Water levels in U.S. aquifers are dropping at a rate 3 times faster than at any time in the last century, according to an exhaustive 18 year study by the United States Geological Survey. The new research shows dramatic drops in the vast underground storage areas tapped for agriculture, energy and human consumption.
With depleted aquifers, as well as continued drought, our ability to produce energy — and food — will be dramatically impacted. That’s why it’s more important than ever to develop technologies that don’t rely on fresh water resources.
Algae, which can grow in salt, brackish or wastewater, present a unique and significant opportunity to sustainably feed and fuel our society. As algae grow, they can simultaneously produce lipids (oils) that can be refined into fuels, chemicals and industrial uses as well as nutrients that can be used for animal feed and human health.
A recent ABO webinar showcased commercial algae’s ability to utilize saltwater resources for wide scale production. And new research from the Pacific Northwest National Lab yesterday finds that the U.S. land and water resources could support 25 billion gallons of algae-based fuel annually – about one-twelfth of our annual consumption.
The US algae industry continues to lead the way in the development of sustainable solutions for fuel, food and the environment.
Check out this recording of last week’s ABO’s webinar on algae and saltwater resources: