Friday, March 23, 2012

John Benemann: the Dr. No of algal biofuels?

IPBiz has previously discussed claims of high production of biofuel [e.g.,
MIT Tech Rev still pushing Joule, who claims 15,000 gallons per (acre-year)
] Biofuels Digest, in the context of discussing product "yield per acre," mentioned a quote by John Benemann:

Of course, we have learned to be careful about yield claims. As Algae’s Dr. No, John Benemann writes:

“Unfortunately, [they] are just following the inverse law of knowledge: the less you know the better it looks, and vice-versa. Now that they understand a little about lignocellulosic ethanol, gosh, it does not looks so good anymore, so let us drop this flame and go on a date with pond scum, that looks really good as we don’t know anything. One of these days it will dawn on these worthies that neither algae nor ethanol nor whatever will not be THE solution to the oil or climate change or whatever problem, and then we can start doing something rational.”

As to the idea of "dropping the flame," remember what the MIT Technology Review said of Jan-Hendrik Schon: But it won’t be a surprise if Schön helps transform microelectronics. Schon's work was, of course, fraudulent, and yes, it would be a surprise if it transformed anything. But, MIT Tech Rev isn't talking about that.


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