Surreal Spring Bloom

Since we're on the subject of weirdness this week, I thought I'd share this somewhat surreal photograph:

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In Colorado, March (like most months) means temperature fluctuations. Snow, melt, warm, repeat. Lately, in between the snowstorms, it has been warming up enough for algae to grow in sunny shallows. However, the snow still hasn't fully melted in the shady spots. This is actually a drainage gutter running along the greenbelt near my home. The gutter is blooming... not the grove of trees. (It has a month or so to go.) This becomes a little more clear when the picture is turned right side up:

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Sometimes, in order to understand what it is we are looking at, all we need is a little change in perspective.

Most people see algae as slimy goo. Here, I see it as art. Others see it as a potential source for oil:

Solix Biofuels Inc., a startup company based in Boulder, is working with Colorado State University engineers to commercialize technology that can cheaply mass produce oil derived from algae and turn it into biodiesel - an environmentally friendly solution to high gas prices and greenhouse gas emissions.

Solix officials plan to commercialize the technology over the next two years. After ramping up to widespread production, the company expects to eventually compete commercially with the wholesale price of crude petroleum.

"We're facing two global challenges: depletion of our petroleum reserves and a buildup of greenhouse gases," said Bryan Willson, director of Colorado State's Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory, which is helping Colorado State achieve its goal to lead the nation in developing and commercializing environmentally sustainable solutions to global problems. "This process harnesses photosynthesis to turn carbon dioxide and energy captured from the sun into an economical petroleum substitute."

"Algae are the fastest growing organisms on the planet, and can produce 100 times more oil per acre than conventional soil-tilled crops that are now being grown for biofuel use," said Solix founder Jim Sears.

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Fantasic mention of Solix. I wish I still lived in FC.

By Richard Gay (not verified) on 01 Jul 2007 #permalink