Innovation and Creative Thinking Part 2

Universities are exploring different energy solutions. Common algae is being synthesized to create oil for biofuel. According to the National Algae Association, algae’s “a promising source of renewable oil that can be used for a variety of fuels (biofuel, hydrogen, jet fuel, bio gasoline).”
According to Pure Energy Systems Wiki neutral algae biofuel is non-toxic, biodegrades quickly” and is capable of producing 30 times more oil per acre than crops used for biofuels! Though still too expensive for commercial viabitily, in 2006 megacorporation Chevron began a five-year biofuel research alliance with U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory to explore algae’s use. Called the “crop of the future”, UC Berkeley is working with International Energy of Canada to produce hydrogen from algae.


Another unusual energy source is popping up across the country. The town of Sanford, Florida is building a plant to convert wastewater biosolids into synthetic gas (syngas). Sludge from wastewater treatment will be converted, using a biomass gassifier, into renewable “green” energy. The town thus saves on disposal transportation charges and pricey purchases of natural gas.

According to Paul Moore, Sanford Utility Director, “Sanford will save $9,000,000 over the 20-year life of our contractwww.greenenergy/ With such substantial anticipated savings, places like San Diego, Elmont, NY, and Alameda County (in the San Francisco Bay area) are scrambling to take advantage of this outstanding technology. Adding to the appeal, large systems can produce extra energy that would then be sold back to utility companies. 


Creative solutions like these have deep roots in our country’s history. It’s said that when Henry Ford visited Thomas Edison one day, he found it hard to push the front gate open at Edison’s yard. Chiding the great inventor about his rusty gate, Edison replied Ford had just pumped a gallon of water out of the well.

This waste-to-energy technology is a fast growing movement. Its roots go back to the 1980’s, and include southern Massachusetts’ SEMASS (Southern Energy of Massachusetts), whose gigantic resource recovery facility reclaims recyclable materials from waste and generates energy.

These innovative energy solutions – green algae and human waste – are born out of creative thinking. What else does the future hold? Perhaps your imagination has the next great idea.

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