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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Brooks Haden: President of the U.S. Subsidiary of Solutions for CO2

Emma Gallagher: Earthscope reporter

Brooks Haden is the President of the U.S. Subsidiary for Solutions for CO2, an alternative energy and resource company expanding soon into the Bay Area. It has many project branches, including operations in Toronto, but all deal with using carbon dioxide sustainably and creatively on a commercial level. So what “solutions for CO2” are coming into California? The company has patented and initiated facilities for growing algae on an industrial scale, extracting omega 3 oils for supplements. These oils are substitutes for omega harvested from fish. The process uses repurposed shipping containers as bioreactors and specialized UV light to maximize growing rates. The organisms also require CO2 to fuel their metabolic process. Carbon dioxide is additionally used in a latter step, where it extracts desired oils from dried algae cakes. To supply the growing supplements industry, the algae grow in such reactors 24/7 sustainably and efficiently without outdoor variables. This procedure is a leading system for biopharming technology, holding the key to crucial future environmental innovation. 
The Bay Area is a major clean-tech hotspot, so the project is both economically and environmentally appealing. The carbon dioxide used in algae production and oil extraction is recycled from industries that previously considered it waste. Anaerobic digesters use microorganisms to break down biodegradable material without oxygen. These digesters are structures used in both agriculture and sanitation industry to manage and filter wastes. Unfortunately, greenhouse gases, such as methane and CO2, are undesired byproducts… until now. Haden explains that Solutions for CO2 is working with local dairies and sanitation districts to “solve a manure problem and a waste problem, but also solve a CO2 problem as well”.  Thus, using carbon dioxide from these digesters benefits the agriculture and sanitation industries, along with the environment. In addition, Solutions for CO2 will be providing high paying jobs in clean technology (more than 120,00 people are employed by green jobs in the bay area already).  The company will prove to be an amazing addition to an already advanced region of clean and sustainable technology.

Beyond the Bay Area, Solutions for CO2 could prove to be a valuable company for the world. Using carbon dioxide in two critical steps of the algae omega 3 process is beneficial both globally and locally. Our world obviously has a superfluous amount of CO2, so any uses for such a greenhouse gas provide hope for an increasingly problematic environment. Solutions for COis a company setting an example for sustainable resource technology. Their research has surpassed experimentation and trials. Haden explains, “It’s not just talk, it’s actually commercialization…It is beyond the talk and research stage. It is providing a product and service that will be available.” If the company proves to be successful, its sustainable techniques could provide incentive for other industries to invest in alternative technologies. The process of growing alga for omega 3 oils is not just efficient; it is profitable. Algae sources instead of fish reduce marine over-harvesting and amplify production, thus creating an economical system for a billion dollar industry. In addition, Haden projects future uses for commercial algae farming. Biofuels and alternative energies could also be harvested from the same processes with some genetic engineering and trials. Haden explains, “It is nice when we set up these warehouses and plants that they will have multiple uses down the road as technology develops.” With so much potential on the upswing, Solutions for CO2 could just be the beginning of sustainable clean-tech. Turning research into profits, this company is just another example of how green really is the new gold.

To learn more about Solutions for CO2 and their expansion into the Bay Area, visit their website at

Emma Gallagher: Earthscope Reporter

Monday, August 5, 2013

David Escobar: Aide to Steve Kinsey

I had the pleasure of listening in on an interview that a few of our EarthScope Media interns conducted with David Escobar, an aide to District 4’s Board of Supervisor, Steve Kinsey.

            After being interested in the environment through his great aunt teaching him long-established ways of seeing our planet, Escobar has since become drawn into working on proactive ways of being involved in the “green movement”. Holding an indigenous perspective, he sees that the
new principles of the “green movement” doesn’t necessarily always harmonize with the indigenous way of looking at the world, which already connects one with the earth.

            Escobar explained that he is constantly bridging his indigenous background with the environment through social equity and the environment. Escobar’s interests and background allows him to tie everything into his work with his district. In this way he is able to work with his knowledge of social justice and equity, and addresses issues with people such as in the canal, and bridge his indigenous values to pertain to the environment.

            According to Escobar, there is a misconception that if you are seen with an indigenous background that you are automatically connected to the environment in the “green movement”, but he pointed out that there is a large gap of environmental values of natives in places like reservations, or Central America. There is disconnection with these people and the environmental protection aspects of their value systems that have gone astray over time. Escobar indicated that the disconnect of some indigenous people overtime due to reasons over history and many generations, makes it more important to get native people involved because everyone needs to be connected to the earth for the use and appreciation of our resources that will also affect the future of our planet.
            To learn more about David Escobar visit his blog at:          

                        -Natalie Kokka