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Biochemist Creates CO2-Eating Light That Runs On Algae

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the but-will-it-clean-my-desk? dept.

Biotech 121

An anonymous reader writes "Biochemist Pierre Calleja has a solution to reducing carbon emissions that doesn't require us to cut back on our use of carbon-producing devices. Calleja has developed a lighting system that requires no electricity for power. Instead it draws CO2 from the atmosphere and uses it to produce light as well as oxygen as a byproduct. The key ingredient to this eco-friendly light? Algae. Certain types of algae can feed off of organic carbon as well as sunlight, and in the process produce carbohydrate energy for themselves as well as oxygen as a waste product. Cajella's lamps consist of algae-filled water along with a light and battery system. During the day the algae produce energy from sunlight that is then stored in the batteries. Then at night the energy is used to power the light. However, as the algae can also produce energy from carbon, sunlight isn't required for the process to work. That means such lights can be placed where there is no natural light and the air will effectively be cleaned on a daily basis."

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121 comments

That's quite impressive. (-1, Offtopic)

feastoolaness (2633055) | about 2 years ago | (#39910171)

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
but I had returned to gamemakerdom!

They didn't stand even a single chance!
The number of chances they stood was equal to zero!

RETURN TO GAMEMAKERDOM TODAY

One place for use (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910185)

In mines.
Another, is in your mom's basement.

At last (2)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 2 years ago | (#39910209)

Light emitting underwear.

Re:At last (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910281)

Just don't forget that light generates heat. Warm underwear could be pleasant or unpleasant ...

Re:At last (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910327)

... and especially, don't watch the Discovery Channel episode about algae while only wearing your underwear ...

Re:At last (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about 2 years ago | (#39911741)

depends on how warm... I ride a motorcycle. I could use some better warm underwear. Especially if it doesn't need electricity

Hoping for openess (1)

jago25_98 (566531) | about 2 years ago | (#39910201)

  I think I may have found this Algae growing in a car park in Spain.
Where can I download it? Er, I mean, get them to send me a sample. Assuming it's any different from photobioluminecent Algae that's present in the ocean anyway. Though collecting enough of this for me has been difficult.

I hope they can take a selfless attitude rather than hanging into the limit commercial applications. The little guy can play a role here so I hope they are generous.

  -j

Re:Hoping for openess (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910413)

Wow. You're just a piece of garbage, aren't you? Want to know how to fix that? Use Gamemaker.

Re:Hoping for openess (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910575)

Would you please just fuck off and die? Thanks.

His Name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910205)

Well done /. editors... I couldn't even finish reading the summary without finding a mistake; "Calleja" in the first line of the summary is written correctly but "Cajella" in the fourth is not.

Re:His Name (1, Funny)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#39910433)

Forgive them, the light from these bacteria is really bad. They could not read the news scrolls well, and had to touch-type.

Algae (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910213)

"that is then stored in the batteries."

Does this harm the algae? If not, why aren't they forcing the use of this? This is an amazing invention unless it's exaggerated.

Re:Algae (2)

Whumpsnatz (451594) | about 2 years ago | (#39910305)

My question is, how? How do they store the energy in batteries? We're talking about algae, not solar cells. What are they using, magic?

Re:Algae (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#39910607)

My question is, how? How do they store the energy in batteries? We're talking about algae, not solar cells. What are they using, magic?

The algae produce carbohydrate energy for themselves as well as oxygen as a waste product.

Left out of the summary was the step where the carbohydrate gets converted to electricity and stored in batteries. Following the link in the summary to TFA, and then to the source, and even watching the video, I was still unable to find anything about this step.

The video showed that the Algae were in the outer cylinder of two concentric cylinders, and the inner won was apparently a light source of some kind.

Re:Algae (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39912261)

"the outer cylinder of two concentric cylinders, and the inner won"

Damn, I was betting on the outer one.

Rearranging the Equation (5, Funny)

paleo2002 (1079697) | about 2 years ago | (#39910227)

Normally:
CO2 + Light = Algae

Now:
CO2 + Algae = Light

Brilliant!

Re:Rearranging the Equation (5, Funny)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | about 2 years ago | (#39910265)

Even better

Light - Algae = - CO2

a cheap way to produce antimatter!

Re:Rearranging the Equation (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910317)

F

Your equation requires we first have negative algae.

Re:Rearranging the Equation (2)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | about 2 years ago | (#39910419)

Using this new technology, you can easily produce negative algae by not shining light on CO2.

Re:Rearranging the Equation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39913605)

well, it's accurately just saying that we extract the algae from light. Simple.

Re:Rearranging the Equation (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910321)

HA! take that climate change deniers!

CO2 + Light = Algae
Light = CO2 + Algae
CO2 + CO2 + Algae = Algae
2CO2 = Algae - Algae
2CO2 = 0
CO2 = 0

therefore, CO2 kills everything...

Re:Rearranging the Equation (2, Funny)

artor3 (1344997) | about 2 years ago | (#39910401)

Good math, bad conclusion. This proves that CO2 doesn't exist! Just wait till Fox catches wind of this!

Re:Rearranging the Equation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910787)

Good math, bad conclusion. This proves that CO2 doesn't exist! Just wait till Fox catches wind of this!

Faux doesn't exist... oh no, wait...

Re:Rearranging the Equation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39911209)

That's flamebait? Haha, some conservative's got his panties in a twist.

Re:Rearranging the Equation (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 2 years ago | (#39912109)

Good math, nothing! He is missing a step or two, and some fiery dust, between lines two and three

Re:Rearranging the Equation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39913779)

what's to miss? substituting light = co2 + algae into the first line gives line 3 doesn't it? or am i missing something here?

Re:Rearranging the Equation (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about 2 years ago | (#39911413)

Goodness, that looks like a cheatsheet for that annoying Alchemy game. I think I wasted a whole three hours on that thing.

Re:Rearranging the Equation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39912393)

If CO2 + Light = Algae, then Light = Algae - CO2, not CO2 + Algae.

Your math sucks.

Re:Rearranging the Equation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910295)

Full equation would be:
CO2 + Algea = Light + O2

I would say if this can be put up on global scale it would be nobel price.

congratz on ur work Pierre Calleja

Re:Rearranging the Equation (1)

aiht (1017790) | about 2 years ago | (#39912421)

Full equation would be: CO2 + Algea = Light + O2

I would say if this can be put up on global scale it would be nobel price.

congratz on ur work Pierre Calleja

I don't think the world can afford that price.

Re:Rearranging the Equation (1)

skine (1524819) | about 2 years ago | (#39910675)

Well, if

CO2 + Light = Algae

and

CO2 + Algae = Light

then

CO2 + (CO2 + Light) = Light
2 CO2 + Light = Light
2CO2 = 0
CO2 = 0

So CO2 doesn't exist.

Re:Rearranging the Equation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39911835)

no... CO2 + Algae = Light + O2

Re:Rearranging the Equation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39913831)

Actually

Algae + CO2 => Light + O2

Now all we have to do is get all the seaweed out of the sea.

I call bulls*it (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910239)

Algae can produce energy via photosynthesis. Sure.

Claiming (as is heavily implied) the can extract energy somehow from CO2 sans sunlight is about as sound as claims you can run your car on hydrogen "extracted" from water.

Carbon isn't inherently a source of energy. Energy can be stored in carbon compounds by having carbon in certain oxidation states. Then in a redox reaction it gets oxidized to CO2. At that point, no more energy to extract. You need energy in at that point. Carbon isn't magic.

Thermodynamics. It's not just a good idea. It's the law.

Re:I call bulls*it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39911101)

For algae (or any plant really) to live, the balance between photosynthesis (CO2 -> O2) and oxidation (respiration: O2 -> CO2) has to be positive

Plants work the same way as us (they need oxygen) the difference is that they have photosynthesis as well

Now see "Certain types of algae can feed off of organic carbon as well as sunlight"

It takes energy from both sources (unless they are kept in total darkness, which is not the case). Organic carbon in this context is: sugars.

So I don't see the issue. Energy input: light + sugars, output: light (and CO2)

This is the worst article ever (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910243)

The video in the article describes something completely different from the text article.

The thing, as described in the video, is completely useless for carbon sequestration purposes until electricity production is almost totally carbon-neutral (which won't be for many years).

The thing, as described in the text, violates the first law of thermodynamics.

At least one of them is grotesquely wrong, and possibly both. Either way, this lamp is utterly useless in an "underground parking garage," which is the proposed use as discussed in the video.

Re:This is the worst article ever (3, Funny)

formfeed (703859) | about 2 years ago | (#39910553)

The thing, as described in the text, violates the first law of thermodynamics.

The first law of thermodynamics is a universal law. Universal laws violate US sovereignty.

Re:This is the worst article ever (2)

dbet (1607261) | about 2 years ago | (#39910581)

The problem with the article is it says something nonsensical. CO2 + algae = more algae + light + O2. This is exactly what all plants do, minus the light show. The article seems to suggest that CO2 turns into light. It doesn't work that way, outside of a star.

Re:This is the worst article ever (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910583)

carbon neutral electricity is easy to produce. It's been possible since the '70s, but hasn't been deployed because greenpeace types hate it. Presumably because it makes cheap, carbon-neutral electricity possible, and they want to guilt-trip us into a sustainable, locavore culture of subsistence agriculture.

Check out the liquid fluoride thorium reactor, or (my personal favorite because it's just so damn cool) the traveling wave reactor.

Re:This is the worst article ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39913253)

There is large scale perfectly working and safe (as per deaths per generated megawatt) way of generating electricity. Only problem - public doesn"t like it.

Video Transitions Annoying (2)

hort_wort (1401963) | about 2 years ago | (#39910253)

Am I the only one who was very much distracted seeing the constant screen transitions in the video? I could hardly focus on what was being said because I was trying to figure out what the finger was doing. -grumbles-

Re:Video Transitions Annoying (5, Funny)

emaname (1014225) | about 2 years ago | (#39911567)

Yup. It's annoying. The current generation of video producers are afflicted with the same behavior we saw in the early years of the web. Remember when people used the now infamous "blink" tag? Yah! It was a real treat to load a page with 20 blinking links. And this behavior was carried on with animated gifs. I remember opening pages that had lists with each list item bulleted with an animated gif; eg, a spinning ball or star, or a flashing diamond, etc. The next "craze" was to do all sorts of stuff with flash. I'm amazed how many sites are still doing all their nav in flash. The most recent bane to web design is jQuery. Take a look at the source of some pages once. It's astonishing just how many jQuery scripts are being used on some pages.

[begin rant] Well, now video producers are going through the same thing. It's cool to video the person talking, but they're looking somewhere else entirely. Or they zoom on the person's eye or hands or mouth while the person is talking. Real cool! I know that always stimulates my interest.[/sarcasm]

Now they're going absolutely freaking nuts using zooming in then out and back in, fast motion to slow back to fast, strobing, flashing, blurring, jerky images, a series of 30 images within 2 secs, etc. And NONE of the programs or ads using these effects contain ANY worthwhile information.

I was always amused by the Ford truck commercials and just how juvenile and primitive they were. All big, block letters sliding around the screen. Brilliant! I swear a person has to be functioning full-time with their lizard brain to respond to a commercial like that.

If I should happen to meet one of these video producers, I just might club him/her senseless. Then ask, "How's THAT for a special effect?"[/end rant]

Aw nuts! I forgot to take my meds again. Excuse me. I have to go.

Re:Video Transitions Annoying (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#39911965)

> If I should happen to meet one of these video producers, I just might club him/her senseless. Then ask, "How's THAT for a special effect?"[/end rant]

Be sure to film it. It'll be a source of amusement for us, and perhaps a warning to others.

Re:Video Transitions Annoying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39913893)

I think you failed to see the point of adds using those video techniques. It isn't whether you like the add, or suddenly think yeh, I want a big truck. The point is this ...

You remembered the FORD add!

Next time lizard brain wants to buy a truck where do you think he'll be heading?

Re:Video Transitions Annoying (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 2 years ago | (#39912731)

I was more annoyed by that US guy who babbled whenever the French guy spoke.

Haven't these people heard of subtitles?

Spacecraft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910259)

I wonder if this would be a good technology to apply in spacecraft for electricity/light generation seeing as how it could double as a CO2 scrubber, eliminating the need for (as many?) filters.

-Cheez

Mars? (2)

kolbe (320366) | about 2 years ago | (#39910263)

With an atmosphere consisting of over 95% carbon dioxide, wouldn't a few million of these "pods" help the Terra-forming efforts of mars' atmosphere? Sure, it'd take a few MILLION years, but think of the possibilities here!

On the note of the article, it sounds too good to be true really. I don't buy into the idea until a more scientific analysis has been done.

Re:Mars? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910421)

Mars' gravity isn't strong enough to retain an Oxygen-based atmosphere. Plus the weak magnetosphere doesn't prevent solar winds from stripping what atmosphere there is. Not a new idea, though -- Ray Bradbury (in the Martian Chronicles) wrote about using plants for the same.

Re:Mars? (5, Interesting)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about 2 years ago | (#39911487)

atmosphere consisting of over 95% carbon dioxide

It might be made up of interesting stuff for plants, but it is exceptionally sparse. At surface level (even at the lowest point) it is a mere 0.1675 psi where earth has a sea level pressure of around 14.69 psi. This leads plants to do some funny things. NASA has been experimenting with plants and low pressures for a while now but it isn't going all that well - the plants think there is a drought [nasa.gov] when the low pressure basically sucks all the moisture from them - even if they are hydrated very well.

Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910267)

The Dune Lights have arrived!

What's the cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910269)

Everything about this sounds really nice, but they don't seem to mention the costs involved.

Too good to be true... (5, Informative)

malakai (136531) | about 2 years ago | (#39910287)

Apparently Geek.com has it's own problems with editors & science....

This article is completely incorrect.

The total equation for oxygenic photosynthesis is:
6CO2 + 12H2O + light C6H12O6 + 6O2 + 6H2O
Broken down, the equations are:
water + light -> chemical energy and gaseous oxygen (a waste product)

(Historically called the "light reactions" because they require light. Photosystem II drives this light capture.)

That chemical energy is then used to capture carbon dioxide to make carbohydrates or sugars:
chemical energy from photosynthesis + carbon dioxide -> carbohydrates

(Historically called the "dark reactions" because the two processes can be uncoupled. The enzyme Rubisco uses the chemical energy from photosynthesis to capture CO2, which goes on to make sugars, etc.)

The carbohydrates can then be used for cellular functions OR as an energy source by the mitochondria, just like we as people use sugar as energy.These algae (What kind are they? I can't even find Pierre Calleja's research page. All I get is mixotrophic algae, which could be any number of algae. I'm assuming that it is a eukaryote like Chlamydomonas, but it could be a prokaryote like Synechocystis.) do NOT use carbon dioxide as an energy source. By definition, a mixotrophic algae CAN use carbon as an energy source, but NOT in the form of CO2, it must be in the form of sugar, acetate, etc.Furthermore, these lamps are NOT powered by the algae themselves. These lamps are powered by electricity to give the algae light to grow. That light then gives the algae the energy to pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Re:Too good to be true... (3, Informative)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 2 years ago | (#39910347)

Pretty much sums up the whole thing.

Sounds like the analogue of a perpetual motion machine, but for the carbon cycle.

Re:Too good to be true... (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about 2 years ago | (#39911759)

I love the /., the great thing about nerds, is that given enough of them you have subject matters on everything, simply based on laws of statistics.(there is a one in whatever chance of a particular nerd being subject matter expect in field X)

There have been a large number of shrewd advertisements and FUD posing as science and technology articles, but the commentors are damn good at sorting through whats, what.

Re:Too good to be true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910383)

I thought the previous comment said it better:

Just by reading the title of this I knew it would be an awful article, Matthew Humphries, you should not be allowed to write about anything science related ever again.

Re:Too good to be true... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39912329)

"Geek.com has it's own problems with editors"

malakai has it is own problems with the apostrophe. What is it about this miniscule, tiny symbol that confounds, baffles and befuddles people?

Energy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910311)

Isn't CO2 already at it's lowest energy level? How is it this process can be both exothermic and also release higher energy byproducts than its inputs? This algae seems to beg for a solar powered perpetual motion machine that burns the algae's biomass carbon to produce CO2...

Something's fishy (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 2 years ago | (#39910331)

Sounds like snake oil to me:

First there's absolutely no mention of the mechanisms that provide energy - photosynthesis is implied and requires light, as the summary says. Therefore, the whole system requires light.

Then, nobody cares to explain how exactly energy is stored in "batteries", much less how the light is powered. An electrical light is implied, so the storage is explained, but how is electricity produced? And why do they seemingly connect the system to a power supply?

Does anyone have an explanation for any of this, or is this just as real as cold fusion?

Re:Something's fishy (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#39910365)

Sounds like snake oil to me:

No, snake oil has to at least sound plausible. This is obviously nonsense to anyone with fourth grade education (my daughter learned about conservation of energy in fourth grade). Too bad that doesn't include Slashdot editors.

Sounds fishy (1)

tgibbs (83782) | about 2 years ago | (#39910333)

OK, the algae could use light and CO2 to synthesize reduced carbon compounds, which could then be oxidized in the dark to generate light. Basically, this is just a biological version of a solar lighting system. Sounds finicky to maintain, but maybe energy storage in algae could outperform conventional batteries. But the article implies that the lamp has a net consumption of CO2. That implies a net production of other organic compounds, because carbon atoms can't just vanish. So what happens to this carbon "waste." There article says this is just another kind of fuel. This is plausible, but how do you get the energy out of that fuel? The normal way to get energy out of reduced carbon compounds is to burn or otherwise oxidize them--in which case you end up with CO2 again (if you do it fully). So once again, it is hard to see how this process can lead to appreciable net carbon sequestration.

Does this make sense? (5, Insightful)

UPZ (947916) | about 2 years ago | (#39910335)

TFA: "Instead [the system] draws CO2 from the atmosphere and uses it to produce light as well as oxygen as a byproduct."

Correct me if wrong, but the law of thermodynamics states that CO2 is in a lower energy state than carbohydrates + oxygen. So this system transforms a low energy product into a high energy product and releases light (even more energy) in the process?

Re:Does this make sense? (4, Interesting)

UPZ (947916) | about 2 years ago | (#39910357)

The point is, if the article's assertions (as I understood) were to be true, then we have free energy:

1) Burn carbon + oxygen --> CO2 + light (we currently do this)
2) CO2 --> carbon/carbohydrates + oxygen + light (this is proposed by the new algae based system)
3) Rise and repeat ...... (unlimited free light = unlimited free energy)

Something's gotta give here...

Re:Does this make sense? (2)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 2 years ago | (#39910387)

Could be the basis for the infinite energy chips prophesized by someone I know.

Re:Does this make sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39911137)

Infinite energy chips: betcha CAN eat just one.

Pure snake oil (3, Informative)

Grayhand (2610049) | about 2 years ago | (#39910443)

He says in the video that they absorb a ton a CO2 a year. The US releases 5.5 billion tons a year so just this country would need 5.5 billion of these lamps to absorb it all. He also claims he's the only one that ever thought of using algae. There are a lot of people working in algae it's just you have to work on a large scale for it to have any affect.

Yeah And I made a perpetual motion machine! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910471)

Yeah And I made a perpetual motion machine!

Badly written article (3, Interesting)

zrbyte (1666979) | about 2 years ago | (#39910505)

I think this is just bad journalism. I suppose the lamp uses electricity to give light to the algae, which use this to store CO2 in carbohydrates. Not a very brilliant idea. If it was that brilliant we'd be reading about it from Nature or Science and not geek.com

Re:Badly written article (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910807)

No, if it were really brilliant, other people would be reading about it in Nature. We would be reading about it on geek.com, in an article that misrepresents the research in Nature in 6 different ways and doesn't provide enough information for us to locate the Nature article. That is, if we bothered to read the article at all.

Because that is how we roll around here.

"certain" algae? (1)

superwiz (655733) | about 2 years ago | (#39910617)

All algae consumes C02. So do all tree leafs. Is photosynthesis a new discovery all of a sudden?

based on this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39910627)

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2010/april/electric-current-plants-041310.html

redundant (1)

Msdose (867833) | about 2 years ago | (#39910655)

Wouldn't matter even if it worked. the government will never allow any solution other than carbon taxes.

how do you get energy from CO2? (4, Informative)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#39910775)

Isn't it thermodynamically impossible to do this without USING energy?

Plants take in CO2 and make oxygen all the time. But they use energy in the form of sunlight to do it. So if the plant can produce power in the dark without any light at all... How?

Magic plant? Put a plant in a dark place with all the CO2 it wants... see how happy it is... it will die. Of course, then fungus and mold will eat it in the dark but that's a different family of life.

This whole report sounds like pseudo-science. Not unlike those perpetual energy machines that cranks keep claiming to have invented in their garages with nothing more then some old soda cans and a dream.

Here's another question, you know that guy that claimed to have cracked Fusion and wants to sell municipal grade fusion reactors? Well... where is he now? Claiming sudden technical difficulties owing to the fact that like all these other guys he made it up.

I don't know if it's the inventor's fault in this case or just a stupid press. But this story doesn't add up.

Re:how do you get energy from CO2? (1)

bejiitas_wrath (825021) | about 2 years ago | (#39912461)

If you had glowing fungi, then you could use supersensitive solar cells to draw energy from them and store it in batteries, but do fungi even suck up CO2? I think Hyroelectric power and wave energy as well as wind power will provide a good portion of green energy in the future.

Re:how do you get energy from CO2? (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#39912815)

I think fungi actually emit it.

anything with mitochondria will emit CO2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39913801)

even plants

that basically means the entire superkingdom eukaryota

Re:how do you get energy from CO2? (1)

XiaoMing (1574363) | about 2 years ago | (#39912855)

That's probably the most insightful thing I've read so far (including the very moronic title and summary). CO2 is the final byproduct of any form of reduction mechanism because it's such a low energy state. It's why cars and fires spit it out, and we do too.

Plants can only create hydrocarbons back from CO2 by using an external energy source like sunlight, and I'm wagering it's pretty improbable to imagine that this magical algae has managed to violate the fundamental laws of physics and thermodynamics to create perpetual energy out of something that is completely spent energetically. Chances are the algae need some additional nutrient in the water as well as CO2 if they were to drive any additional mechanisms for energy production.

Re:how do you get energy from CO2? (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#39913111)

I run into this sort of thing all the time and I find it disturbing because I'm not a scientist or any kind of expert. I'm just a moderately well rounded American... both in mind in body (hey, those cheese burgers were delicious.) And it seems like all too often the press, politicians, etc are making mistakes I was taught to spot in high school. I mean, this isn't even a college level mistake. This is a basic rudimentary failure to understand a fairly simple concept.

Sorry to rant, but the one thing that annoys me the most is the failure to grasp that correlation is not causation. This happens all the time. Some stupid statistical "study" will come out that shows a given graph plot goes up or down at the same time as another variable. They always assume that variable A went up because variable B went up.

This lead to absurd conclusions such as "red wine improves health"... It doesn't. But moderate red wine consumption correlates with better physical health. Why? Mostly socioeconomic and cultural factors. Wealthier, more intelligent, better exercised, etc people tend to drink red wine where as poorer people with all sorts of demographic health problems tend to not drink red wine. So red wine in no way makes people healthy. You could feed the wine to the unhealthy people and you'd merely make them drunk or deny the wine to the healthy people and they'd likely show no health difference.

Yet time and again people that don't know how to read statistics conclude that correlation is causation. This is merely depressing in the average public who were given the opportunity to learn better in school. But it's totally unacceptable in the media, the government, or most unforgivably I've seen some scientists try to get away with this logic.

It all goes back to cargo cult science:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvfAtIJbatg [youtube.com]

Everyone values the concept of science more as an ideology or a symbol of status then as an actual intellectual discipline. And so they don't even notice when they wander off into lala land because for them it was never about accuracy or the basic curiosity about the universe. It was always about power, status, and social conformity.

Sorry for the rant... /rant.

Don't turn those alge loose (2)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#39910841)

What's to stop them from runaway population growth in the atmosphere. Night and day, knoshing on CO2 and making light all over the globe? In fact, why didn't they do exactly that eons ago? Maybe because what's describe is impossible.

fr1St psot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39911407)

The8 disappeared Sadness And it was balance is struck, And she ran Members all over conflicts that

Stop it (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#39911937)

Stop it, god damn it.

GW is a problem.

Global cooling that induces an ice age is murderous on a multibillion person scale.

STOP IT. This means you, dear critical-thinking reader.

I'm pretty sure... (1)

XiaoMing (1574363) | about 2 years ago | (#39912833)

I'm pretty sure that whoever wrote the headline "Biochemist Creates CO2-Eating Light That Runs On Algae" has never learned anything beyond high-school physics...

I honestly thought that this light was in some spectral or intensity regime, where a mechanism (which here is falsely advertised as eating) was discovered where light could chemically dissociate CO2 into more useful compounds, and that algae were the catalyst for this mechanism. A bit (lot) disappointing to read that it was a grotesquely overblown version of "we keep this organism alive with a waste product and it gives us something we want in return."

The headline is about as misleading as something like "Scientist discovers CO2-eating oxygen that runs on Tree!" Except that Oxygen has absolutely nothing to do with the verb placed before it, and is actually a byproduct of the reaction.

Don't Think Of It As A Solution to Global Warming (1)

rally2xs (1093023) | about 2 years ago | (#39913021)

Because it does not involve the rape of the free world's economies, which is the real objective of the global warming alarmists. This would be "geoengineering" which has been consistently rejected by these environmental extremists/fraudsters. Sooo... its not really worth reading, is it, since its Dead on Arrival.

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