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First Mycotecture, Now Helioculture

Pilot site in Leander, Texas

Joule Unlimited is a biotechnology company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It “produces clean, infrastructure-compatible fuels directly from sunlight and waste CO2 in a single-step, continuous process that requires no costly biomass intermediates, processing or dependency on precious natural resources.”

I become more fascinated by some new technologies at the same rate I become afraid of other energy technologies like ‘hydrofraking.’ We need to look at the implications of the whole system and hydrofraking puts our water supply at risk.

According to a press release “Joule’s Helioculture™ platform converts sunlight and waste CO2 directly into renewable fuels and chemicals. The company’s novel SolarConverter™ system has been developed to maximize photon-to-fuel conversion efficiency, and features a modular, scalable design for ease of deployment, dependent only on land and waste CO2availability. The integrated platform will enable productivities above any other closed-system approach, with a commercial target of 15,000 gallons of diesel per acre annually. Joule’s pilot operations are currently underway, with commercial production targeted for 2012.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Helioculture really is the answer to our energy needs?  I didn’t like paying $3.40 for gas today and I have no hope that the price will be lower in the near future.

5 comments to First Mycotecture, Now Helioculture

  • This is really interesting, but I’d like there to be some more detailed information about the fuel creation process on their website. What is the “waste CO2” and how exactly do the microorganisms secrete the fuel? It could be incredibly promising!

  • Pat

    ROR – It is a fascinating idea. Maybe within a short time there will be more information about the process from outside’critical’ sources.

  • I have not commented for some time on any of the fascinating posts, Pat, but this is surely one that requires a reaction. Wow! Can it be so? It’s winter and I’m a Manhattan apartment dweller, so many of the posts seem suited for quite a different life, but I’m also building a house in a town not far from your own (our primary view is toward your own town). We’re making every effort (and expense, apparently) to make the house as efficient as possible, not only to minimize energy consumption but to also maximize our comfort throughout the year: our guiding principal is that if our dachshunds are confortable, we’ll be comfortable. To that end the single-storied house has lots of winter sun, radiant-heated floors and double walls packed with insulation. And triple-glazed doors and windows. But the heating fuel is LP gas – about the easiest fuel to obtain in that rural area unless one relies on wood. The idea had been to eventually install an arbor that would actually be the structural support for an array of photovoltaic panels, something of a project sometime down the proverbial road. But after reading about these new panels, we’re ready to explore integrating more quickly. The do seem too good to be true, but they’re precisely what we’d imagined and hoped would someday be possible. Thank you for the post: it’s the equivalent (to us) of a gardener’s dream: a self-watering, self-weeding rose that can be programmed to blush in any shade of the spectrum, does light housework, walks the dog and can be implored to fold laundry, too! And the photograph itself looked like a mash-up of a turf farm and a solar array – at first glance I thought it was an advanced method for growing the ideal lawn. Again, thank you, Pat.

  • Pat

    Flaneur – As usual, I am stunned by your plans.

  • Pat, Thank you for this hopeful post. Intriguing!

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