Issue Date: September 24, 2012
Biofuels And Water
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” (http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/2004/circ1268/). 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
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