Monday, September 26, 2005


The October issue of Discover magazine has an interesting piece on how algae can be used to make hydrogen.

Why should you care? Because that hydrogen from those wonderfully little algae could then be used to power fuel cells in automobiles that don’t use any gasoline.

See normally algae only produce a trace amount of hydrogen. But researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have figured out that by denying the algae sulfates they make lots of hydrogen. They make enough hydrogen that a pool of them 100 miles on all sides could power 200 million fuel cell automobiles.

I like this for two big reasons.

First, it would help end our dependence on ravaging the Earth for petroleum and that would be a good thing. Also it would mostly kill our need for foreign oil, which would be truly amazing.

Second, I like the irony of the big, bad, highly evolved humans being reliant on the most simple of creatures. The irony makes me happy. Pond scum would save us all.

Ain’t science the coolest?


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