Biofuels And Water | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 90 Issue 39 | p. 2 | Letters
Issue Date: September 24, 2012

Biofuels And Water

Department: Letters

Because my letter of May 14 (page 2) on biofuels from algae had to be severely pruned to meet C&EN’s 400-word limit, I am adding this in regard to the letter from Kenneth J. Harris (C&EN, June 18, page 4).

Algae grow best in polluted waters, such as sewage, as emphasized in my letter. However, they also grow well in saline waters. A U.S. Geological Survey paper points out that 195 billion gal per day of water is used for thermoelectric power plant cooling, and “about 96% of saline-water withdrawals were for thermoelectric-power use” ( Such water is a disposal problem, which can be nicely solved, as proposed for sewage, by using it for biofuel production.

In addition, I did not have space to discuss siting biofuel plants near the Sea of Cortez in Baja California, in close proximity to the western U.S. This location provides a limitless source of saline water for biofuel production.

By David A. Schooley
Reno, Nev.


C&EN is working on a story about chemists and other chemical scientists who are working and living far away from their home and family due to the state of the job market. If you are in this situation and would be willing to share your story, please contact Susan Ainsworth at by Oct. 4.

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