Thursday, 13 August 2015

My argument against algal biofuels

There's a paradox here. Many nuclear power supporters have scant faith in biomass (too resource intensive). Anti-nuke climate campaigners (aka 100%-RE advocates) may not like biomass much but they're surely not against it with the same fervency seen in their anti-fracking and anti-FF campaigns. Biomass, is actually responsible for most EU renewable energy (biomass was 64% of European Union renewable energy in 2013). In my experience, support is reversed for algal biofuel. Greens (the CC, 100%-RE people) oppose it because they know it means supporting GMOs. Techno/nuke supporters are for it! Am I the only one who's very skeptical of biofuels?

  1. It's resource intensive; more so than most biomass. It will have a big environment footprint, in terms of land/sea area and pesticides.
  2. We don't need biofuel. We can make synthetic fuels from electricity or heat; made with nuclear power. E.g. Ammonia.
  3. It's, by no means, guaranteed to work. The feasibility and ease of growing hundreds of thousands of square miles of algal monoculture is greatly overestimated (mainly by people who've never done anything like that before). In terms of scale it rivals geo-engineering projects.

Wait a minute, no one has ever done anything like that before.


  • RE: renewable energy
  • FF: Fossil fuel
  • CC: climate campaigner
  • GMO: genetically modified organism

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