If there is someone you would define as pond scum, it’s most likely someone you don’t like at all. Someone you think is morally bankrupt and lower than a wood tick in your esteem. But pond scum is slang for algae and algae is Latin for “seaweed.” Actually algae are plural and alga is singular. Water gardeners have long thought of pond scum as the ultimate evil olive-green slime. But now it turns out pond scum could just be in line to become your new best friend. Reports indicate there’s oil in them thar algae.
At the University of Uppsala in Sweden, scientists accidentally made lightweight, flexible batteries from algae. When optimized, they have similar storage capacity as lithium ion batteries. Now that’s at least one way to put the green into green power. Beyond Sweden, none other than the highest in the technoratti ranks have been attending to the idea of producing oil from algae. Last year Bill Gates made news for his investment in a company that wants to make auto fuel from algae oil. And who knows where this could lead? There is no word on whether Apple is planning to create a more fun algae oil with an app for it.
Since algae grows on water, there is at least one biotech beach near San Diego where techies are studying the process of growing algae and turning it into fuel. At least 65,000 species of algae are thought to exist. And it is believed that different species could yield different types of oil. High tech algae, who knew? For now, word is that the process of turning algae into oil is rather expensive but with growing interest and investment, scientists could find ways to grow algae. Chalk one up to the idea of never taking the pond scum for granted.
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