I came across both of the articles below on the same day, and both outline similar ideas. If you’re interested in environmental topics you’re likely aware of the process for converting used fry oil into biodiesel, and the process of creating fuel oil using bacteria. But this is something different. Since fuel is basically hydrocarbons, the basic idea is to combine carbon from CO2 from the air with hydrogen from water to create fuel. Technically it’s not ‘carbon neutral‘ because burning the fuel releases the CO2 back into the atmosphere (in addition to whatever energy was required to produce it) but it’s a really intriguing line of research and one that I trust will go forward.
P.S. Speaking of fuel, I was at the office supply store yesterday to pick up a batch of paper for our printer and I noticed they were stocking a paper made from 80% wheat straw and 20% wood fibre. It sounded good to me, and I almost bought a package of it to try until I turned it over and discovered that while the company is based in Canada, the actual paper is made in India. How does the energy and trees saved in using a waste product to make paper balance out against the fuel used to ship it halfway around the world? It reminded me of another article I’d read recently that spoke to the balance between building an energy-efficient house and having a long commute to work every day. This isn’t intented to be critical of any particular company, but it does speak to the challenges we face as individuals, as communities and as inhabitants of a global biosphere in the choices we make to ‘live green’.
For me, I bought the Canadian-sourced, FSC and Rainforest Alliance-certified paper instead.