Carbon Dioxide: A Renewable Resource? Essay

1694 words - 7 pages

Picture smog filled cities being pollution free, while producing clean biofuel and oxygen. Highly polluted areas, such as the Los Angeles area, pose a threat to the elderly, children, and people suffering with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) (“People at Risk,” 2013). Algae can be used to harness the carbon dioxide, nitrogen, make oxygen and be refined for biofuel. Cyanobacteria is the most common type of microalgae used for biofuel (“Massachusetts company making,” 2011) The biofuel from algae can be cost effective, only costing ten to twenty dollars a barrel to produce. However, there are still financial set-backs to the algae biofuel market (Pienkos, P., Laurens, L., & Aden, A., 2011). A french scientist has even invented a lamp of algae, which runs off carbon dioxide and produces oxygen (“Large scale Algae Street Lamps to clean the air off its CO2 content,” 2012). A few companies are researching microalgae biofuel production: Joule Unlimited and the Natural Resource Energy Lab. Methods for finding other strands of microalgae biofuel include natural trial and error testing and genetic engineering (Pienkos, P., et al., 2011). “Algae lamps” and microalgae biofuel are some tools Los Angeles can use to clean their air.
Over a hundred and thirty milling people live in areas where the quality of air is unhealthy (“Key Findings,” 2013). Smog is characterized into two types: Inversion and photochemical. Inversion smog happens when the air becomes unmoving, which makes the smog into a poisonous, deadly cloud. Photochemical smog is a chemical reaction between car exhaust, ozone and sunlight, turning the car exhaust into “formaldehyde” (“Air pollution and pollutants: anthropogenic,” 2010, p. 24). The American Lung Association (ALA) rates cities pollution based on “particle or ozone pollution,” and short/long-term (“Key Findings,” 2013). Particle pollution is classified as being “soot, fly ash, or any other small particle that can be suspended in the air” (“Air pollution and pollutants: anthropogenic,” 2010, p. 24). The Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Riverside, California are the cities with the lowest grade on air quality with an “F” in all categories. As many as eighteen-million people live in these areas, and five-hundred thousand of them suffer with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Also, 4% of the population has cardiovascular disease in this area, compared to 1% in Montgomery, Alabama, which was graded a “B” on air quality (“Compare Your Air,” 2013). Air pollution is not healthy for any person, but the people at the greater risk are the elderly, people with COPD, cardiovascular disease, and children. Los Angeles' area residents are living in constant unhealthy air conditions, which can be detrimental to anyone with vascular or respiratory disorders.
Algae can help lower the amount of carbon dioxide in Los Angeles. The first method utilizes carbon dioxide to produce oxygen and light. Pierre Calleja,...

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