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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Kosher Science: Using Seaweed To Power Everything?

One word sums up the current financial crunch afflicting our lovely but rowdy planet: oil.

It powers our cars, planes and keeps the lights on at night. With most of it concentrated it the hands of a prominent few, the price of oil will probably accelerate into the near future.

Fortunately for us, Israeli scientists are working on some new technology that may allow our societies to run on seaweed--not to mention a few other items.

(Ha'aretz) What if it turned out that corn and cane sugar fuels, considered substitutes for more polluting fuel, were also the cause of serious environmental damage? We would then search for greener substitutes: seaweed, animal fat and other fruits and vegetables containing oil. Over the past year, Israeli researchers have accelerated attempts to develop various types of "green" fuel, and research groups are hard at work developing technology that will become part of a global oil substitute trend. At Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), they are working on a new diesel fuel based on plant and animal fat. Several researchers are trying to develop the technology to produce oil from seaweed, which would then serve as a basis for fuel. [...]

"We are using fat that remains as surplus from meat processing, and a wide variety of oils from plants," says Prof. Moti Hershkowitz of BGU. "What is unique about our product is that as opposed to other biological fuels, which at present cannot be placed directly into the engine and have to be mixed with other components, we have developed a diesel fuel that can be used directly in the vehicles."

While diesel power (via seaweed, etc.) looks to be within reach, only time will tell whether or not other vehicles will be apart of the energy blessing.

Israel is currently pursuing ways of drawing energy from fungus, radioactive waste and even cow manure.

While some may wonder why such a tiny (yet innovative) nation would pursue so many different routes to keep its cities lit up at night, it may have to do with the fact that it is better to create your own energy, than to rely upon the grace of others.

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