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The Real Problem with Obama’s Algae Quote February 25, 2012

Posted by geoff in News.
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President Obama has been getting some flak from the right for suggesting using algae to replace oil:

“Believe it or not, we could replace up to 17% of the oil we import for transportation with this fuel that we can grow right here in America,” Obama said.

In his defense, a reasonably scientific study did claim just that: National Microalgae Biofuel Production Potential and Resource Demand, by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

However, there are a few leetle problems with it, which PNNL themselves pointed out:

  • It would take acreage equivalent to the area of South Carolina to generate that much oil
  • It takes 350 gallons of water for every one gallon of oil you produce
  • Meeting that water requirement would take 25% of our irrigation capacity
  • It takes even more water than that unless you use lakefront and oceanfront real estate

This was a very preliminary “what-if” type study that happened to use a better geographic database than earlier studies. There’s a long way to go before we can even start thinking about getting serious about significant oil from algae.

But this President doesn’t concern himself with those details – if it sounds good, why, that’s the plan.

Comments»

1. Thomas Swartz - February 25, 2012

He did say believe it or not. That is his out, he knows its not true.

2. Car in - February 25, 2012

Ha!

3. Vercingetorix - February 25, 2012

Can’t you just let him finish his waffle?

4. redc1c4 - February 27, 2012

if we divert all that water, where will he get his arugula from?

5. Pick Your Favorite Position | - March 2, 2012

[…] research in this area will increase by $14 million.  There are a few tiny problems though.  The researchers themselves state that to generate that much fuel would […]

6. Life under an Obama with “more flexibility”—use less, pay more - April 3, 2012

[…] the oil we import for transportation with this fuel that we can grow right here in America.” The study his quote is based on also notes that it would “take acreage equivalent to the area of South […]

7. Life under an Obama with “more flexibility”—use less, pay more | Conbustible - June 28, 2012

[…] the oil we import for transportation with this fuel that we can grow right here in America.” The study his quote is based on also notes that it would “take acreage equivalent to the area of South […]

8. Life Under An Obama With “More Flexibility” - Use Less, Pay More | The Strident Conservative - June 20, 2013

[…] the oil we import for transportation with this fuel that we can grow right here in America.” The study his quote is based on also notes that it would “take acreage equivalent to the area of South […]


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