Pond Scum Energy

Would You Want It In Your Backyard?

Despite overwhelming public support for legislative action on climate change and the need for technologies that have the potential to generate energy in a “clean” way, we as a nation still have the “not in my backyard” mentality. We may not like coal or love its slightly more hygienic brother, natural gas, but we do appreciate that gas and coal power plants are located away from urban areas, in industrial regions, or in neighborhoods with a high level of poverty. Wind turbines and solar panels, however, need to be more distributed and placed where the wind blows or the sun shines – as long as they are not in our backyards. Well, we can add another technology to that list: pond scum.

You read it right. That filthy green stuff that grows in ponds and lakes is actually a source of potential energy. As it turns out, algae are great sources of oil. With the right amount of genetic engineering, it could produce gasoline, diesel oil or jet fuel. Which means that that nice pond you pass by on your way to work (or perhaps the one that you built your house near) could be a “natural” gas production plant. It’s less harmful to the environment than traditional sources of fossil fuels because the algae pull CO2 out of the atmosphere as it grows. There are enough potential water sites in the country that, if they were filled to capacity with oil-producing algae, they could produce enough to cover the country’s oil needs for a month a year. That is a pretty sizeable deduction, but would you want an algae farm in your backyard?

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Zachary Rosenberg

About Zachary Rosenberg

Zachary Rosenberg is a 2012-2013 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the RAC. He is a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico and graduated from Occidental College in 2011.

One Response to “Would You Want It In Your Backyard?”

  1. Russell Donnelly Reply June 14, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Fine with me.I am annoyed (edited)at how long it is taking to put the offshore wind farm up in my ancestral neck of the woods (Nantucket Sound)-an obvious no-brainer.I enjoy looking here in Presque Isle at the local wind farm in the distance and the turbine at the college while I scout out local small homes that I can try to get as close to net neutral as possible with roof solar,energy conservation etc,while also dreaming of my own wind turbine,while eating local.


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