'm saying is that is depopulation is the goal, a lot of people have to die. Let someone else do the dying.
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Old 02-11-2008, 04:28 PM   #45
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I think you take Clencher the wrong way, he is in one way an ultra-conservative. He does not want to keep the status quo (as impossible as that is, can't keep growing AND stay the same AND manage to limited resources), he wants to turn the clock back 50 years.

I find it a nice thing to imagine actually, almost as nice as fishing for bluegill with the kids.
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Old 05-21-2008, 08:24 AM   #46
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Limiting families to 2 kids aims squarely at ethnic minorities, doesn't it since they generally have large families. White Americans aren't reproducing fast enough to replace themselves today. Population growth in the US is coming mainly from immigration, including illegal immigration.

China has been utilizing forced abortions to enforce one child families. The unintended consequence is a surplus of boys and a surfeit of girls. People around the world aspire to American levels of consumption, so who are we to deny them the lifestyle we enjoy here?
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Old 05-21-2008, 04:44 PM   #47
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Hey, here's an idea: How about we discuss algae as a fuel source in this thread!

There's a company in New Zealand growing natural algae on raw sewage and making biodiesel out of it. The algae cleans the sewage so that energy doesn't have to be spent to clean it.
ABC harvests algae directly from the settling ponds of standard Effluent Management (EM) Systems and other nutrient-rich water. The process can be used in many industries that produce a waste stream, including the transport, dairy, meat and paper industries.

The two-step process firstly optimises the ponds' productive capacity, and secondly, determines the most efficient and economic way of harvesting the pond algae. Algae are provided with full opportunity to exploit the nutrients available in the settling ponds, thereby cleaning up the water. The algae are then harvested to remove the remaining contaminant. A last stage of bio-remediation, still in development, will ensure that the water discharge from the process exceeds acceptable quality standards.

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