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Posts Tagged: "algae"

Toxic algal blooms of today could become the biofuels, fertilizers and antibiotics of tomorrow

At the time of an NIH study in 2011, algae-based biofuel production costs using conventional technologies were anywhere from $300 USD to $2,600 USD per barrel, much higher than the production costs of petroleum, which have since dropped dramatically in recent years. The economic disincentive associated with algae exploration when compared to petroleum is very real, but not the only challenge. Challenges preventing increased biofuel production from algae resources include the need to find more efficient algae harvesting techniques, more cost-effective oil extraction and effective use of land and water. Conquering these challenges should reduce the cost per barrel, but much research is still to be done. Despite the challenges that lie ahead, scientists and innovators remain optimistic.

Florida algal blooms put focus on phosphorus depletion and ultrasonic wave tech

Algal blooms are caused when algae living in seas or freshwater grow uncontrollably because of the presence of nutrients like phosphorus or nitrogen; high temperatures and the underwater penetration of light also play roles in the process. Public health costs, however, are dwarfed by the price tag which algal blooms can put on industries requiring clean water, such as seafood, tourism and restaurants. Every year, harmful algal blooms (HABs), the toxic variety currently seen in Florida, cost about $82 million in lost economic output according to statistics published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Last year, algal blooms on the West Coast caused beaches in Washington State to close, preventing razor clamming at an estimated economic cost of $9 million over one month.

Diary: Reporting Live from the 2010 BIO International Convention

Wednesday was my day to walk through the BIO Exhibit Hall. I had already decided to blow off the Al Gore “media availability.” I am not sure exactly what that is, but as near as I can tell it meant I would get to listen to the first 5 minutes of Al Gore’s keynote address. I’m not a big Gore fan, and there were so many cool innovations to learn about. I love to talk shop and nothing quite captures me like innovation, innovators and those who speak the language of business. So… sorry Mr. Vice President, this nerd decided to join the other nerds in the Exhibit Hall. The decision to skip the Gore media availability was sealed when I learned of an tech transfer iPhone app that needed some investigation. Hey, I can’t help it, I’m an electrical and computer engineer at a BIO Convention?!?! I needed some computer angle somewhere!