4885669236_244fd066e0In an unprecedented attempt to make Emeryville worth a damn — unless you’re already a fan of E-ville because you really like Clif bars or suburban-style outdoor shopping malls — the Berkeley Lab has just opened a biofuel test center there with the 20 million dollars it received from the Department of Energy just last year.

This nice chunk of change actually comes from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and by that we mean that $787 billion stimulus that people are always hatin’ on.

Considering the current state of the economy, the stimulus didn’t quite fix everything. However, since we’re in a glass-half-full kind of mood at the moment, we’re gonna go ahead and say this whole biofuel testing center was a nice idea.

After all, the article clearly states that “[i]ndustrial scale development of these fuels would create jobs and help cut the United States’ reliance on foreign sources of energy.”

Jobs, clean energy, less reliance on foreign energy and Emeryville can be known for something other than ridiculous gentrification. Sounds like a whole bunch of wins to us. Thanks, stimulus!

Image Source: Argonne National Laboratory under Creative Commons
Lawrence Berkeley Lab opens biofuels test center in Emeryville [SF Business Times]
Senator McCain Says Stimulus Bill Was A Failure [MRCTV]

algae eater

This fish is powered by algae, but it seems as if your car and household appliances won’t be, at least not for awhile.

According to a report by the Energy Biosciences Institute, led by Nigel Quinn at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, it’ll take some major scientific and technological advancements before we can reasonably start using algae as fuel.

The idea itself seems to make sense, and plenty of investors are already onboard. But as it turns out, in order for algae to be an economically viable source of oil, we’d need a lot more cheap land, sunlight, water and carbon dioxide.

It looks like it’ll be awhile before we get real green energy.

Image Source: Scott Kinmartin under Creative Commons
Report Analyzes Economic Viability of Algae Biofuels [Daily Cal]

Sunday Shout-Out picks out the week’s stories that simply slipped our minds.

Fungi plus yeast equals cellulosic ethanol? Or: we can haz plant gas now? [EurekAlert]

Yep, it really is an exciting week for Berkeley’s biofuels research — like, three-year-$793,000-grant exciting. [SF Business Times]

Here’s a creepy query: “Does the idea of a realistically skinned robot dusting your knickknacks excite you? Or does the thought of a robot hand washing your delicates creep you out just a little?” [Gather Technology]

And simply because we’ve still got our knickers in a twist … [Daily Cal]

Image Source: jurvetson under Creative Commons
Earlier: Gossip Rag Edition!

First there was the BP deal. Now the U.S. government is throwing money at UC Berkeley for its biofuels research.

The Department of Energy announced Tuesday that the Lawrence Berkeley Lab will host a new energy consortium in the Bay Area. Two other research centers will include the Oak Ridge Lab in Tennessee and a lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

How much is DoE pledging to give Cal? How about $125 million over the next five years? Add to that the $500 million the university got from BP, and you know that the university can afford some bling now.

Joining the university in these efforts will be UC Davis, the Livermore Lab, Stanfurd and Sandia National Laboratories.

And no matter how much people hate the BP deal, or may hate this new deal, you’ve got to admit–$625 million just for bioscience research is huge. If the university can find some sensible alternative to fossil fuels, then maybe we’ll see student fees drop. Right. That’s as likely as Stanfurd giving Cal more tickets for the Big Game, meaning not very likely.

Biofuels Group Secures U.S. Grant [Daily Cal]
New project puts UC Berkeley at forefront of biofuels research [SF Gate]