Lakes and rivers covered with pollution-induced algae may fuel a multi-billion dollar industry for China as green energy becomes a priority.
First discovered in 1942, the technology to create biodiesel using lipids found in algae has been around for decades, but is only now starting to become commercially viable.
Easily grown and emitting less carbon when burned for fuel, algae-based biodiesel is often viewed as a very viable alternative to heavily-polluting fossil fuels.
Already, China produces 0.2 trillion t of the algae-derived fuel, making up a 5.86 billion yuan (926 million USD) industry.
Conducting an input-output analysis, a recently published paper from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said with proper development, the industry could grow to become worth 17.83 billion yuan (2.84 billion USD) in the near future.
In addition to a boom in potential value, the industry could also provide up to 104,000 jobs, more than double the current 39,200 employed in biodiesel production.
“The biggest economic and employment impacts of the algae-derived biodiesel industry are seen in Yunnan followed by Guangxi, Hubei and Henan, with the smallest being in Hunan,” the paper, Socio-economic impacts of algae-derived biodiesel industrial development in China: An input–output analysis, said.
It was published online through Elsevier and will appear in the May 2015 edition of Algal Research.
Tobacco use halved among religious in Ningxia province
A study examining smoking rates among the religious in Ningxia Autonomous Region in China have found those who worship are less likely to smoke.
China is home to one of the largest populations of smokers in the world, with more than 350 million smokers reported in 2012. More than 50% of men over the age of 15 smoke.
While religion is typically practiced only among minorities in China, the study found smoking rates among those who practice any form of religion drop significantly.
Conducted by Ningxia Medical University in cooperation with Duke University Medical Center, they surveyed 2,770 people across Ningxia province.
Among those interviewed, 39.8% participants were Muslim, 8.9% Buddhist, 1.9% Christian, with the remaining 49.3% with no affiliation.
Participants who attend religious activities once a week or more were half as likely to smoke as those who did not.
Among Muslim males, 46.3% who never attend religious activities were like to smoke versus 24.5% for those who do. The rate shift was almost identical among non-Muslim men.
Believed to be the first study of its kind, the study’s goal was to establish basic information for smoking prevention outside of China’s large metropolitan areas.
“There is a increasing prevalence of religious activity, and a growing acceptance by the Chinese government towards religious organizations,”
the study, Religious involvement and tobacco use in mainland China: a preliminary study, said.
“Buddhism, one of the most popular traditional Chinese religions, believes that whatever damages the body or mind must be abstained from. This is also true in Islam.”
It was published online at Biomed Central in February.