A look at the US Military’s Investment in Algae
Back in December it was announced that the US military will help fund some research in creating algae biofuels, particularly aviation fuel. Now, seven months later, an AP article interviews some of the researchers who received the military’s funding.
In this fairly lengthy interview, the tone is optimistic but at the same time reserved. For example, upbeat statements like these:
Work at the lab is part of a Pentagon project aimed at fast-tracking research to eventually produce algae-based biofuel that costs less than $3 per gallon, can be produced at a rate of 50 million gallons per year and meets strict military standards.
“We believe it’s possible. We wouldn’t invest in it if we didn’t,” said Jan Walker, a spokeswoman for the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency, the Defense Department’s main research arm.
Are often followed with statements like these:
Back at the Utah State lab — where algae are shaken, stirred and stressed in the name of science — Muhs tempers his excitement over the potential of the green slime with a dose of reality. Algae fuels could be a transition-type fuel in the coming years but aren’t the singular savior to weaning modern society from petroleum.
“It’s not a silver bullet,” he said.
However, it is reasonable for scientists to be cautious about being too optimistic. By adding a dose of caution, these scientists will hopefully soften the blow of any setbacks their research may experience. Without it, funding could potentially be pulled if they experienced any setbacks in their research.
It is always better to be a little pragmatic in your predictions and wow your investors with the outcomes than overly optimistic in the predictions and not quite research your goals.