Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Temper Tantrum Tuesday: Phoenix from the Oil Spill

The oil “spill” in the gulf is tragic, it has the potential to inflict nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars per year for the next ten years in direct damages, as well as a fucktillion in indirect damages. So it’s hard to look at the bright side, but I found one.

A large part of the damages to the gulf come from the oil-eating bacteria, they eat as much oil as there is available oxygen. They consume all the oxygen around the spill leaving the water unlivable for most organisms.

Once the oxygen is sucked out of seawater one of the few things that can survive is algae. The algae sucks carbon dioxide out of both the atmosphere and the water, then releases both cyanotoxins and oxygen into the water as well as pulling the atmospheric nitrogen into the water making the water deadly to most organisms. Not too cheery yet.

One promising new alternative energy source is biofuels made from algae. It is economically competitive with oil and can be used in existing flex-fuel vehicles.

Because of the oil spill the gulf is going to turn into the largest algae bloom since the Proterozoic era. All it will take is some seeding the area with some of the least toxic strains of algae and they will grow and reduce the damage that would occur naturally, as the bloom grows boats could skim the top layer and bring it on shore to be processed. It could replace a substantial amount of our oil based fuel consumption as well as putting oxygen back into the gulf, speeding up the ecological recovery.

As the gulf recovers over the next decade and the algae bloom subsides, algae can start to be made inland in controlled environments, like in the desert. We can switch a lot of our oil use to algae use and have a cleaner economy.

Unfortunately, it took a huge disaster to give us this opportunity to change our economy from being oil based to a cleaner alternative, lets not waste it.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts

1 comment:

Don E. Chute said...

I am speechless. Holy-Crap, that's awesome!

Don't things usually work that way though. Hurricanes, Fires, and Tornadoes lead to better building standards.

'You can't fool Mother Nature'.