Question: “Bud take a look at this video. It looks like algae will solve the energy problems we have.”

(This is a movie produced by Vulcent Products, a penny stock company with large debt that is placing a heavy bet on being able to get 33,000 gallons of algae oil per acre per year.)

Thanks, John. Unfortunately, I have heard so many of these claims that I have become quite skeptical. The first thing I would ask is, “Have you tested any of this oil in an automobile or know what it takes to make it useful as a substitute for gasoline?” Then I would want to know, "At what cost?" Then I would ask, "On what time scale?" Then I would go to find some engineer/scientists who would ask more penetrating questions and give me the downside. Finally, I’d make sure that the infrastructure and services were fairly evaluated so I could make a quantitative judgment comparing total system alternatives.

As just one example, I distinctly remember a group of well known scientists at Los Alamos who killed the US centrifuge program because they had "developed" another method of uranium enrichment that would cost less and be readily assembled. Thirty years later, they still haven't been able to commercialize the process.

Or consider those who were going to make all of the electricity we needed by taking advantage of the thermal differences in the ocean--or those who were going to capture the energy in ocean waves.

Or those who said thirty years ago that they could make flexible solar cell sheets that were so cheap as to eliminate the need for power plants and transmission lines.

I was an advisor to the Congress on fusion. The fusion scientists kept postulating successful fusion power plants--but never could produce in spite of massive funding.

Then there was cold fusion which was finally debunked by the fusion bunkers.

Add the numerous times people have claimed they could power cars with water.

And university students who thought that their solar powered concept cars (more like carts with bicycle wheels) would replace the automobile as we know it.

I'm still involved with a wind turbine company that probably won't make it in spite of all of the current hype. The problem is not just getting a working machine. The problems are storage and transmission--which utilities understand but not the press, politicians and university professors.

Of course, I too always hope that they will be right.

Someday one of these things may succeed, but in the meantime we need oil, coal and natural gas in ever increasing quantities until something that's more economical comes. If it's not more economical, there are numerous foreign countries that will be glad to produce our products at a lower price. The best answer now, as I see it, is nuclear. It's sheer nonsense that we don't have a way to safely dispose of the waste. That's information promulgated by some environmentalists hoping for a return to a less populous agrarian world.