For close to 15 years now, I've thought that algae were the ultimate replacement for oil. But then, I've always had a soft spot for fish and vegetables that can be grown in water.
Experts project that algae-based biofuels could displace large volumes of diesel and jet transportation fuels.
Algae is emerging as an attractive resource because it reproduces quickly, uses large quantities of carbon dioxide and can thrive in non-freshwater, including brackish and marine water, thus avoiding competition with traditional agriculture's freshwater needs. In addition, algae can produce biomass and oils, and is attractive as feedstock for renewable fuels, with potentially greater productivity and significantly less land use requirements than with other commodity crop feedstocks such as corn, soy and canola.
On the more personal side, you can grow fish, tomatoes and winter lettuce in a 250 feet greenhouse in Boulder, Colorado and create The Spotless Garden.
A form of year-round, sustainable agriculture called aquaponics — a combination of hydroponics (or water-based planting) and aquaculture (fish cultivation) — has recently attracted a zealous following of kitchen gardeners, futurists, tinkerers and practical environmentalists. It is either a glimpse into the future of food growing or a very strange hobby — possibly both.
Sylvia Bernstein, who has a blog devoted to aquaponics and who teaches it at the Denver Botanic Gardens, has set up quarters in a 240-square-foot greenhouse in her backyard in Boulder, Colo.