A $ 300 million project seems to have failed to produce a cheap way to make fuel from algae.
In 2009, ExxonMobil announced that it would pay Craig Venter’s Synthetic Genomics up to $ 300 million to develop algae-based fuels.
Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week’s most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us — it’s the Week in Green.
The first week of spring kicked off with a bang for the architecture community as Japanese architect Toyo Ito was awarded the 2013 Pritzker Prize. Meanwhile Christo unveiled the world’s largest inflated indoor sculpture in Germany and MIT researchers announced plans to 3D print a pavilion inspired by the technique that silkworms use to build their cocoons. Inhabitat also showcased several futuristic skyscraper concepts — including the Soundscraper, which transforms auditory vibrations into clean energy, and the Zero Skyscraper, which is a post-apocalyptic survival structure. And we profiled some fascinating adaptive-reuse projects, including a grain elevator that was transformed into a student housing complex in Oslo and a Cold War-era missile silo that was converted into an underground home in Upstate New York.
Sapphire Energy starts farming algae at New Mexico demo plant using an open pond design, which it says is the only way to keep costs low enough for fuels market.
Sapphire Energy has started operation of its demonstration-scale algae farm, a project which perhaps brings more clarity to an industry debate over the best way to grow algae.
An anonymous reader writes “Biochemist Pierre Calleja has a solution to reducing carbon emissions that doesn’t require us to cut back on our use of carbon-producing devices. Calleja has developed a lighting system that requires no electricity for power. Instead it draws CO2 from the atmosphere and uses it to produce light as well as oxygen as a byproduct. The key ingredient to this eco-friendly light? Algae. Certain types of algae can feed off of organic carbon as well as sunlight, and in the process produce carbohydrate energy for themselves as well as oxygen as a waste product. Cajella’s lamps consist of algae-filled water along with a light and battery system. During the day the algae produce energy from sunlight that is then stored in the batteries. Then at night the energy is used to power the light. However, as the algae can also produce energy from carbon, sunlight isn’t required for the process to work. That means such lights can be placed where there is no natural light and the air will effectively be cleaned on a daily basis.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
A $ 10 million project aims to grow algae for biofuels inside plastic bags.
Next week, NASA will show off some of its latest technology: a system for growing algae in floating plastic bags. The system is the result of a $ 10 million, two-year project that investigated whether the algae could be used to make biofuels, including jet fuel.
But is the company scaling up its technology too fast?
This week, algae-biofuel startup Sapphire Energy announced it has received $ 144 million in new funding, which brings its total to over $ 300 million.
Energy-efficient transportation soared to new heights this week as MIT unveiled designs for a supersonic biplane that promises to be the successor to the Concorde. Meanwhile Boeing, Airbus and Embraer partnered to develop a new breed of affordable biofuels, and Volkswagen used space foil to make cars safer. In hot car news, Porsche announced plans to release a plug-in hybrid Panamera in 2014, and we brought you sneak peeks of several sexy electric vehicles that will be unveiled at the New York Auto Show in just over a week: Fisker’s Nina plug-in hybrid and Infiniti’s new Nissan leaf-based EV.
On the subject of energy efficiency, it was a big week for clean tech as Inhabitat reported that the world’s most powerful wind turbine was just installed off the Belgian coast, and the National Ignition Facility flipped the switch on the world’s first two-megajoule ultraviolet laser in an attempt to unlock nuclear fusion. Meanwhile, scientists discovered a link between trees and electricity by studying the way they affecty the concentration of positive and negative ions in the air, and OriginOil announced plans for an urban algae farm near Paris that will heat buildings while treating wastewater. The solar industry heard good news this week as a report showed that solar installations in the US more than doubled in 2011, and President Obama toured the states touting his “all of the above” approach to energy.
This week Inhabitat also showcased several amazing public infrastructure projects – including a series of gigantic fruit-shaped bus shelters in Japan, gmp Architekten’s gorgeous new Hangzhou South Railway Station, the fresh new designs for section 3 of NYC’s High Line elevated park, and a soaring 30-storey-tall wood skyscraper in Vancouver.
In robot news, a Virginia Tech team created a self-charging robo-Jellyfish that harvests hydrogen fuel from water, and we shared 6 incredible inventions made possible by nanotechnology. F.A.T. Labs released a Free Universal Construction Kit that can connect LEGOs to 8 other types of building blocks, and Amazon purchased a robot company to improve working conditions in its warehouses. As most of you probably know, This American Life issued a retraction of its Apple factory exposé – and while Mike Daisey may lost his credibility, we believe strongly that distrust in the integrity of his “reporting”, should not be a reason for consumers to turn a blind eye to working conditions at Foxconn and other electronics ODMs. This week Nokia filed a patent for magnetic tattoos that could vibrate when someone calls, and we learned that free smartphone applications could consume 75% more energy than paid versions. Speaking of mobile phones, new research linked cellphone radiation during pregnancy to behavioral disorders in offspring so we looked at ways pregnant mothers can protect their babies from potential cellphone radiation exposure. Last but not least, we brought you an interesting high-tech clothing concept from Stella McCartney – a sports bra with a built-in heart sensor.