The future is green … and salty

According to Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center,

The Great Salt Lake could conceivably be turned into an algae pond to produce something on the order of $250 billion a year in biofuels.


Biofuel from algae could be a direct petroleum replacement and is an extremely practical fuel source from a production standpoint. The refining process for algae is much simpler and less expensive than the current process for refining oil. […] A global transition from oil to algae wouldn’t require the construction of an expensive, complicated new infrastructure, as a transition to a hydrogen economy would.


Halophytes and algae are only part of the overall solution space. We’ll use many approaches to combat global warming. However, the potential of this fuel can’t be stated forcefully enough. If humanity were to plow a portion of the Sahara Desert, irrigate it with saltwater from the Mediterranean, and then grow biomass such as algae, we could replace all the fossil carbon fuel that our species uses currently and provide food for a growing global population at low cost.


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