Scientists have been trying their best to turn algae into the biofuel of the 21st century, and now the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) wants to put some serious muscle behind all that research. That muscle translates into $78 million of federal funding split between two biofuel consortia, according to an announcement today by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
The DOE's edgy science lab ARPA-E has already doled out millions to companies large and small working on energy-related projects. But this represents a sizeable investment in a biofuel that scientists have long-considered the one with the greatest potential payoff.
We've looked at plenty of possible solutions for all parts of the algae production equation, such as feeding and squeezing fish for algae oil. Another group of researchers has modified algae for a different green energy purpose -- creating clean, easy hydrogen fuel. And some companies have even seized upon algae as the plastic of the future, rather than a biofuel.
Almost any and all algae uses sound good to us. But we might balk at an algae food product named soylent green.
The incredible innovations, like drone swarms and perpetual flight, bringing aviation into the world of tomorrow. Plus: today's greatest sci-fi writers predict the future, the science behind the summer's biggest blockbusters, a Doctor Who-themed DIY 'bot, the organs you can do without, and much more.