Sunday, March 01, 2009


Algae Biodiesel

Amid all the hype about renewables, there is rarely an admission of how little we can actually expect. Here is an article that is a shade more honest. Apparently it now costs about $33 a gallon to make algae biodiesel. Of course, refinements and improvements can bring the price down somewhat, but won’t be $1 a gallon. At least here we have an admission of the high energy inputs and very high hurdles to be surmounted. Still, renewables must ultimately replace fossil fuels if they are to really be viable. So far, they are all dependent on fossil fuels.

In fact, that still seems to be a giant blind spot in the thinking of renewable energy proponents. There is another good example of that blind spot in this article: “By exploiting waste heat at adjacent utilities… the price can probably be brought down to $5.50 a gallon.” Sounds good if you don’t think too deeply about it, but where does the waste heat come from? Of course those “adjacent utilities” burn fossil fuels.

So ultimately this is going nowhere. There will come a time when coal and oil will no longer be economically viable. Those who propose to keep industrial civilization going had better find replacements for fossil fuels, and do it quickly.

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