I was pleased to get an update recently on an algal biofuels research project being led by Professor Phillip Savage of the University of Michigan Chemical Engineering department. According to the update, Professor Savage and his team have been successfully exploring and developing ways of converting wet algal biomass to liquid transportation fuels.
Their primary approach involves reacting wet algae paste in water at high temperatures to create either carbonized solids or crude bio-oil. In addition to their work in the lab, Professor Savage and his team are working with the University of Michigan Technology Transfer Office to move the resulting new algal biofuel processes from the lab into commercial applications. It is my understanding that two patent applications have already been filed for these processes, and that a third is in the offing.
This is great news. Results such as these clearly show the promise of renewable algae-based biofuels. I am hopeful that the work being done at the University of Michigan and here in San Diego continue to pave the way to commercially viable alternatives to the non-renewable fossil fuels we currently depend on for the vast majority of the world’s energy.
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Last week I saw the latest Batman film at a spectacular new theater in Del Mar that goes by the name Cinepolis. The theater is unlike any other I have ever attended. You can reserve your own seat in advance, and then sit in specially designed leather reclining seats with footrests. There are tables between the seats with waiter call buttons.
Cinepolis theaters come equipped with a bar and full kitchen that serves all sorts of appetizers and other food and drink, not just the standard popcorn and soda. I ate a lot of sushi while I was watching the film, then we headed over to Jake’s on the beach afterwards, where I ate even more. All in all, it was quite a day.