The implications of "pond scum" technology

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Our "mainstream" news agencies are dangerously misleading us again! (May 2008)

While in a hospital waiting room on 10 Jan 08, I saw a brief video news clip describing how scientists in the southwestern United States were developing a technology to grow and extract oil from "pond scum" (also referred to as "algae"). They are growing the stuff in tall arrays of clear plastic bag-like tubes exposed to sunlight. Someone in that video claimed that whereas our present biofuel crops like corn, soybeans, and canola can only produce 30 to 125 gallons of oil per acre per year; this pond-scum technology can produce 10,000 gallons of diesel oil per acre per year. This is because the pond scum algae grows so fast, and also because it utilizes land space in a three-dimensional manner rather than the essentially two-dimensional manner of normal food crops. The mere fact that this technology could produce at least TWO ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE more oil per acre per year than our present biofuel technologies got my attention immediately. Someone in that video clip even estimated that pond scum farms using an equivalent of about a tenth of the desert land in New Mexico could produce enough oil to meet the transportation needs of the entire United States of America! Pond scum technology is as significant an advancement in the realm of civilian energy technology as the development of the atomic bomb was in the realm of weapons technology. In this case, the pond scum "green bomb" is God's answer to the petrol-biased "analyses" that have dominated the thinking of our mainstream news agencies for decades. I also recognized that this technology would NOT divert the growing of food crops to feed automobiles rather than people (as is presently happening in many countries), and that because the growing pond scum consumes such huge amounts of carbon dioxide, this technology could not only help us meet our energy needs, it could also help us reduce the green-house gases in our atmosphere at the same time.

This really is BIG NEWS! It means that, like the Bush Administration, the days of huge profits for fossil fuel oil companies are also numbered, because the time is coming when we won't need them any more! Perhaps that's why those companies are price-gouging us as much as they can (while they still can) as evidenced by their huge profits and their diminished willingness to use those profits to find and develop new fossil oil producing sites. It may also help explain why BP, Shell, and possibly others have been reneging lately on commitments they had made to help develop renewable sources of energy.

Anyhow, as soon as I got home that day, I logged onto the Internet to see if I could find that video clip in order to write down the details. I checked the video clips being offered for review by CNN, MSNBC, etc., but I couldn't find it-anywhere. It appeared to me that perhaps one or more executives of our "Big Oil" companies (and perhaps some executives of our present biofuel companies) may have seen that video and immediately used their dollars and influence to suppress it. So I started searching the Internet to find articles describing this technology and found that there was no way that they could completely censor the potential of pond scum technology, because numerous articles had already been published on this topic. The "Pond Scum Genie" is already "out of the bottle."

a. BUSINESS WEEK published an article by Gail Edmondson on 21 Nov 07 that pointed out, among other things, that "...algae farms don't require huge volumes of fresh water, nor do they tie up land the could be used for food crops, they can flourish in saltwater or even waste water and grow up to 40 times faster than other plants." She also pointed out that Chevron, Honeywell, and Boeing had started up algae business units, and that Martin Tobias, CEO of Imperium Renewables in Seattle, estimates that once production-level pond scum farms are created, he will be able to produce fuel derived from algae for about $1.70 per gallon.

b. As far back as 20 October 2000, "The Osgood File" (CBS Radio Network) reported that University of California Berkeley professor Tasios Melis had found that pond scum produces hydrogen gas when deprived of sulfur during photosynthesis. So pond scum technology could become a huge and economical means for producing hydrogen as well. Hydrogen, of course, can be used to power many things (including electric automobiles that emit nothing but water vapor in their exhaust pipes).

c. A www.renewableenergyworld.com article by Shelly Schiender on 26 January 2007 quotes Biologist Nick Rancis saying that his strain of algae, "produces enormous amounts of fat: up to 50 percent of its body weight. And while producing oil from soy or canola generally requires a three to five months growing season, some algae are so prolific, over half a batch can be harvested for oil production every day. They can double or triple overnight." Shelly quotes Colorado-based entrepreneur Jim Sears as saying, "To conserve water, the growing troughs are sealed. The algae grows under a clear plastic lid that allows in plenty of sunlight, but keeps the water the plants are floating in from evaporating. It is about 1,000 times more efficient to produce fuel from algae than it is from an irrigated crop. There's enough water even in the desert from natural rainfall to support this technology." Then she quotes Bryan Willson, who directs the Engines and Energy Conversion Lab, saying "We believe the technology could be cost competitive with $50 a barrel oil, which is basically where we are right now. Even last year, we were up to $70 a barrel." Now, a little over a year latter, the market price for a barrel for fossil fuel oil is already over $100.00!

WOW! Why doesn't EVERYONE in the United States who is concerned about the rapidly rising prices of oil and gas know about this? Why haven't our religious organizations been praising the Lord for giving us this energy "manna from Heaven"? Why haven't our House or Senate Congressional Committees been holding hearings on this issue which CRITICALLY AFFECTS the lives of nearly ALL OF US! Why isn't our government initiating a program like the "Manhattan Project" (which developed the first atomic bombs) in order to liberate us from our dependence on fossil fuel oil? Instead, our government has been spending hundreds of billions of dollars and killing large numbers of people in order to "protect our oil interests" in the Middle East.

In April 2008 (on the 13th I think), I discovered that someone at CNN.com (who evidently takes Jesus Christ's teachings about loving our neighbors as ourselves more seriously than many) had sneaked that 10 Jan 08 video clip (or perhaps a revised version of it) back into the list of video clips that could be viewed on CNN.com. I immediately pulled out my video camera and recorded a copy of it before it could disappear again. Narrated by Miles O'Brian, CNN, El Paso, Texas, it showed pretty much what I remembered from the clip I saw on 10 Jan 08 (the Research Director was Glenn Kurtz, and he called his process "Vertagrow"), but in this version of the video he claimed that he could produce 100,000 gallons of bio diesel fuel per acre per year (i.e. THREE orders of magnitude more than present biofuel crops). That's a WOW times WOW times WOW!

It requires big corporations with "big money" to locate, drill, extract, transport, and sell oil, coal, and natural gas to people. Pond scum technology is SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFERENT! It will not only provide a perpetually renewable source of energy, but because that energy comes directly from the sun, it will also make it possible for homes in many parts of the world to be equipped with pond scum technology devices that will not only meet all of the home owner's electrical needs, but also most of the owner's diesel or electric automobile needs as well--without having to "transport" anything! (Hint: There is no longer any economically justifiable need to build new nuclear power plants either.) Eventually, fossil fuel oil producers will only exist in our history books, because they will literally "price themselves out of business."

There are many "I-have-no-God-but-money" types in America who are well aware that the Bush Administration's public justifications for invading Iraq were a pack of lies, but they have nevertheless continued to support Bush's DEADLY decisions and policies, because they believe that "America needs Iraq's oil." But this dubious premise of theirs is likewise NOT TRUE! And yet, TIME Magazine helped to perpetuate that myth in a 28 Apr 08 "Special Report" entitled, "Why Green Is the New Red, White, and Blue" by Bryan Walsh. His article contained some worthwhile observations but recommended an artificial carbon taxing solution which will not only be difficult to implement and enforce, it will also mislead people by creating an illusion that the world's presently deteriorating fossil fuel extraction and distribution system is fixable. In fact, the claim that Walsh makes to premise his entire article is "As long as the sky is free, renewable energy will never beat fossil fuels", which is simply NOT TRUE! As pointed out above, pond scum oil has ALREADY been shown to be more cost competitive than fossil fuel oil. It appears to me that one or more of the people on TIME Magazine's staff may have recognized this problem with the premise in Walsh's article, because on page 53 they sneaked in clip on "PetroAlgae" which they correctly identified as a "NEXT-GENERATION BIOFUEL."

According to an 04 May 08 CNN article by Rachel Oliver, Britain's leading economist Sir Nicholas Stern predicts that even with the advances being made now in renewable energies, by 2050 half of the world's energy needs will still be served by fossil fuels. Is Mr. Stern totally unaware of the development of pond scum energy technology, or is he simply ignoring it in order to help reinforce fossil fuel corporation efforts to "spin the issue away"?

It's clear to me that in general, we are NOT being told the truth about this issue and its implications by either our "mainstream" news media OR our politicians, and most of us are already paying an increasingly heavy price for this in many ways. This issue will NOT "go away." The sooner we make a nation-wide effort to put this technology into full-scale production, the better off we will all be.

So I have a question for all those who are reading this article RIGHT NOW!

Unfortunately, America has MANY "I-have-no-God-but-money" types who have no real qualms about making decisions that are likely to either kill you or otherwise ruin your life, or the lives of people related to you, or the lives of your friends, or the lives of people related to them, or the lives of other people throughout the rest of the world--all for no reason that can be validly verified other than their satanic desire to pursue present or future financial gain regardless of the consequences for others. Are YOU going to allow them to get away with suppressing the truth regarding these pond scum "green bomb" implications as well?

"For the love of money is the root of all evil..." (1 Tim 6:10 KJV)

"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." (I Jn 4:16 RSV)

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Rom 8:28 KJV)

(a.k.a. "one grain of salt")

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Last modified on Wednesday, March 12, 2008