Making alternative fuels from all the above is quite a breakthrough, don’t you think? Algae remains my favorite, especially now that climate change is creating more of it than we know how to deal with, but the concept of making something important out of readily available waste products — especially when we’re suffering from our oil addiction — seems so glorious it should be shouted from the rooftops. Only … we aren’t hearing about it.
I suspect you already know where the cover-up’s going on. You guessed it — Arkansas! Raw Story is reporting that the oil supposedly diverted away from Lake Conway, wasn’t — and it has video to prove it. As well, people in the effected area are reporting health issues and disputing media reports about the who, what, where and when facts, duly reported and caught in the spin cycle.
Meanwhile, Exxon — the #2 most profitable oil conglomerate globally — is behaving with a remarkably heavy hand, sequestering the town of Mayflower away from the prying eyes of the public; even requesting, and receiving, a temporary no-fly zone over the spill, while police screen people entering the area and weeding out reporters.
This ain’t pretty, kids and none of it should come as a surprise.
The larger question — the one we MUST ask and bring pressure to bare on — is what kind of energy can we ethically support? Carbon-based fuels are killing us and, as you’ll find below, R&D has a whole list of possible alternatives that might make all the difference.
Some fine day, coal, nuclear power and petroleum will be considered as antique artifacts from civilizations’ past, as outgrown as garters, bowler hats and chamber pots. It can’t come soon enough.
Here’s Bill McKibbon’s most recent explanation about WHY we can’t wait.
Biofuel breakthrough turns virtually any plant into hydrogen
Stephen C. Webster, Raw Story
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Researchers at Virginia Tech announced Thursday that their latest breakthrough in hydrogen extraction technology could lead to widespread adoption of the substance as a fuel due to its ease of availability in virtually all plant matter, a reservoir previously impossible to tap.
The new process, described by a study in the April issue of the scientific journal Angewandte Chemie, uses a cocktail of 13 enzymes to strip plant matter of xylose, a sugar that exists in plant cells. The resulting hydrogen is of an such a “high purity” that researchers said they were able to approach 100 percent extraction, opening up a potential market for a much cheaper source of hydrogen than anything available today.
“The potential for profit and environmental benefits are why so many automobile, oil, and energy companies are working on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as the transportation of the future,” study author and Virginia Tech assistant professor Y.H. Percival Zhang said in an advisory. “Many people believe we will enter the hydrogen economy soon, with a market capacity of at least $1 trillion in the United States alone.”