Email of the day on cyanobacteria and biofuel
Comment of the Day

February 25 2016

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on cyanobacteria and biofuel

Have you' received any comments on developments with Cyanobacteria? The website of Joule Unlimited is intriguing. There is a short video which is worth watching. It is early days with this technology but I wonder if any of your subscribers have any realistic ideas about the potential

Eoin Treacy's view

Thank you for this question which I suspect is of general interest to the Collective. If subscribers have any additional information we would be glad to see it.

You might remember Exxon Mobil invested about $600 billion in algae experiments in 2009 only to lose interest after a couple of years, as fears about peak oil faded. Using algae as the catalyst for producing biofuels was a popular idea almost a decade ago but the problem for companies like Joule is their process is only efficient when oil is above $50. That is just not low enough for widespread roll out in the current environment. 

The amount of research underway to develop additional technologies to achieve abundant clean energy suggests it is only a matter of time before greater efficiencies can be achieved. Generally speaking major innovation in the energy sector tends to occur in a low price environment because people need to come up with new ideas to survive.

Cyanobacteria are one possible contender but artificial photosynthesis is currently getting more attention. 

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