Carbon Free or Carbon Neutral – Could New Fuels Save Us?

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Three companies – Air Fuel Synthesis, Cool Planet Energy Systems, and Joule Unlimited – are generating comment and controversy for their approaches to creating different kinds of biofuels. They all promise extreme reductions in carbon emissions and lower prices at the pump. Their output could use existing infrastructure for delivery, making them all desire able commodities if their promise can be achieved. Cool Planet  Cool Planet Energy Systems claims to be, “The only company producing carbon negative fuels using plant photosynthesis to remove CO2 from our atmosphere.” Its now patented approach recycles its solid products back into the soil, and using more of the liquid fuel products cleans the air more quickly, according to the firm’s web site. The company’s …

Jonathan Trent and the Omega Project

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Jonathan Trent, a NASA researcher, presented his OMEGA Project at the CAFE Foundation’s 2010 Electric Aircraft Symposium. It promised a simple and practical way to grow oil-rich algae using effluent from city waste, and processing it with sunlight and wave motion in a continuous process. Such a system would clean wastewater, reduce CO2, and provide non-food-stock-based biofuels for transportation. OMEGA, “Offshore Membrane Enclosure for Growing Algae”, is now a more complex system as Dr. Trent and at least three research teams develop the technology in the San Francisco Bay Area and at Santa Cruz on the nearby California coast. In this TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) lecture from 2011 Dr. Trent gives an update on the process and how it can …

Bagging Algae – Pollutants into Energy

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

For the Fourth Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium on April 23 and 24 in Rohnert Park, California, Dr. Jonathan Trent was an ideal kickoff speaker. His work with NASA Ames Research Center on converting pollutants into algae-based biofuels could have long-term effects on cleaning up our planet’s air and water, and provide byproducts that will help to feed the 900,000,000 who go hungry every day.  As he notes, “Unless we go electric, we must move to low-carbon fuels.” The problem is not a new one.  As musical satirist Tom Lehrer wrote in his 1960’s plea for emissions control, “Pollution, Pollution,” “The breakfast garbage that you throw in to the bay/They drink as lunch in San José.” Dr. Trent, a PhD. in Marine …