Forest Biomass, Algae and Oil

Utilizing forest biomass for energy production is in vogue in the Pacific Northwest right now.  Nippon Industries in Port Angeles, WA is moving toward building a 20 megawatt project.  One recurring theme seems to trip-up this sort of energy solution:  CO2 is a primary by-product of the generation process.  While some argue that burning biomass is still carbon neutral since CO2 is released from the biomass over time anyway, it remains an issue if you’re a member of the camp that wants to reduce CO2 emissions NOW.

One possibility to greatly reduce emissions in biomass energy production is algal synthesis.  MBD Energy is currently working on pilots to turn power plant CO2 emissions into oil, feedstock and water.  The development hurdles are enormous but potentially do-able.

Professor Chris Rhodes of the U. K. had these observations about algae:

Nonetheless, there is a consortium (National Algae Association) in the U.S. that is actively seeking a future in which algae are grown on a large scale and converted to oil-alternative fuels. Certainly, it is likely that algae will become an essential component of the mix of means to keep transportation going by means other than crude oil.

The claims of the NAA are undoubtedly true, that ultimately the supply of petroleum must decline, oil prices will continue to be volatile with knife-edge consequences for the world economy, and a wholesale industry based on algae would provide precious and needed jobs and economic development in the U.S. The approach could be introduced on necessary levels for all nations and even a village “pressure cooker” to provide algal fuels for small communities.

More news at 11 . . . . .