Monday, October 15, 2007

Algae:. First biodiesel, then ethanol, now its the silver bullet hope for CO2 sequestration.

The US Department of Energy just put out a release about algae research showing amazing promise. Exciting stuff it turns out as they have mapped a sequence of genes responsible for the conversion of CO2 into sequestered carbon (as well as a host of other potential applications).

"The genome analysis of a tiny green alga has uncovered hundreds of genes that are uniquely associated with carbon dioxide capture and generation of biomass. Among the 15,000-plus genes revealed in the study are those that encode the structure and function of the specialized organelle that houses the photosynthetic apparatus, the chloroplast, which is responsible for converting light to chemical energy. The genome also provides a glimpse back through time to the last common ancestor of plants and animals."

This research is also well discussed in the most recent copy of Science magazine. I took a look at the abstract. To much science for my limited attention span but still enough to spark your imagination.
Shown is an MIT Algae Bioreactor. If you've ever wondered what one looked like, here it is. Pretty much they all look like variations of the same thing. Similar to older solar systems only green. For more about MIT's bioreactor shown and a YouTube interview go to this Sustainable Design Update post.

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