Archive for May, 2011

BARD Algae, Revisited
May 29, 2011

BARD refuses to bow down to the laws of physics!

BARD remains defiant!

Well, it seems that there are enough potential algae investors who have not read my blog that money continues to flow to such ventures as a company that claims that they will produce 8,571,428 gallons of algae oil per acre annually, then when challenged, up their projection to 20,000,000 gallons!

Could these investors be seeing something we are not?

There’s a problem here, and it’s called physics.

Firstly, understand that the energy in 20,000,000 gallons/acre/year vastly outstrips the energy striking an acre in a year.  But BARD claims that they obtain their fantastical yields using artificial lighting, allowing them to outstrip merely stellar fusion-based systems.

But due to fundamental limitations in the physics of photosynthetic molecule interacting it is simply impossible to get more than 11% conversion of light energy to chemical energy, and then taking into account the fact that cells have to produce many things besides oil just to live, even under ideal circumstances no more than 5% has been observed in practice.

So could it ever make sense to take 100 MW and converting it into, at best, 5 MW of fuel production?

Let’s hear from you, the readers, and delve a little deeper…

More soon,