Le alghe sono ovunque, e sono splendide

Need to Know: Algae are everywhere, and they’re awesome

How these simple, tiny organisms can be substituted for oil-based products, from food to makeup to plastics

The story of modern industrialized society has been one of energy — finding it, harvesting it and developing new technologies to do both more efficiently. As populations and economies have grown, so too has our thirst for energy, primarily oil.

Many people think of oil as fossil fuels — liquefied dinosaurs — but the reality is that most oil actually started off as algae millions of years ago. And in looking to create biofuels, scientists have often seen great potential in farming and harvesting algae. The main problems that have hampered the development of algae have been its startup costs and the challenge of producing algae at a scale necessary to supply our enormous energy needs.

Over the past few decades a wide variety of applications for algae have emerged and are being used commercially right now. It may still be many years before our cars are running on “Arizona crude” — algae grown in desert-based research labs, as seen on this week’s “TechKnow” — but until then, here are five ways this organism is already a part of your everyday life and might be even more pervasive in the future.

algaeFrom dietary supplements to cancer treatments, innovative uses for algae products are constantly being developed.
From dietary supplements to cancer treatments, innovative uses for algae products are constantly being developed.

FIVE WAYS ALGAE ARE ALREADY IN YOUR LIFE

1. Fish feed

As the human population grows, demand for farmed fish is projected to rise between 80 million and 160 million tons over the next 20 years.

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READ MORE: http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/techknow/articles/2014/3/27/need-to-know-algaeiseverywhereanditasawesome.html

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