Friday, May 23, 2008

More algae economy, again with the 10% of New Mexico idea. I'm not categorically against this idea, in fact I think it's really worth pursuing. But my concerns about water remain unanswered. This is not the first energy magic bullet I have seen whose advocates blithely neglect hydrological considerations. The oil shale everyone's so fired up about in Utah and Colorado requires substantial amounts of water for processing. Those happy Canadians have a great, big, mostly unallocated river to work with; Utah and Colorado have literally zero water to spare. And one must also consider the water needs of everyone who will move to the area to work on such a project. Perhaps the algae technology can be rigged to conserve its water; but it's an engineering issue which seriously needs to be addressed.

Update: As Jack comments below, apparently the system can work entirely on brackish water. Popular Mechanics lists freshwater usage for the process as zero. Excellent!

5 comments:

Hanlon said...

Apropos of nothing in your post, here are two titles I think you would be greatly interested in: "The Bridge on the Drina" by Ivo Andric and "The Memoirs of Marshal Mannerheim" By Gustaf Mannerheim.

Peculiar said...

Thanks! I've been wanting to read Bridge on the Drina for a while now. Never heard of Mannerheim though. What's his story?

Hanlon said...

I have a copy of "Bridge" I could lend you. Barstow is 6 hours from here, might be better if I mailed it. Mannerheim is a Finn who served in the Imperial Russian Army during Russo-Japanese War & WWI then was Commander-in-Chief of the Finnish Army during Finland's War of Liberation and Regent of Finland for a year afterwards. He also took a trek across central Asia and collected Ethnographic info for Russia and Finland. Sort of a Russian gentleman's Lewis & Clark expedition on a small scale.

Steve Bodio said...

I have a DVD of Mannerheim's Asia stuff Sari sent us (in English-- all Fiins seem to speak it.)

jack said...

I heard a story on the radio this morning that they're planning to use "brackish water," which apparently they have in abundance somewhere around Carlsbad. I wasn't able to find a link to it though.