Dirty Coal And Algae Fuel: The Start Of A Beautiful Friendship

It seems like another chapter in a well-worn Northwest tradition.  But the continued hand-wringing by environmentalists and coal-port supporters has, in some measure, elevated environmental assessment beyond the tired partisan political talking points.  A recent set of articles in the Pacific Northwest media revealed that a former Executive Director of Washington Conservation Voters is now working with coal-port proponents and is, naturally, in favor of shipping coal to China via Northwest ports.  The Seattle Times article is linked here.

To add even more fuel to the fires of debate, more and more sources, including Cascadia, are pointing out the potential “clean” uses of coal.  One of the more promising uses involves algal synthesis.  You can probe old posts about algae here at Cascadia or explore a newer article by Co.EXIST that mirrors other articles in regard to carbon capture and coal powered energy:

“At first glance, a marriage between algae and coal-fired power plants seems unlikely. One is a natural source of healthy fish oils and biofuel; the other spews greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. But OriginOil, a company that helps algae growers with the incredibly difficult process of extracting oil from their product for commercial use, is bringing the two together as part of a carbon capture project at a coal plant in Australia–and it could be an alternative to risky and expensive underground carbon capture and storage (CCS) schemes.”  The remainder of the article is here.

It’s like a fresh, rain-washed morning in the Northwest when the discussion of these important environmental and economic issues is elevated beyond the simplicity of a “D” or “R” check box.