CRF Blog

Is Craig Venter going to save the planet?

by Bill Hayes

Craig Venter is the scientist who led the private effort to decode the human genome. The Washington Post has an article on what he is doing now, titled Is Craig Venter going to save the planet? Or is this more hype from one of America’s most controversial scientists?

In a pristine white greenhouse in La Jolla, Calif., maverick molecular biologist Craig Venter is showing off tubs of dark green goop that might help rescue the planet.

Winter sunlight streams through the glass roof onto rows of long, white troughs filled with algae and seawater. A little water wheel in each trough turns to keep the liquid circulating and the growing cells evenly exposed to light and to carbon dioxide-enriched air. Computers maintain a constant temperature. Giant transparent bags of algae varieties waiting to be tested hang from metal beams.

This goop, Venter hopes, will someday replace oil wells, free the planet from its dependency on fossil fuels and create a near-endless supply of energy. [more]