Algae, that very same stuff that turns aquarium walls and backyard fences green, are also a potent source of energy, and hold significant potential as a clean, renewable fuel source. Algae were first investigated as a source of energy back in the 1970’s when high gas prices prompted an interest in alternative energies and the US Department of Energy created the Aquatic Species Program. That program was discontinued in 1996, but as oil costs have continued to rise and energy independence has reemerged as a national priority, researchers around the world, and many right here in St. Louis, are again focused on the potential of algal biofuels.
Credit (via Flickr/Intenational Center for Tropical Agriculture)
A cassava root. The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center has received $8.3 million fron the Gates Foundation to research ways to increase nutrition in the root, which is the main carbohydrate for a quarter of a billion people.