Thinking Long Term, In Increments
Algae is so productive—compared to any other known biofuel—that you could use just 1 percent of the U.S. landmass to grow enough algae to create enough fuel to displace 100 percent of U.S. petroleum needs. _GOODIt is easy to lose interest in a fuel that will take at least 10 years to impact the liquid fuels industry. But when that same fuel promises to displace a big portion (15% to 25%) of petroleum fuels within 20 years, smart people will pay attention.
And they are paying attention. In India, in China, in west Texas, and elsewhere, smart people are gambling their time, resources, and resourcefulness on the bet that algal fuels will become the next big oil. Even the US Navy is planning a massive shift from petroleum fuels to algal fuels -- for ships and planes.
But it is expensive to make biodiesel from algae -- between $20 and $80 per gallon, depending upon who you ask. No one can predict when algal diesel and algal gasoline will be competitive with petroleum, because no one can predict the future prices of petroleum with any accuracy.
Before algal oil displaces petroleum oil, it is likely to create an economic impact as animal feed, and as feedstock for chemical and fertilizer production. Ethanol may be the first fuel produced economically from algae __AFP
The popular short attention span, instant gratification way of looking at the near term, is a loser. The skank media, skank culture, and skank politicians try to keep our attention narrowly focused on the parts of the present they want us to see. That keeps a population blind to almost everything that is happening and that is likely to happen.
Then when unanticipated things happen -- both good and bad -- the entire society is stuck in reaction mode.
Scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, inventors, and others cannot afford to let themselves get stuck in the narrow impoverished present that our culture holds out to us. Fortunately, alternative media provides the information arterials to allow alternative cultures to grow and thrive. That means alternative economies.
When the strangulating political correctness of modern government chokes the mainstream economy, alternatives will emerge.
These alternative economies will need lots of energy.