Understanding Algae

Treehugger recently heralded fuel-producing algae the hottest green technology going. GOOD Magazine takes a clear-eyed look at the promise and the pitfalls.

"Unlike many other biofuels, algae doesn't displace food crops. That's significant because one fundamental dilemma with biofuels is that they'll crush our economy with rising food costs, by competing with edible crops for arable land.

But algae aren't great multitaskers. 'Algae usually just reproduce or make oil,' says Tom Todaro, CEO of Sustainable Oils. 'They don't usually do both. Under favorable conditions they'd rather multiply than store their energy.'

So there's a dilemma: You want your algae to multiply so you have a lot of it, but if they're spending energy multiplying they won't make any oil. That's why companies such as Sustainable Oils are trying to engineer algae that balance the two imperatives, multiplying rapidly in the first few days of life, and making oil thereafter."

Full Story: A Primer: Can Algae Replace Gasoline?


Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is the only comprehensive ranking and listing of graduate urban planning programs available.
Starting at $24.95
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.

NEW! Get the "Green Bible"

Understand the complexities of planning at the local level while preparing for the AICP* exam. Find out why this edition is included in the APA's recommended reading list.