The Tidal Irrigation and Electrical System

renewable energy, carbon dioxide sink, biodiesel, and food from the ocean

Filter Feeders to Oil

Posted by on Friday, November 6th, 2009

A rather nice idea was proposed by Texas based, LiveFuels, Inc. Well, it has the potential to be a nice idea. It could be absolutely horrible. They intend to create optimum algae growth in a a 45 acre saltwater pond on the Texas coast by introducing agricultural waste. Fish would be introduced into the ponds and then they would be turned into biodiesel. It is elegantly simple. There are many questions that remained unanswered by the company’s promotional material. There is no data on the methods or efficiency of the process by which the fish are converted to biodiesel or what byproducts are created, nor is there any data on methane emissions by the saltwater pond or the amounts of fish that are produced given the amount of algae is grown. The overall efficiency of the system need not be high for this to be an ecconomic form of energy production. My main concern is the intense increase of nutrients during storms may lead to fluctuations of algal load and then subsequent fish-kills and large scale methane releases.

Of course, the potential for the use of fish-to-biodiesel for the Tidal Irrigation and Electrical System is huge. The introduction of filter feeding species could lead to a much greater energy capture for the entire system then by the sole utilization of macroscopic algae like kelp.

This does however create the nightmare scenario of giving every marine animal a monetary value as fuel. In the future will there be fishing mafias that strip entire ecosystems? Will the seas be subject to even further unsustainable practices in order to fuel our cars? The oceans already suffer from the tragedy of common ownership. The collapse is imminent in the majority of the world’s fisheries. This technology could inadvertently push them over the edge.

Filed in technology,Uncategorized | No responses yet