Summarizes the new green jobs study by the Brookings Institute, noting that the study reports that the driving force behind the U.S. “clean economy” over the last decade has been emerging energy technologies. It is these dozen or so “hot” segments within the larger green economy where most of the growth has been concentrated. This suggests that, in order to build a cleantech economy, the U.S. should put primary emphasis on new, technology-intensive, energy-related sectors.
A detailed review of 12 U.S. based synthetic biology, biofuel & biochemical companies that are developing third and fourth generation biofuels, bioindustrial & household chemical, and food additive products; using synthetic biology to produce engineered microorganisms and specialty enzymatic products. Each company is examined in turn, looking at its financials and the uniqueness and strength of its processes and technology as well as at any important partnerships or alliances that have been formed.
NASA scientists from the Moffet Field laboratory in California have proposed an ingenious process to grow algal biofuels in the ocean enclosed within large floating bags made of a special semi-permeable clear plastic membrane. Growing algae in floating bags in the sea solves several major problems that are faced by current land based methods of algal biofuel production in an elegant low energy, low impact manner. This is the kind of out of the box thinking that is needed in order to grow the green economy. Now, in updated news NASA engineers and industry veterans have launched a company, Algae Systems, to commercialize the process.
The great American car culture is literally running out of gas. Many leading petroleum geologists are warning us that the era of easy cheap oil is over and that we are facing a much steeper rate of depletion than commonly believed. There is nothing that can replace these vast stores of liquid fossil energy that is being pumped out of the ground and drives our car culture. Without cheap plentiful oil the American car culture will rapidly crumble. The impending demise of the car culture and the types of spread out low density living that it has fostered is perhaps the most profound socio-economic earthquake we will have faced in many decades. Will we wisely prepare and build out alternatives to this doomed way of life or we wake up one day unprepared and find that the pumps really have run dry? Talking about giving up on the car culture in America is quite the third rail — no one wants to give up their car — and discussion often veers off into irrational sound bite, talking point filled shouting matches. But the facts are the facts. Cars run on gas and the era of cheap easy oil is over… the world now stands at the top of the oil production curve… at the peak of production. It is like we are all sitting in some great roller coaster ever so slowly rolling perched right at the very top of the precipice. We do not have much time at all to begin re-inventing America and building a green economy that can carry us into the future; if we dilly dally and do nothing events will soon race ahead of us and force drastic sudden change upon us all.
Algenol Biofuels and DOW Announce Pilot Project to Produce Ethanol from CO2, Salt Water, Sunlight and non-Arable Land
Algenol Biofuels, a Florida biofuels startup and DOW Chemical Company announced a pilot-scale algae-based integrated biorefinery that will convert CO2 into ethanol. The patented technology developed by Algenol Biofuels uses CO2, salt water, sunlight and non-arable land to produce ethanol, which can be used as a fuel or as a feedstock, replacing natural gas in the production of plastic. The algae is grown in long plastic covered troughs, called bioreactors that are filled with salt water that has been saturated with carbon dioxide gas, which provides the carbon the algae needs for photosynthesis.
US Department of Energy Secretary Chu announced plans to provide nearly $800 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act targeted towards advancing biofuels research and development and for commercial-scale biorefinery demonstration projects. The $786.5 million in Recovery Act funding a mix of new funding opportunities and additional funding for existing projects, will be allocated over four main areas. Integrated pilot- and demonstration-scale biorefineries projects are to receive the bulk of the funding with the remainder going to commercial-scale biorefinery projects, fundamental research in key areas to advance cutting-edge conversion technologies, including generating more desirable catalysts, fuel-producing microbes, and feedstocks and to ethanol research.