Have you ever avoided a floating glob of green algae while swimming in a lake?
What if that goo could be the new generation of renewable energy? Algae may be our destiny!
Did you know that algae is the most promising and sustainable source of biofuel? It can be grown on land or sea, and even purify waste water. It doubles its mass in a few hours and can be harvested daily, rather than seasonally like conventional crops used as biofuel sources. And best of all, for every gallon of fuel, we will also get 10 pounds (16 kg) of food to go with it!
Algae could potentially produce up to 60 times more oil per acre than land-based plants.
Yes, as our search for new innovations in sustainable biofuels landed on corn and soybeans, all the while algae was right there, hiding in plain sight, on slippery stone paths and in every single pond on earth. And that’s a good lesson for us. What if Mother nature has clever, even simple, solutions to almost all our problems?
Let’s start with something that is usually pretty boring: a graph. But look carefully at the far right column. This is an amazing window into possibility:
What if we can harness this potential?
Let’s dive right into this! Here’s a great little introduction to the wonder on the horizon with DNews host, Trace Dominguez on the interesting youtube channel called Seeker.
I love that good question Trace asks early on in the video: “If nature loves algae so much, why don’t humans?’
Perhaps that points to an almost fatal flaw in the way humans think: we let the “yuck factor” cloud our judgment all too often when we are problem-solving.
Let’s look closer now and dig into how this would actually work. Here’s more:
We’re hoping you know about TED.com and the amazing way TED Talks can change your worldview. Their tagline is “Ideas worth spreading” and that is certainly true. If you’d like to check out our favorite TED Talks of all time, check out our EWC Must-See TED Talk page.
Jonathan Trent is one of those rare scientists who can speak in a way that expands us all. His focus points at a beautiful way to think about the new generation of possibilities all around us. Enjoy this short talk:
So there’s a remarkable insight there. Did you catch it? He set out to find a pathway to innovative production of sustainable biofuels and wound up discovering more opportunities than he’d ever imagined.
What’s really required for sustainability is integration more than innovation… I think there is almost no limit to what we can accomplish if we are radically open and we don’t care who gets the credit. – Jonathan Trent
Maybe that’s where the future awaits us: in a place where we see roadblocks as opportunities.
Getting Past Our Limited Thinking
How many new innovations are just waiting to be discovered by an evolved way of thinking?
Here are a few articles we’ve written that contain extraordinary insights but might be overlooked because of our biases. There are true wonders here! Check these out:
After doing the research for this article, we couldn’t help but relax a little. This journey into the promise of pond scum makes it hard not to marvel at all the problems that can be solved by just having a solid, unbiased look at Mother Nature’s design book.
Stay open, curious and optimistic!
~ Dr. Lynda
Want to feed your “inner science nerd?”
One never knows where a curious mind might end up! The line of research we celebrated today on EWC demonstrates that science for the sake of simple inquiry is one of our most valuable pursuits. Here’s a great article that celebrates and explains why that is:
- “We Can Power The World With Algae!” YouTube. Seeker, 29 Sept. 2016. Web. 02 Mar. 2018. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExOXF1x3N1g&feature=youtu.be>. ↩
- “How Algae Could Change The Fossil Fuel Industry.” YouTube. Seeker Stories, 29 Sept. 2016. Web. 02 Mar. 2018. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCNkmi7VE0I&feature=youtu.be>. ↩
- “Jonathan Trent: Energy from Floating Algae Pods.” YouTube. TED, 28 Sept. 2012. Web. 02 Mar. 2018. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-HE4Hfa-OY&feature=youtu.be>. ↩