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ejj said: "... & I don't see federal government involvement anywhere so I bet they are speaking the truth." I don't follow your logic at all. Do you think companies which are 100% privately funded don't have motivation to lie or exaggerate? Was Enron corrupted by federal money? Getting back to the article, I can only hope it is true, but it is such a dramatic increase over current state of the art I'd want to see some independent confirmation of their claims.
This seems to be the hard way to do it. If the algae want to form a film and don't remain in suspension, rather than tinker with magnets and genetic engineering, why not create vats that contain hundreds of horizontally mounted acrylic sheets which get light pumped in from the side and act as light pipes? In the demonstration above, sure there is more surface area covered on the vial on the right, but it doesn't scale well because volume goes up cubically and surface area goes up quadratically.
This means lots of hydraulic fracturing, aka fracking, which means pumping billions of fluid into the ground to force the desired products out of hiding. Although it is mostly water, there are various additives to amplify the effect. This stuff can easily end up in the water table, and there is no way of getting it out. Yes, it is profitable, but is it wise? The people making the money have far more influence than the people who are concerned that we will regret this later, so things have proceeded on the assurance from the industry that this is all perfectly safe.
The flash process consumes only a kW of energy per kilogram of steel processed This makes no sense, of course. kW is a measure of power, not energy. It would be nice to know how much energy it requires compared to normal processing. I'm also interested in how this might affect bicycle design. The overwhelming trend has been towards carbon fiber, which is light weight but is expensive, easily damaged, and prone to catastrophic failure.
"Demand side management would provide a modest annual financial return ... for zero investment" The extra cycling of the car battery has the cost of a shortened battery life. I doubt it is worth the projected $82/year return.
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May 10, 2011