Germany has installed enough photovoltaics such that coal-fired power plants are beginning to become unprofitable. This is driven by a combination factors, e.g., that coal isn’t asked to provide power at the peak of the day, when both the sun and the price of electricity are at their zenith. Of course, most of us cheer when coal runs into trouble, but issues like this (more…)
But it’s far from the only spill that’s taken place this year – or even the only spill occurring in the Gulf right now.
On June 7, the Mobile Press-Register reported that the Ocean Saratoga rig has been leaking into the Gulf since April 30. Interior Department spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff confirmed the next day that “small amounts of oil” were leaking from the wells beneath the rig, about 10 miles from Louisiana’s southeastern coast. (more…)
J. Craig Venter, the genome pioneer, has created a “synthetic cell” by synthesizing a complete bacterial genome and using it to take over a cell. Venter’s breakthrough, reported in the online edition of Science, represents a preliminary step toward the goal of creating microbes from scratch in the lab and using them to make biofuels, vaccines, and other products.
Venter’s achievement could one day lead to a technology where, though engineering the genome, individual cells could be turned into their own miniature refineries for harvesting carbon dioxide and generating hydrocarbons.
In 2005, Venter — one of the first people to sequence the human genome, doing it faster and cheaper than government scientists — set up a company, Synthetic Genomics, to create synthetic cells, and the advance reported in Science represents a milestone for the company and for so-called synthetic biology. (more…)
By Jonathan Williams
During this past summer, the world has seen multiple advances in the alternative energy field, particularly with algae biofuels. A week hasn’t gone by where I didn’t receive several press releases in my inbox highlighting the latest advances by one of the many algae companies out there.
However, while press releases look and sound good, nothing highlights the advances of a company, if not the entire field, than the announcement of a multi-million dollar partnership with a larger, well-known, and respected entity.
During this summer we saw just that, with multiple algae companies announcing their partnerships with larger corporations or entities.
To give you a brief overview on these partnerships, first came Algenol with their partnership with Dow Chemical researching algae as an ethanol fuel source. Next came Seambiotic with their announcement that they will be partnering with NASA to develop a jet fuel from algae. Most recently, and probably most importantly, was Exxon Mobil’s $600 million partnership with Synthetic Genomics to conduct extensive research on algae biofuels.