While the United States is dealing with the deadly oil spill in the Gulf, China is dealing with something that is blooming off their coast line and it isn’t pretty either!
According to the State Oceanic Administration a huge bright green algae bloom is growing and blowing closer to the shores of China’s east coast.
It currently covers 200 square kilometers (80 square miles). Algae blooms typically occur when pollution from raw sewage and agricultural run-off are dumped in the ocean – making it almost as difficult to clean up as our oil disaster.
This isn’t the first time that China has bloomed this algae. In 2008, a large offshore algae bloom threatened the sailing competition of the Olympic Games. Tens of thousands of volunteers and Chinese soldiers spent days cleaning up the foul-smelling algae so the Olympic sailing games could begin.
The current algae bloom has nearly doubled in size since it was first spotted June 14 near eastern China’s Shandong province. The sewage and pollution is like Miracle Grow for this beastly bloom that has yet to threaten marine life or the fishing but as it moves closer to the coast, researchers warn that it might have environmental ill effects if the cleanup doesn’t begin shortly.
Interestingly enough, the United States’ government has begun to take several steps towards advancing algae biofuel development. Imagine that! Just this past January 2010, the DOE (Department of Energy) invested $44 million into the Danforth Plant Research Center to lead a consortium to conduct advanced biofuel research – maybe the bloom is more beautiful than we thought. Perhaps the DOE ought to visit China!
Algae has been considered to be a “green crude” and since the DOE is considering ways to grow it – perhaps they ought to just visit China. Algae could become just another import from them.
Solazyme is a company that was founded in 2003 and headquartered in South San Francisco that is looking into the method of growing algae through the use of fermentation technologies. Essentially, algae is fed sugars in the dark and the algae produces oil. It has the potential to produce thousands of gallons of fuel per year.
You can visit them on the web here.