The Future of Energy: An Overview

"Algae is the ultimate in renewable energy"
-- Glen Kertz, president and CEO of Valcent Products, in an interview with CNN while conducting a tour of his algae greenhouse on the outskirts of El Paso.

“Believe it or not, we could replace up to 17 percent of the oil we import for transportation with this fuel that we can grow right here in the United States.”
-- President Barack Obama in a speech at the University of Miami, February 23, 2012,

Renewable energy research extends from studying sources such as water, wind, the sun, geothermal, and biomass sources such as energy crops. This show will focus on research being done on photosynthetic organisms, often referred to as algae or simply "pond scum."

There has been interest in these organisms for a while. A program to explore the potential of algae as an energy source was launched as early as 1978 by president Jimmy Carter. But the full implications of this research has only started to be realized in recent years.

WUSTL experts are engaged in a host of interesting research. Three natural scientists, Robert Blankenship, Ursula Goodenough and Hamadri Pakrasi, discuss their on-going investigations, questions and findings with regard to photosynthetic algae. Economist Joseph Cullen comments on the question of cost and a new research project he is undertaking to evaluate government investment in research vis-a-vis commercialization of existing technologies.

***TUNE IN TO THE SHOW: listen to the hour-long audio podcast program on this topic, and browse the related material.

Extra: an interview with two young WUSTL alums who have recently started an new business that works with clients and investors to install solar energy technology.