Armed with Science: Algae Jet Fuel?

This week on Armed with Science, Dr. Barbara McQuiston of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), spoke about a few interesting ways the Department of Defense is trying to revolutionize renewable energy sources.

“I think Peter Drexler always said it well … ‘If you want to control the future, you need to create it,’” McQuiston said. “So DARPA invests science and technology to make these changes. When we looked at energy, what we were looking at was the diversification of energy sources and moving away from a reliance on fossil fuel to create better energy security for ourselves now and in the future.”

Their plan? To create renewable biofuel using things like cellulose (“woody” materials), rich oil and algae. You read right: algae, the plant-like organisms that float around in the ocean, could one day fuel C-130s and F-16s. But the focus isn’t as much on what the fuel is made of, but where it can be made.

For example, all fuel used in Afghanistan needs to be shipped there. If bio jet fuel could be made from plant materials that could be farmed there, it would be a “game-changer” for the military operation there and the country’s economy.

“If you looked … at Afghanistan, if you could be able to create jet fuel from indigenous sources, and rely on that, you’d not only be able to be able to source energy for our military, but you’d be able to leave an infrastructure that would be more sustainable for the country,” McQuiston said.

To view the transcript, click here.

Check out these other posts:



This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Armed with Science: Algae Jet Fuel?

  1. Spencer Domes says:

    It’s not exactly a question exactly, but more of a suggestion. Don’t read too fast, please. You know you can generate clean water from fuel but best from methane. You can get 2 waters for every methane burned or in the case of other parafins you get slightly less. But for ethanol you end up getting more water in the exhaust.
    The water generation part is simple enough but not completely intuitive because it’s the power we want to use.
    You probably want to save money in certain areas, and this is one you can use to “show your proud assets off”.
    With a simple containment well and and insulated plastic water tank you can “save the heat while also saving the exhaust” also while generating your own electric power.
    This way you could move in your own water supply as well and you would not have to worry about surprise sabotage.
    You would use half the total energy and get both heat and power.
    So far it seems like no one thinks this is a good idea. Most political types think wasting power and money is a great idea. (It’s gotta be a hard life to be a lying ass public figure.
    Just think:.. fuel, water, heat, electric power out, half the total energy. Requires an insulated plastic tank, and a small engine with water cooling to capture the heat energy.
    There’s a way to get clean water from the ground without a well too, but you need plastic sheeting. You can just suck the water right out of the ground. You won’t have that camp LeJeune problem of toxic water supply. At any rate you can generate your own drinking water using water/exhaust capture from a methane generator or flame, while saving the heat.
    You probably could not come up with a better system, and no one ever will. Nothing will ever have better physical heat holding capacity than water, so that won’t go “out of date”. Also it is the best to drink and wash with. You guys will probably want the super expensive model, but tanks and insulation can probably likely be made from used plastic trash. Watch out for the BPH levels, or don’t use 7 times recycled plastic. You have to keep your people alive and healthy since no one should be a “throw away”.
    This way when you fly in fuel, you are also flying in some clean water, that extracts is oxygen from the “air that was there”.
    If you do this it will become viral and then everyone everywhere will be doing it. It will begin to give impoverished people a better quality of life and that kind of thing, plus everyone will want one because it is “anti waste” and economically effective.
    It is such a good idea that it will be applied everywhere if people can figure out that it could have been done for the last 50 years cheaply and easily. It’s perfect for military infrastructure ops. Have someone engineer a helicoptor or truck transportable insulated plasic tank, and you’ll be in business.
    The big deal is it is more of a peace thing rather than a war thing, but it will always create a physical tactical advantage on he ground, but could also be used or water rec.

  2. Pingback: Waste and algae-sourced biogas powers car — Autoblog Green | Alternative Fuel Automotive Wisdom