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Let's hear it for pond scum !!!!

by Angeline Booher / June 4, 2008 9:37 PM PDT
Any hope for relief from soaring gas prices was dashed by hurricane Katrina. But as this ScienCentral News video explains, scientists say a future replacement may be found in an unlikely place ? your local pond.

"We envision in the future algal farms producing hydrogen much in the same way that we have farms to produce our food," says Michael Seibert, a biologist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Working with colleagues at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Seibert is trying to re-engineer algae at the molecular level to jack up hydrogen production.

But first, his team has to jump a major hurdle. Like all plants, algae produce hydrogen along with oxygen when converting sunlight into energy during a process called photosynthesis. "Oxygen is an inhibitor of the enzyme hydrogenase," a protein that drives the chemical reaction in cells that allows them to start producing hydrogen, explains Seibert.

he U.S. government is inching towards giving more funding to researchers like Seibert. In 2003 the Bush administration earmarked $1.2 billion for hydrogen-fuel research. But for now, the science simply isn't there yet. Seibert admits that in his approach, "we have to improve the efficiencies by at least a factor of ten and perhaps even by a factor of a hundred before a commercially viable system might be considered." That's assuming a few lucky breaks, he says, predicting a different picture in ten to 20 years.


It's possible that the future fuel problems will be solved by those who think out of the box !!!!

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Some good may come from mortgage foreclosures?
by JP Bill / June 4, 2008 9:44 PM PDT

Scum forming on swimming pools of abandoned houses.

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Small scale
by Willy / June 5, 2008 12:00 AM PDT

I recall a SC. Ch. show of algae being used to create CO2 and its gets placed in pipes that help generate oil pressure in older oil fields. The ideas are profound and in some cases practical but it always gets bogged down by the current energy in place already. the competition just will kill it or somehow defer it. Also helpful bacteria and/or algae help clean sewer water and the likes as it gets treated for re-use back into the drinking water supply(Las Vegas does this).

What has troubled me are the oil refineries that produce all that stuff, burn excess gases(you've seen it on oil crackers) to reduce pressure and burn it off. While can't they just siphon "some of it" and produce whole electrical or internal use and maybe any excess to outside electric grid. maybe they already have, but I rarely hear mention of it. I th8ink my cow produces methane, so if i can re-gene a cow maybe hydrogen??? Wink ------Willy

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One "natural" success comes to mind.
by Angeline Booher / June 5, 2008 1:43 AM PDT
In reply to: Small scale

Penicillen was derived from the Penicillium mold.

In other words, a natural substance doing it's natural thing, so to speak.

I reckon it "made it to market" because there wasn't a huge conglomerate already supplying a product to serve the need. If there had been at the time a medication made from oil that killed bad bugs in the body, antibiotics would never have been part of our vocabulary.

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It took a while...
by J. Vega / June 5, 2008 2:43 AM PDT

Fleming discovered penicillin in 1929, but it wasn't until the late 1930's when they isolated the active substance. It was in the early 1940's that they figured out a way to produce it in quantity. With WWII and the events leading up to it there was a much greater need for an antibiotic, and they were trying, but it took a while till they developed a way to produce it in quantity.

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Did they have it in WW2?
by James Denison / June 5, 2008 2:44 PM PDT
In reply to: It took a while...

I didn't think it replaced sulfa drugs till Korean war.

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Yes, they did...
by J. Vega / June 5, 2008 3:28 PM PDT

They had it in WWII. Check out this link:

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Just barely in time it seems.
by James Denison / June 5, 2008 8:50 PM PDT
In reply to: Yes, they did...
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