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Mike Matessa

Sep 21, 2011
12:55

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The Universal Renewable Energy Farm sounds like a great piece of the global economy puzzle. I like that algae allows us to work with nature to provide an asset that is self-replicating. Could you talk a little more about how the Farms fit into the larger global economy? For example, global manufacturing (especially the production of polycarbonates) and global employment. What role do you see for the Farms in more developed countries? Are there any other complementary proposal groups you could team with to develop a broader solution?

2011 Judges

Oct 11, 2011
06:23

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Overall assessment: Algae is an interesting technology. The team will want to attend carefully to how their approach can be put into practice and how side effects can be managed. Specific comments and suggestions for improvement: - This is an innovative approach to growing algae as a source of potential fuel and feed. The proposal is strong because it links to multiple issues such as the ability to use brackish and high nutrient wastewater, and the multiple uses of the space to grow algae, produce electricity from PVs and utilize the underlying space for other purposes. More needs to be developed on the energy intensive process of extracting oils and other products from the water based algae. The technology and overall concept appear to be sound, but some details need to be worked out. - The ideas in this proposal are interesting, but it lacked specifics on actions and what the global scale outcomes might be expected to be. Further, the notion that nuclear waste could be treated in this manner was not documented.

James Greyson

Oct 27, 2011
06:28

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How do you filter out the algae? And stop it sticking inside the tubes, getting clogged up? Is the idea to use human liquid waste to make algae and then mix the algae with human solid waste in AD? Do you have a favourite AD design for households? I really like the fuel cell idea. How close are we to having a working demo system waste-algae-methane-electricity? For retrofitting a regular house maybe it's worth considering algae panels set against walls so they work also as insulation? Wondering if you've come across woodstoves for cooking that run on woodgas and make biochar? Mine makes no smoke in normal use so should be no black lung risks.

Dale Lueck

Nov 3, 2011
12:42

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There are no known chemical or biological processes that modify the half life of radioactive isotopes. The unsupported claims that they can are almost certainly false. Fuel cell catalysts and their supporting membranes do not like any form of contamination in their feedstock. High purity hydrogen gas needs to be supplied through methane reformers to work. Even very low concentrations of sulphides are very deleterious to the fuel cells, and organic contaminants can change the polymer composition so that transport of protons through the membranes will slow or stop. High temperature fuel cells mitigate some of these problems, but not all and still are poisoned by contaminates.

Bill Moomaw

Nov 4, 2011
08:24

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Blueprint for Sust. Planet - Presenter What is a fair balanced tax? Need a specific proposal Long on rhetoric; short on specifics No technical details! Not a contender

James Greyson

Nov 8, 2011
11:21

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Hi Dale, I googled the reference for the radioactivity issue. http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.119-a244 By neutralise I figure the team meant 'lock up' rather than make safe. The algae is used to concentrate the radioactive elements for cheaper disposal in a smaller volume of glass. The reference suggested burning off the organic portion but the proposal's suggestion to take off the carbon as methane by AD seems worth considering (less vaporising of harmful elements?). Bill it's an interesting question whether proposals should specify a level of tax. It seems that debates about the ideal level for correction of externalities often miss the point and end up with the least fair outcome of no tax and no correction. Wouldn't any level, even small, be fairer and more economically valid than no attempt to correct externalities? Since the world is not so short of funds as we may think may I suggest someone finds a way to fund the development of ideas such as these (perhaps a carbon tax?!). Then we could all really learn how and to what extent they can work in practice. Wouldn't it be a shame if society blocks promising ideas in an early stage on the basis that they're in an early stage?

Mark Johnson

Jun 11, 2014
08:16

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Where are we on this important topic please? Still active? Thank you.
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