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ES 1: Sustainable Energy (Patrick): Activity

Activity#1: Info. Lit. (Sustainability and Climate Change)



Write in this column the correct format for citing this media/reading item as part of your references. *APA


Warmer world may bring more local, less global, temperature variability (SD)



Climate change: How do we know? (W)



 Perception of climate change (JA)



Why I must speak out about climate change (TT)



Land Use and Climate Change (RL)



Sea-level change and superstorms; geologic evidence from the last interglacial  (JA)



Climate Change (WP)


Activity#3: Synthesizing [Sustainability and Energy]

Original Source Material"Many scientists are convinced that the most pressing single problem facing humanity is climate… A major fraction of CO2 emissions arise from burning fossil fuels, which supply approximately 85% of energy consumption… Energy from the sun is being used to produce power or fuels in four ways: via wind turbines to generate electricity, by photovoltaic conversion to electricity, by using mirrors to heat sterling engines that ultimately produce electricity, and by harvesting plant biomass that can be burned as solid or liquid fuels. A fifth possibility, the photoelectrochemical production of hydrogen, is promising but needs substantial further development…Because biomass is currently the most cost-effective route from photons to fuels (as opposed to power), much of the emphasis in the biofuels area has been focused on the uses of biomass for that purpose. Additionally, biomass replacing fossil fuel for transportation uses is attractive in that it is more difficult to capture CO2 emissions from transportation uses than other types of energy use because of the highly distributed use. Although liquid biofuels are currently made almost entirely from sugar, starch, or fats and oils, we believe that the use of food for fuel is not sustainable in the face of expanding demand for food, feed, and fiber and that the long-term opportunity to produce fuels from biomass will be largely restricted to using lignocellulose and possibly algal lipids or terpenes" Source
Carroll, A., & Somerville, C. (2009). Cellulosic biofuels. Annual review of plant biology60, 165-182.
Annual Review

Original Source MaterialThe demand for clean, domestically produced, renewable energy has resulted in a lot of research on algae. Algae is a desirable biofuel source because it doesn't compete with food crops for land, water or other resources. The water used to grow algae is not usually suitable for agriculture. Typically, algae farms aim to produce large quantities of biomass, so they can then be harvested and converted into fuels, chemicals or other bio-based products...According to Sandia biochemist Ryan Davis, a typical algae operation might grow 1 gram of biomass per liter (0.04 ounces per quarter gallon). Small-scale testing on these cyanobacteria shows they can produce 4 to 7 grams of sugar per liter of biomass (up to 0.25 ounces per quarter gallon) -- an improvement in concentration of up to 700 percent. Therefore, growing cyanobacteria for sugars is more efficient than growing biomass


DOE/Sandia National Laboratories. (2017, August 21). Biofuels from bacteria: New clean energy source?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 10, 2017 from

Science Daily

Original Source Material:Algae are among the most potentially significant sources of sustainable biofuels in the future of renewable energy. A feedstock with virtually unlimited applicability, algae can metabolize various waste streams (e.g., municipal wastewater, carbon dioxide from industrial flue gas) and produce products with a wide variety of compositions and uses. These products include lipids, which can be processed into biodiesel; carbohydrates, which can be processed into ethanol; and proteins, which can be used for human and animal consumption. Algae are commonly genetically engineered to allow for advantageous process modification or optimization. However, issues remain regarding human exposure to algae-derived toxins, allergens, and carcinogens from both existing and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), as well as the overall environmental impact of GMOs. A literature review was performed to highlight issues related to the growth and use of algal products for generating biofuels. Human exposure and environmental impact issues are identified and discussed, as well as current research and development activities of academic, commercial, and governmental groups. It is hoped that the ideas contained in this paper will increase environmental awareness of issues surrounding the production of algae and will help the algae industry develop to its full potential.


Menetrez, M. Y. (2012). An overview of algae biofuel production and potential environmental impact. Environmental science & technology46(13), 7073-7085.

What is the theme that links all these articles together?

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