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GMO biofuels?

 
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ceti331



Joined: 27 Aug 2011
Posts: 299

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 7:45 pm    Post subject: GMO biofuels? Reply with quote

does anyone see much hope in GMO biofuels. and GMO manufacture generally (e.g. freakish experiments like silkworms making spider silk..)

If you could go efficiently from sunlight -> via customized algae that would be nice.

I gather there is a big difference in raw energy capture between solar panels and algae/other biomass->biofuel, but what if the gap could be closed.
[ of course the reason we haven't plastered everything in solar panels already is they require scarce minerals to make, whereas algae is based on the most common elements ]

http://fatknowledge.blogspot.com/2008/06/algae-biodiesel-vs-solar-panels.html

i know it's food rather than transport thats the big issue but of course fuel helps
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emordnilap



Joined: 05 Sep 2007
Posts: 11147
Location: way out west

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:56 am    Post subject: Re: GMO biofuels? Reply with quote

ceti331 wrote:
does anyone see much hope in GMO biofuels.


If you want to make money, there's a lot of hope. Wink As for this benighted planet of ours, none.
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PS_RalphW



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 3934
Location: Cambridge

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as I see it, the idea is to develop (by GMO or other means) a strain of algae that spends a large fraction of the available light (or other energy source ) into building up hydrocarbon based energy reserves, in a form that can be easily extracted and converted to liquid fuel.

This works great in laboratory conditions, but when let loose on a larger scale, the reactor vessels invariably become contaminated by natural algae or other critters, which compete for the light and spend less of their available energy on storing hydrocarbon energy and more on growing and reproducing.

The same thing could happen with natural mutations of the GMO algal strain.

You constantly have to clean out and reseed your reactor vessels/ponds with the right strain.
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