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Venice Hopes To Turn Curse Into Blessing

The island of Murano, near Venice
Venice’s storied canals for years have been vexed by blooms of algae, which, beyond coloring the water green, can wreak havoc on boat propellers and stink the place up at certain times of the year (or so I’ve heard; never been, myself).

So does the city, which has been kicking around some 1,600 years, just throw up its manos? Hell, no! They take their lemons and make lemonade – or, in this case, their algae and make oil. They’re turning a negative into a major positiv-o by building a power plant that uses the algae to produce electricity.

Reuters reports the $273 million plant will be just the third of its kind in Europe. It will be producing 40 megawatts of electricity in about two years, Venice's port authority says, enough to power thousands of homes.

The science behind using algae for electricity-producing biomass is complex, but it basically boils down to algae synthesizing sunlight efficiently and having very high oil content. (Full disclosure: I put a call into an expert too late to get his insight for this initial post; watch for update soon.)


Seems on the surface to make a ton of sense. Why can’t the U.S. try the same thing? Plenty of land for algae ponds, plenty of need for electricity.


Let us know if you think algae is a feasible power option by commenting below.















“Venice Hopes To Turn Curse Into Blessing”