A carbon neutral liquid fuel? A path to energy independence? A way to end world hunger? Could algae really be the answer to all three of these questions? A recently published book titled "Green Algae Strategy: End Oil Imports and Engineer Sustainable Food and Fuel" by Mark Edwards argues that algae really could be a multi-dimensional miracle wrapped up in a slimy, green package.
The overarching theme of this book is how increased algae use in different parts of our society can be beneficial. Edwards starts by explaining why algae has a lot of potential to be the next major fuel source and explores some of the other problems that algae can help overcome.
Overall, Edwards proposes that algae can play a major part in meeting our future fuel, food, and medicinal needs but more research, development, demonstration, and diffusion (referred to as R3D in the book) must happen first.
Up until this point, the vast amount of information about algae based biofuels has been found in news articles, company press releases, trade articles, and blogs. With this book, Edwards brings all the information together and words it in a way that everyone will be able to understand.
In this book, Edwards does a great job of including tables and graphs that show how algae compares to other biofuels, especially corn ethanol. Considering that corn is arguably the most recognizable source of biofuel currently in the world, it is startling to see how algae compares to corn in categories like land usage (algae uses much less) and the quantity of fuel produced per acre per year (algae produces way, way more).
This book would be an excellent buy for those who have just discovered algae biofuels along with those who consider themselves self-proclaimed experts in the field. For beginners, Edwards does a excellent job at making the reader want to continue reading and learning more about how a primordial green slime can positively affect the world we live in. Plus, for those experts, Edwards discuses many different procedures currently being utilized for algae harvest along with providing a list with descriptions of over 25 different companies researching algae biofuel production.
Another thing to note is that this book is written from a more liberal standpoint. One of the main reason Mark Edwards argues for the "Green Algae Strategy" is to combat climate change. However, this shouldn't stop conservatives (like me) from reading this book. While a lot of the arguments for using algae don't appeal to those of us on the right, the essential tenets of algae should still appeal to the conservative cause: achieving energy independence. Therefore, conservatives should read this book and just keep in mind that a lot of the same reasons algae makes a great choice environmentally also make it a great choice for those looking for an alternative fuel for energy independence.
To conclude the book, Edwards doesn't just leave the reader hanging without any way for the world to implement his strategy. He describes a plan that if implemented would bring an end to global fossil fuels use in 40 years and an end to world hunger in a mere 30 years.
Overall, this book is an excellent buy and l'd highly recommend it for anyone who has an interest in algae biofuels; it will not only give you more information in this interesting field of science but also tell you the hard facts on what it's going to take for algae to be a major player in food, fuel, and medicinal markets.