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!
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.