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James Greyson

Jun 22, 2012
05:47

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Many thanks for adding this Nick! Do you have a link with info about how carbon-negative algae biofuels can be? I guess if the fuels get burnt then they're no longer carbon-negative? And if atmospheric carbon must be cut below today's levels then can we really encourage burning of shale oil and other fossil fuels? Have added a proposal name and your name. Hope that's ok. If you'd like to encourage others to help with the proposal you could select the 'Invite others to help' option in the admin tab (that's visible when you're signed in). Then hopefully people will ask to join the editing team. You could also invite help by adding text in the proposal if you wish. James

Nick Carter

Jun 22, 2012
06:44

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James, I appreciate the support! AlgaeMan is only a couple weeks old and hes been getting a great deal of attention. There is math to be done, but the fundamental concept is sound, its merely a matter of scale. How big does this machine need to be in order to effectively terra-form our atmosphere. Its a closed system, there's only so much oil, coal, and gas in the ground to be burned, so properly scaled one should be able to build a machine capable of recapture and storage. Algae yields the most biofuel stock per acre of any source per http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algae_fuel ... "Algae cost more per unit mass (as of 2010, food grade algae costs ~$5000/tonne), due to high capital and operating costs,[8] yet are claimed to yield between 10 and 100 times more fuel per unit area than other second-generation biofuel crops." Another interesting tidbit, "The United States Department of Energy estimates that if algae fuel replaced all the petroleum fuel in the United States, it would require 15,000 square miles (39,000 km2) which is only 0.42% of the U.S. map,[11] or about half of the land area of Maine. This is less than 1⁄7 the area of corn harvested in the United States in 2000.[12] However, these claims remain unrealized, commercially. According to the head of the Algal Biomass Organization algae fuel can reach price parity with oil in 2018 if granted production tax credits." Algae is the original petroleum stock, so an optimum storage medium that will do well in storage where time and heat can work some magic. As for encouraging fossil fuel usage, the market will mitigate this over time especially when domestic shale gas will decimate the what's left of the oil market. If history is any guide, man will harvest the last tree before regulating itself so we should assume that fossil fuels will be the norm globally for decades and plan accordingly. Our desert midwest has miles of sunshine and as a former sea, giant salt domes. Water needs to be pumped which is the biggest ongoing logistic challenge. The rest is large scale farming and millions of man/hrs.

James Greyson

Jul 26, 2012
06:46

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Thanks Nick. I didn't see info on the wikipedia link about how carbon negative algae fuels could be but let's keep an eye out for that. I guess the choice is still whether to use the algae for seqestration (carbon-negative) or for fuels that get burnt (not carbon negative)? Salt domes could be ideal for the sequestration option if a dry stable product could be made. The wikipedia quote about second generation fuels might not apply to algae, which I thought is primarily a 1st generation fuel since the main energy output is from oils within the algae? 2nd gen is fuels like bioethanol from fermenting cellulose in biomass like crop residues? Did you have a particular algae technology in mind? Have you considered distributing the equipment to match the distributed sources of nutrients or distributed needs for fuel? This past proposal for example, Blueprint for a Sustainable Planet (https://www.climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/4/planId/14632 ) proposed a dual use for algae PBRs as part of buildings. In your scenario of continuing fossil fuel burning is the plan to raise revenue from a tax on fuel sales to cover the cost of offsetting all the carbon with algae sequestering? If so wouldn't it be cheaper just to replace the fossil fuels with algae fuels?

Nick Carter

Jul 26, 2012
07:44

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The viability of the sequestered algae as fuel stock is secondary to my single priority of lowering carbon PPM to safe levels as fast as humanly possible. I live in FL, which was the second coolest state after Alaska the other day. We are nearing (or have passed) the Clathrate Gun tipping point which is a global extinction event that would destroy most if not all life on earth for millions of years. Preventing this eminent chain reaction is what AlgaeMan's Carbon Sink proposal is all about. We must offset 100 years of human activity and we must do so very soon. The rest is details for engineers and governments to sort out. Priority one is to remove CO2 from our skies and put safely underground from which it came.

Dennis Peterson

Jul 26, 2012
09:15

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If you're still using hydrocarbon fuels for transportation, you have essentially the same net result: either burn fossil fuels and sequester the carbon with algae, or burn algae fuel to avoid burning fossil fuels in the first place. It's just a matter of what's cheaper or more efficient. (Of course if you're growing so much algae that you can go net-negative, you're going to sequester at least some of it.)

Phill Greatbatch

Sep 10, 2012
06:23

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I Support your proposal Nick, I will give the matter some thought, but just to add there are now algae bioplastics in development so storage need not be underground but anywhere where plastic is used. Also Algae production costs can be brought down once the infrared strain of algae recently discovered is farmed.

Nick Carter

Sep 10, 2012
06:16

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Thanks for the support! Plastics and other applications are surely abundant, but when it comes to planetary scale sequestration, underground is a likely necessity for the algae sink which can serve as a massive reservoir for environmentally safe uses going forward. The obvious urgency to me is to stop the warming cycle before clathrate gun burps us to extinction. We have less than a decade in my view.
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