The plan in Japan according to this article in the Times Online is to raise giant, fast-growing seaweed in the ocean to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and then convert the seaweed to a biofuel that can be burned. Such a scheme would supposedly be carbon dioxide neutral since it would release no more carbon dioxide into the air than the seaweed had already absorbed. I don't see how that would do anything to fight global warming unless this biofuel energy takes the place of energy currently generated by fossil fuels. Besides this, the processing of the seaweed involves "superheated steam." Where are they getting the energy to create the steam? From fossil fuels? How will they tend and harvest the seaweed? In boats run on diesel fuel?
My point is that it pays to look at the entire process. Both the reporter and the researcher interviewed seem to be confused, and we can't afford that kind of confusion when it comes to evaluating alternative energy sources.
(Via Energy Bulletin.)
(Comments are open to all. See the list of environmental blogs on my sidebar.)