ConocoPhillips is one of the oil companies that the left frequently demonizes. However, with the recent purchase of the Broomfield Sun Microsystems campus (just over the hill from Boulder County Liberal Congressman Mark Udall’s residence), ConocoPhillips will partner with several Colorado universities for alternative fuel research. From the Camera:
ConocoPhillips announced Tuesday it signed a $5 million, multiyear, sponsored-research agreement with a Colorado biofuels center, which includes CU, to find new ways to convert biomass into low-carbon transportation fuels.
Among the first projects will be one that involves converting algae into renewable fuel, researchers say.
The Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels, or C2B2 — a research hub of the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory — launched in March 2007. It’s charged with conducting research at four institutions: The University of Colorado’s Boulder campus, the Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Amazing: an “evil” oil company actually researching alternative fuels. Governor Bill Ritter is excited about the research efforts.
Gov. Bill Ritter, in a news release, praised the partnership.
“Even without climate change as an issue, fossil fuels are nonrenewable,” [ Bill ] Ritter said. “For ConocoPhillips to partner with us to convert biomass to transportation fuels fits nicely with how we think about the new energy economy in the state.”
The technological research ideas are interesting.
Alan Weimer, executive director of C2B2, said CU researchers specialize in the separation and purification of lipids that are taken from algae, and can then be sent to oil refineries to be processed into gasoline.
“It’s a way for the oil companies to basically grow oil,” Weimer said.
Weimer said that not only does algae have a rapid growth rate, but it doesn’t take food away from people or livestock — like when farmers sell their corn crops to produce ethanol. The algae, he said, could be grown in the Mojave Desert where little else grows.
Unlike the oversubsidized corn ethanol boondoggle (with Mark Udall’s support) that helped increase food costs without deriving any net environmental benefit, this technology could be a partial panacea for future fuel needs. Kudos to ConocoPhillips for sponsoring technological research in new energy sources.
One of the reasons America is so free is the nearly limitless personal mobility that the automobile allows. Tomorrow’s technology will solve the energy problems of tomorrow. Today, we need to develop our own domestic oil resources to keep energy prices lower until these new technologies are ready to compete at a larger scale on the energy markets.
by Civil Sense