Unleashing Energy from Algae

Cosmic Revolutions

It may look like pond scum to you, but one day, the plant-like organism known as algae could rule the world.  How can such an immobile, simple-bodied eukaryote pull this off?

For one, many of these little guys are photosynthetic.  “Big deal,” you say.  “Every plant on earth can claim the same thing, from the grass in the front yard to the tree across the street.”  That’s true.  But it actually is a big deal.  Consider what happens when photosynthesis takes place:

CO2 + Water + Energy (Sunlight) = Fuel + O2

Now consider this expression in the context of the world today.  On the input side, Co2, or carbon dioxide, is a major problem, since an excess of it is the main driver of global climate change.  On the “output” side of the expression is fuel, meaning stored energy.  Of course, our civilization has a voracious…

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