Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Algal biofuels' are no panacea to energy


In this article, the author, Hoysall Chanaky, Principal Research Scientist at the Centre for Sustainable Technologies, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, argues that although there has been a heady euphoria over 'green' algal  biofuels as a panacea for developing countries, such  runaway success is unrealistic. He points out that scientists and policy makers need to address several critical issues that raise doubts over the sustainability of an extensive algal biofuel system. Do we need to re-learn sustainability lessons all over again in the light of first 'green revolution' which raised crop yields but left a trail of environment impacts?  Sustainability criteria need to be spelt out before anyone claims breakthroughs in this field. All claims need to be demonstrated on appropriate field-scale sizes; and an authenticated overall energy and resource balance established. Such a filter will make awareness, research, action and policy elements more realistic, achievable, accountable and transparent.

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