In the midst of a global food crisis, the late 2000s saw tensions between rising food prices and demands for biofuels coalesce into a “food versus fuel” debate. In response to ensuing public outcries, governmental agencies, and researchers across the globe began mobilizing around alternative biofuel feedstock. Among these materials, algae emerged as the most “hopeful” sustainable alternative in producing biofuels. This article examines algal biofuel production systems designed offshore and integrated with wastewater treatment and carbon dioxide absorption processes to revitalize faith in biofuels in the blue economy. It discusses what makes algal biofuels sustainable by examining the ways practitioners talk about and design these integrated systems. Against the common refrain that algae’s photosynthetic and reproductive capacity makes these systems sustainable, this article underlines that there is nothing natural, innate, about algae to add to sustainable blue economies. Rather, algae become naturalized as biofuel source and bioremediation technologies through technoscientific discourses and interventions, which embed and reproduce anthropocentric approach to sustainability that centers on the ideology of growth. By drawing particular attention to the ways that integrated algal biofuel production systems depend on the constant generation of industrial waste, this article problematizes anthropocentric sustainability imaginaries and claims for imagining sustainability otherwise through the lens of blue degrowth to create a radical socio-ecological change.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
By referring to algae as ubiquitous, I gesture towards anthropological studies that find trivial things important as an ethnographic object (Fortun 2012). For a slightly different take on the notion of “ubiquitous,” which refers to the simultaneous universality and uniqueness of the microbial life, see Paxson and Helmreich 2013.
For an introduction to the literature on the “food versus fuel” debate, e.g., see: Chakravorty et al. 2009; Rosegrant and Msangi 2014. The “food versus fuel” discourse has its own politics as well. The critical scholars of agrarian change, for example, note that “the food-versus-fuel land-use discourse inadvertently risks serving the basic interest of nation-states by providing a ‘moral’ argument to engage in new food and biofuel production outside of already neatly demarcated private property on vaguely categorized ‘public lands’ generally assumed to be ‘underutilized’, ‘marginal’ and ‘idle’, despite contrary existing realities” (Borras and Franco 2011, p 48).
Even, biofuels were objected as a “crime against humanity,” in the words of former UN Special Rapporteur John Ziegler (FSC 2010, p 1). Further, the concept of “agrofuel”—instead of “biofuel”—was adopted by the oppositional groups to draw attention to the utilization of agrarian lands and crops for fuel production.
The report was prepared by the economist Donald Mitchell suggested that biofuels from food crops is responsible for the 75% of the total increase in the world food process. For The Guardian article, see Chakrabortty (2008).
This research is part of my dissertation research, which was a multi-sited ethnography of the potentiation of algae as biofuel source in the United States and Turkey (Kasdogan 2017).
As I will detail later in this part of the article, I use the concept “the economization of life” in reference to the historian and STS scholar Murphy’s (2017) work.
For an introduction to this line of discussions, for example, see, “The Special Issue 4—Biofuels, Land, and Agrarian Change,” published by the Journal of Peasant Studies (vol 37, 2010).
For example, for changing definitions of the bioeconomy in policy documents, see: Goven and Pavone (2015). STS scholarship has largely discussed bioeconomies with reference to health sciences and technologies; the case of biofuels has been marginal in these discussions.
The degrowth literature has extensively discussed the way the “economic growth” paradigm became hegemonic by building upon historical and anthropological studies on the economy as well as the post-development studies (Kallis et al. 2018). While this literature puts emphasis on the institutionalization of growth paradigm as a worldview, Murphy’s analysis draws attention to technoscientific practices—e.g., American biologist Raymond Pearl’s experiments with fruit flies in bottles in the 1920 s, and the abstraction of the population growth curve (S-curve) that indicates the growth of fruit flies as a “universal tendency, repeatable for all life, everywhere” (Murphy 2017, p 2). .
For a genealogical approach to the plurality of STS approaches to imaginaries, see: McNeil et al (2017). In this piece, the authors extensively discuss key literatures that have been influential in the implementation of the imaginary concept in STS, namely, Western philosophy; psychoanalysis; late twentieth-century socio-political theory; and, science fiction. As such, this discussion also provides a review of different usages of the concept in social sciences and humanities.
At this point, it should be clear that this article does not center on a critique of technological fixes while developing an analysis of the emergence of algal technologies to revitalize a faith in biofuels. Rather, I am interested in understanding the way technoscientific discourses and practices around algae and algal biofuels embed and constrain sustainability imaginaries.
For example, see the definition of “sustainable growth,” in The McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Modern Economy. Also, for ecological texts, see, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) and Meadows et al.’s The Limits to Growth (1972). Yet, these works do not by themselves “account for the emergence of the ‘sustainable development’ discourse associated with the Brundtland Commission” (McManus 1996, p 49).
The emphasis on sustainability as a boundary object that is plastic enough also gestures towards the literature that acknowledges the strength of this malleable concept by noting that “it has the potential to create bridges among very different people” (Mansfield 2016, p 39).
STS scholars have extensively contributed to the understandings of the relationships between “humans and nonhumans” with different analytics, concepts, theories, methods, and methodologies. A summary of this literature goes beyond the scope of this article; for works that focus on multispecies relationships, for example, see: Haraway (2008); Helmreich (2009); and, Tsing (2012).
Plants, algae, and cyanobacteria all contain chlorophyll molecules, which are identified in six different forms (a, b, c, d, e, and f) and differentiated according to the absorption of different wavelengths. Chlorophyll a exists in all photosynthetic cells and converts solar energy into chemical energy, while other forms of chlorophyll molecules work as accessories and transfer energy to chlorophyll a. Different chlorophyll molecules are called colour pigments, since they reflect different wavelengths to appear as different colours in sunlight (Campbell et al. 2009).
The term cyanobacteria itself emerged in the 1970 s when controversies over the classification of blue-green algae (now, cyanobacteria) ended up with the suggestion that this organisms “really resembles in overall features, the genetic map of Escherichia coli [a form of bacteria]” (Margulis 1977, p 83). I interpret the inclusion of cyanobacteria in the definition of algal biofuels —regardless of the debates over its place in bacteria or algae groups— as a strategy to popularize, and thus, potentiate a form of biofuels produced via organisms that are different than plant crops. .
I draw attention to this distinction in order to highlight the problems of taxonomic orderings, while attempting to avoid the same trap of reproducing blanket categories. For the sake of writing convention, however, I speak of these categories in the shorthand of “algae.”.
“The oil we currently exploit comes from Cretaceous deposits of marine algae”—and, “[a]s we use up the oil deposits provided by ancient algae, we are turning the modern algae for help” (Chapman 2013, p 12).
The atmosphere is “the air envelope that surrounds the Earth”; the hydrosphere “includes all the Earth’s water that is found in streams, lakes, seas, soil, groundwater, and air); the lithosphere is the “solid inorganic portion of the Earth, including the soil, sediments, and rock that form the crust and upper mantle”; and, the biosphere refers to “all the living organisms, plants, and animals” (Barsanti and Gualtieri 2005, p 159).
“In total, 99.9% of the biomass [algal bodies] is account for by [these] six major elements…The remaining elements [calcium (Ca), potassium (K), sodium (Na), chlorine (CI), magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe), and silicon (Si)] occur chiefly as trace elements, because they are needed only in catalytic quantities” (emphasis is mine, Barsanti and Gualtieri 2005, p 160).
The US Department of Energy’s Office of Fuels Development funded the ASP. The DOE funded the program through the Solar Energy Institute (SERI) in Golden, CO—which became the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in 1991. SERI was a “first-of-its kind federal laboratory dedicated to the development of solar energy. The formation of this lab came in response to the energy crises of the early and mid 1970 s…Among its various programs established to develop all forms of solar energy, DOE initiated research on the use of plant life as a source of transportation fuels.” (Sheehan et al. 1998, p 1). Today, the Office of Fuels Development is known as the Bioenergy Technologies Office under the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
In the first phase of the ASP, researchers collected algae from “sites in the west, the northwest, and the southeastern regions of the continental US, as well as Hawaii” (Sheehan et al. 1998, p 11). The second phase of the program focused on the biochemical and physiological studies of collected algae on the basis of their lipid production. Lastly, researchers employed techniques of molecular biology and genetic engineering to increase the productivity of algal lipid production.
The RFS mandate limited the amount of corn-based bioethanol that could be blended with conventional transportation fuels to 15 billion gallons by the year 2022 out of a total of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels (DOE 2016, p 1).
The legislative environment that regulates and supports algal biofuels is not limited to the US DOE’s jurisdiction. For a further information about the policy environment related to algal biofuels, for example, see Trentacoste et al. 2015.
The project “Offshore Membrane of Enclosures for Growing Algae” (OMEGA) was led in between 2009–2012 as part of the NASA Ames Research Center. This project began as a biofuels project but later evolved into an algal biofuels projection integrated with water recycling, solar energy production, and compatible aquaculture, among other components (https://www.bfi.org/ideaindex/projects/2015/omega-global-initiative). In 2015, the project leader Jonathan Trent launched the non-profit OMEGA Global Initiative to promote the OMEGA vision in coastal regions. Further, in recent years, the project also appears to have a new title while the abbreviation is kept—namely, “Operational Marinas for Economic Growth and Abundance.” It is noticeable that growth (economic growth linked to algal growth) stands at the core of this project.
Trent (2015, October). Jonathan Trent—Evolution in our environment from A to Ω [video file].
The articulation of these problems as interrelated also speaks to what some are calling the “popularization of ‘nexus thinking’ in policy and academic discourses” (Williams et al. 2014, p 4).
Trent, while claiming that the OMEGA system provides solutions to all these problems in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way, underlined how this system contributes to “green economies,” what he sees as the “revolutionary tool” of present times. The concept of a “green economy,” institutionalized in/through the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio + 20, 2012), has been subject to wide critical scrutiny for how it valorizes and monetizes nature conceived as “natural capital”; as if nature were a service-provider for human well-being (e.g., Jessop 2006; Shear 2010; Escobar 2011; Kenis and Lievens 2015). What I want to underline here is how ideas and practices around green economies are spreading in a way that legitimizes projects such as the OMEGA system.
STS perspective especially becomes important for studying projects that have yet to be realized at least to an extent that let social scientists to assess their socio-environmental impacts. The analyses of not-yet-realized projects are not a speculative endeavour to assess any potential impacts. Instead, the focus on thought experiments or technoscientific practices at the laboratory and pilot scales is informative in understanding what these projects do to the world. Stated differently, experiments are not mere scientific processes but are world making practices. .
As the full name of OMEGA (Offshore Membrane of Enclosures for Growing Algae) already connotes, the political economics of this project constitutes a new form of enclosure extended from land to the oceans. Such an imaginary of enclosure not only limits the use value of oceans to specific power groups, but also establishes a (new) instrumental relation with nature (cf. Heidegger 1977). .
For example, see the report on the blue economy, published by the World Bank and United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2017).
Open ponds are inexpensive infrastructures to produce algal biomass. Yet, the problems of contamination and evaporation, as well as the lower yield associated with these ponds encourage algal researchers to work with PBRs.
By balancing osmotic pressures against hydrostatic pressure, the OMEGA PBRs benefit from the salinity difference between wastewater and seawater with the help of a selective semi-permeable membrane. For further technical details, see OMEGA-So (2015) .
Social scientists, including anthropologists, sociologists, and geographers, have discussed not only what waste is, but also what multiple discourses and practices around waste in different societies teach us about people, cultures, economies, politics, and environments. I discern two main schools of thought in the literature on waste within the scope of my research. The first can be traced to anthropologist Mary Douglas’s Purity and Danger ( 2002). Douglas examined cross-cultural and temporal meanings of “pollution.” Studies following Douglas’s structural and symbolic account have explored waste as a “matter out of place,” as well as a “mirror of culture” (Reno 2014). By the 2000 s, similar social constructivist approaches had been challenged extensively, and waste has become the topic of materiality studies (e.g., Gille 2010; Reno 2015).
As many discard studies scholars remind us, the pollution question is not only about capitalism but is also largely linked to colonialism. For a discussion on “pollution as colonialism,” see: Liboiron (2017).
Trent (2014, February). Franchise for humanity: Jonathan Trent on sustainable energy for spaceship earth [video file].
Adams WM (2006) The future of sustainability: Re-thinking environment and development in the twenty-first century. IUCN, The World Conservation Union. Retrieved from http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/iucn_future_of_sustanability.pdf. Accessed Oct 2013
Adams V, Murphy M, Clarke AE (2009) Anticipation: technoscience, life, affect, temporality. Subjectivity 28(1):246–265. https://doi.org/10.1057/sub.2009.18
Anderson B (1983) Imagined communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. Verso, London
Arias-Maldonado M (2013) Rethinking sustainability in the anthropocene. Environ Politics 22(3):428–446. https://doi.org/10.1080/09644016.2013.765161
Ariza-Montobbio P, Sharachchandra L, Kallis G, Martinez-Alier J (2010) The political ecology of jatropha plantations for biodiesel in Tamil Nadu, India. J Peasant Stud 37(4):857–897. https://doi.org/10.1080/03066150.2010.512462
Asara V, Otero I, Demaria F, Corbera E (2015) Socially sustainable degrowth as a social-ecological transformation: repoliticizing sustainability. Sustain Sci 10(3):375–384. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-015-0321-9
Baka J (2014) What wastelands? A critique of biofuel policy discourse in South India. Geoforum 54:315–323. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2013.08.007
Balkema A, Pols A (2015) Biofuels: sustainable innovation or gold rush? Identifying responsibilities for biofuel innovations. In: Koops BJ, Oosterlaken I, Romijn H, Swierstra T, van den Hoven J (eds) Responsible innovation 2: concepts, approaches, and applications. Springer, Cham, pp 283–303
Barsanti L, Gualtieri P (2005) Algae: anatomy, biochemistry, and biotechnology. CRC Press, Boca Raton Florida
Benemann JR, Pursoff P, Oswald WJ (1978) Engineering design and cost analysis of a large-scale microalgae biomass system. Final report to the US Department of Energy. NTIS# HCP/T1605-01 UC-61, pp 1–91
Biello D (2011) The false promise of biofuels. Sci Am 305(2):58–65
Birch K (2016) Emergent imaginaries and fragmented policy frameworks in the Canadian bio-economy. Sustainability 8(10):1007. https://doi.org/10.3390/su8101007
Birch K, Calvert K (2015) Rethinking “drop-in” biofuels: on the political materialities of bioenergy. Sci Technol Stud 28(1):52–72
Borras SM, Franco JC (2011) Global land grabbing and trajectories of agrarian change: a preliminary analysis. J Agrar Change 12(1):34–59. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-0366.2011.00339.x
Borras SM, Franco JC, Wang C (2013) The challenge of global governance of land grabbing: changing international agricultural context and competing political views and strategies. Globalizations 10(1):161–179. https://doi.org/10.1080/14747731.2013.764152
Campbell NA, Reece JB, Taylor MR, Simon EJ, Dickey J (2009) Biology: concepts and connections, vol 3. Pearson/Benjamin Cummings, San Francisco
Carson R (1962) Silent spring. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston
Castoriadis C (1998 ) The imaginary institution of society. The MIT Press, Cambridge
Chakrabortty A (2008) Secret report: biofuel caused food crisis. The Guardian, July 3, 2008. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2008/jul/03/biofuels.renewableenergy. Accessed 3 Mar 2012
Chakravorty U, Hubert M, Nøstbakken L (2009) Fuel versus food. Annu Rev Resour Econ 1:645–663. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.resource.050708.144200
Chapman RL (2013) Algae: the world’s most important “plants”—an introduction. Mitig Adapt Strat Glob Change 18(1):5–12. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11027-010-9255-9
Chisholm SW (2011) Unveiling Prochlorococcus. http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/69963. Accessed 5 Dec 2013
Cooper M (2008) Life as surplus: biotechnology and capitalism in the neoliberal era. University of Washington Press, Washington
D’Alisa G, Kallis G (2015) Post-normal science. In: D’Alisa G, Demaria F, Kallis G (eds) Degrowth: a vocabulary for a new era. Routledge, London, pp 185–188
Dauvergne P, Neville KJ (2010) Forests, food, and fuel in the tropics: the uneven social and ecological consequences of the emerging political economy of biofuels. J Peasant Stud 37(4):631–660. https://doi.org/10.1080/03066150.2010.512451
Douglas M (2002) Purity and danger: an analysis of concepts of pollution and taboo. Routledge, London
DOE (2010) National algal biofuels technology roadmap. US Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Biomass Program. https://www1.eere.energy.gov/bioenergy/pdfs/algal_biofuels_roadmap.pdf. Accessed 12 Apr 2015
DOE (2016) National algal biofuels technology review. US Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Bioenergy Technologies Office. https://energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/downloads/2016-national-algal-biofuels-technology-review. Accessed 12 Apr 2015
EC (2017) Report on the blue growth strategy: towards more sustainable growth and jobs in the blue economy. European Commission, Brussels. https://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs/sites/maritimeaffairs/files/swd-2017-128_en.pdf. Accessed 8 Oct 2018
Escobar A (1996) Construction nature. Futures 28(4):325–343. https://doi.org/10.1016/0016-3287(96)00011-0
Escobar A (2011) Development and the anthropology of modernity. In: Harding S (ed) The postcolonial science and technology studies reader. Duke University Press, Durham, pp 269–289
Fortun M (2012) Genomics scandals and other volatilities of promising. In: Rajan KS (ed) Lively capital. Duke University Press, Durham, pp 329–353
Fortun K (2014) From latour to late industrialism. HAU J Ethnogr Theory 4(1):309–329. https://doi.org/10.14318/hau4.1.017
Fortun K, Fortun M (2005) Scientific imaginaries and ethical plateaus in contemporary US toxicology. Am Anthropol 107(1):43–54. https://doi.org/10.1525/aa.2005.107.1.043
Franklin MS (2007) Dolly mixtures: the remaking of genealogy. Duke University Press, Durham
FSC (2010) Food Secure Canada briefing note: agrofuels. Food Secure Canada. https://foodsecurecanada.org/resources-news/blogs-discussions/briefing-notes-agrofuels-and-green-jobs-please-comment. Accessed 3 Mar 2012
Fricker A (1998) Measuring up to sustainability. Futures 30(4):367–375
Fujimura J (2003) Future imaginaries: genome scientists as sociological entrepreneurs. In: Goodman AH, Heath D, Lindee MS (eds) Genetic nature/culture: anthropology and science beyond the two-culture divide. University of California Press, Berkeley, pp 176–199
Gamborg C, Millar K, Shortall O, Sandøe P (2012) Bioenergy and land use: framing the ethical debate. J Agric Environ Ethics 25(6):909–925. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10806-011-9351-1
Gao Y, Gregor C, Liang Y, Tang D, Tweed C (2012) Algae biodiesel—a feasibility report. Chem Cent J 6(1):1–16. https://doi.org/10.1186/1752-153x-6-s1-s1
Gille Z (2010) Actor networks, modes of production, and waste regimes: reassembling the macro-social. Environ Plan A 42(5):1049–1064. https://doi.org/10.1068/a42122
Goldman J, Rhyter JH (1977) Mass production of algae—bioengineering aspects. In: Mitsui A, Miyachi S, Pietro AS, Tamura S (eds) Biological solar energy conversion. Academic Press, New York, pp 367–368. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-500650-7.x5001-6
Gomiero T, Paoletti MG, Pimentel D (2010) Biofuels: efficiency, ethics, and limits to human appropriation of ecosystem services. J Agric Environ Ethics 23(5):403–434. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10806-009-9218-x
Graham JE, Wilcox LW, Graham LE (2008) Algae, 2nd edn. Benjamin Cummings, San Francisco
Guiry MD (2012) How many species of algae are there? J Phycol 48(5):1057–1063. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1529-8817.2012.01222.x
Hadjimichael M (2018) A call for a blue degrowth: unravelling the European Union’s fisheries and maritime policies. Mar Policy 94:158–164. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2018.05.007
Haraway DJ (2008) When species meet. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis
Haraway DJ (2016) Staying with the trouble: making kin in the Chthulucene. Duke University Press, Durham
Heidegger M (1977) Question concerning technology, and other essays. Harper Torchbooks, New York
Helmreich S (2009) Alien ocean: anthropological voyages in microbial seas. University of California Press, Berkeley
Hollar S (ed) (2011) A closer look at bacteria, algae, and protozoa. Rosen Education Service, New York
Hunsberger C (2014) Jatropha as a biofuel crop and the economy of appearances: experiences from Kenya. Rev Afr Political Econ 41(140):216–231. https://doi.org/10.1080/03056244.2013.831753
Hunsberger C, Ponte S (2014) ‘Sustainable’ biofuels in the global south. Geoforum 54:243–247. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2014.02.005
Goven J, Pavone V (2015) The bioeconomy as political project. Sci Technol Human Values 40(3):302–337
Jasanoff S, Kim SH (eds) (2015) Dreamscapes of modernity: sociotechnical imaginaries and the fabrication of knowledge. University of Chicago Press, Chicago
Jessop B (2006) Spatial fixes, temporal fixes and spatio-temporal fixes. In: Castree N, Gregory D (eds) David Harvey. Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Malden, pp 142–166
Kallis G, March H (2015) Imaginaries of hope: the utopianism of degrowth. Ann Assoc Am Geogr 105(2):360–368. https://doi.org/10.1080/00045608.2014.973803
Kallis G, Demaria F, D’Alisa G (2015) Introduction: degrowth. In: D’Alisa G, Demaria F, Kallis G (eds) Degrowth: a vocabulary for a new era. Routledge, London, pp 1–17
Kallis G, Kostakis V, Lange S, Muraca B, Paulson S, Schmelzer M (2018) Research on degrowth. Annu Rev Environ Resour 43:291–316. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-102017-025941
Kasdogan D (2017) Potentiating algae, modernizing bioeconomies: algal biofuels, bioenergy economies, and built ecologies in the United States and Turkey. York University, Toronto Canada. Unpublished dissertation
Kenis A, Lievens M (2015) The limits of the green economy: from re-inventing capitalism to re-politicising the present. Routledge, London
Landecker H (2007) Culturing life: how cells became technologies. Harvard University Press, Cambridge
Latouche S (2015) Imaginary, decolonization of. In: D’Alisa G, Demaria F, Kallis G (eds) Degrowth: a vocabulary for a new era. Routledge, London, pp 117–120
Latour B (1993) We have never been modern. Harvard University Press, Cambridge
Levy D, Spicer A (2013) Contested imaginaries and the cultural political economy of climate change. Organization 20(5):659–678. https://doi.org/10.1177/1350508413489816
Liboiron M (2017) Pollution is colonialism. Discard Studies. https://discardstudies.com/2017/09/01/pollution-is-colonialism/. Accessed 12 May 2019
MacKenzie A (2013) Synthetic biology and the technicity of biofuels. Stud Hist Philos Sci Part C 44(2):190–198. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsc.2013.03.014
Mansfield B (2016) Sustainability. In: Demeritt D, Liverman D, Rhoads B, Castree N (eds) A companion to environmental geography. Wiley, New York, pp 37–49
Marcus G (ed) (1995) Technoscientific imaginaries: conversations, profiles and memoirs. University of Chicago Press, Chicago
Margulis L (1977) Algal genetics. Nature 267:83
McManus P (1996) Contested terrains: politics, stories and discourses of sustainability. Environ Politics 5(1):48–73
McMichael P (2009) The agrofuels project at large. Crit Sociol 35(6):825–839. https://doi.org/10.1177/0896920509343071
McMichael P (2010) Agrofuels in the food regime. J Peasant Stud 37(4):609–629. https://doi.org/10.1080/03066150.2010.512450
McNeil M, Arribas-Ayllon M, Haran J, Mackenzie A, Tutton R (2017) Conceptualizing imaginaries of science, technology, and society. In: Felt U, Fouché R, Miller CA, Smith-Doerr L (eds) The handbook of science and technology studies. The MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 435–464
Meadows DH, Randers J, Meadows DL (1972) Limits to growth: a report for the Club of Rome’s project on the predicament of mankind. Universe Books, New York
Murphy M (2017) The economization of life. Duke University Press, Durham
Myers N (2016) Photosynthesis. theorizing the contemporary, cultural anthropology website, January 21, 2016. https://culanth.org/fieldsights/photosynthesis. Accessed 5 Dec 2019
Nalepa RA, Bauer DM (2012) Marginal lands: the role of remote sensing in constructing landscapes for agrofuel development. J Peasant Stud 39(2):403–422. https://doi.org/10.1080/03066150.2012.665890
Norton TA, Melkonian M, Andersen RA (1996) Algal biodiversity. Phycologia 35(4):308–326. https://doi.org/10.2216/i0031-8884-35-4-308.1
OMEGA-So (2015) How does OMEGA clean the water?. http://omegaglobal.org/what-about-the-water. Accessed 17 Mar 2016
Oswald WJ, Golueke CG (1960) Biological transformation of solar energy. Adv Appl Microbiol 2:223–262. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0065-2164(08)70127-8
Patterson M, Glavovic B (2013) From frontier economics to an ecological economics of the oceans and coasts. Sustain Sci 8(1):11–24
Paxson H, Helmreich S (2013) The perils and promises of microbial abundance: novel natures and model ecosystems, from artisanal cheese to alien seas. Soc Stud Sci 44(2):165–193. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306312713505003
Reno J (2014) Toward a new theory of waste: from “matter out of place” to signs of life. Theory Cult Soc 31(6):3–27. https://doi.org/10.1177/0263276413500999
Robinson J (2004) Squaring the circle? some thoughts on the idea of sustainable development. Ecol Econ 48(4):369–384
Reno J (2015) Waste and waste management. Annu Rev Anthropol 44(1):557–572. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-anthro-102214-014146
Rosegrant MW, Msangi S (2014) Consensus and contention in the food-versus-fuel debate. Annu Rev Environ Resour 39:271–294. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-031813-132233
Scoones I (1999) New ecology and the social sciences: what prospects for a fruitful engagement? Annu Rev Anthropol 28:479–507. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.anthro.28.1.479
Shapin S, Schaffer S (1985) Leviathan and the air-pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the experimental life. Princeton University Press, Princeton
Shear B (2010) The green economy: grounds for a new revolutionary imaginary? Rethink Marx 22(2):203–209. https://doi.org/10.1080/08935691003625299
Sheehan J, Dunahay T, Benemann J, Roessler P (1998) A look back at the US Department of Energy’s aquatic species program-biodiesel from algae (Close-out Report No. NREL/TP-580-24190). National Renewable Energy Laboratory. http://www.nrel.gov/docs/legosti/fy98/24190.pdf. Accessed 9 Feb 2016
Shukin N (2009) Animal capital: rendering life in biopolitical times. University of Minnesota Press, Minnesota
Silver JJ, Noella JG, Campbell LM, Fairbanks LW, Gruby RL (2015) Blue economy and competing discourses in international oceans governance. J Environ Dev 24(2):135–160. https://doi.org/10.1177/1070496515580797
Star SL, Griesemer JR (1989) Institutional ecology, ‘translations’ and boundary objects: amateurs and professionals in Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907–39. Soc Stud Sci 19(3):387–420. https://doi.org/10.1177/030631289019003001
Sunder Rajan K (2006) Biocapital: the constitution of postgenomic life. Duke University Press, Durham
Swyngedouw E (2010) Apocalypse forever? Theory Cult Soc 27(2–3):213–232. https://doi.org/10.1177/0263276409358728
Temper L, Demaria F, Scheidel A, Del Bene D, Martinez-Alier J (2018) The global environmental justice atlas (EJAtlas): ecological distribution conflicts as forces for sustainability. Sustain Sci 13(3):573–584
Taylor C (2003) Modern social imaginaries. Duke University Press, Durham
Trent J (2011) NASA’s OMEGA scientist Dr. Jonathan Trent (interview by David Schwartz). http://www.algaeindustrymagazine.com/nasas-omega-scientist-dr-jonathan-trent. Accessed 14 Apr 2016
Trent J (2012) Eve greener alternative: energy from algae. New Sci 215(2879):30–31
Trent J (2013, June 21) NASA OMEGA project: the ocean as a platform for biofuel. https://planetos.com/blog/nasa-omega-project-the-ocean-as-a-platform-for-biofuel. Accessed 14 Apr 2016
Trent J (2014) Franchise for humanity: Jonathan Trent on sustainable energy for spaceship earth [video file]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxtxNSUbfD4. Accessed 28 Mar 2016
Trent J (2015) Jonathan Trent—evolution in our environment from A to Ω [video file http://www.tedxacademy.com/talks/jonathan-trent. Accessed 28 Mar 2016
Trent (2018) OMEGA: you bet your RAS. https://www.submariner-network.eu/files/4_wsE_JTrent.pdf. Accessed 4 Nov 2018
Trent J, Nordholm A, Lowe M (2011) NASA and the Navy developing the fuel of the future. Currents: The Navy's energy and environment magazine (Spring): pp 18–24
Trentacoste EM, Martinez AM, Zenk T (2015) The place of algae in agriculture: policies for algal biomass production. Photosynth Res 123(3):305–315. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11120-014-9985-8
Tsing A (2012) Unruly edges: mushrooms as companion species: for Donna Haraway. Environ Humanit 1(1):141–154. https://doi.org/10.1215/22011919-3610012
Tutton R (2017) Multiplanetary imaginaries and utopia: the case of mars one. Sci Technol Hum Values 43(3):1–22. https://doi.org/10.1177/0162243917737366
Waldby C, Mitchell R (2006) Tissue economies: blood, organs, and cell lines in late capitalism. Duke University Press, Durham
White B, Dasgupta A (2010) Agrofuels capitalism: a view from political economy. J Peasant Stud 37(4):593–607. https://doi.org/10.1080/03066150.2010.512449
Williams J, Bouzarovski S, Swyngedouw E (2014) Politicising the nexus: nexus technologies, urban circulation and the coproduction of water–energy. The Nexus Network (Paper No. 1). https://www.thenexusnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Williams-Bouzarovski-Swyngedouw-Politicising-the-nexus-Nexus-Thinkpiece-2014-page-numbers.pdf Accessed 12 Jan 2017
Winder GM, Le Heron R (2017) Assembling a blue economy moment? geographic engagement with globalising biological-economic relations in multi-use marine environments. Dialog Hum Geogr 7(1):3–26. https://doi.org/10.1177/2043820617691643
Wolford W (2004) The land is ours now: spatial imaginaries and the struggle for land in Brazil. Ann Assoc Am Geogr 94(2):409–424. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8306.2004.09402015.x
World Bank and United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2017) The potential of the blue economy: increasing long-term benefits of the sustainable use of marine resources for small island developing states and coastal least developed countries. World Bank, Washington District of Columbia. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/26843. Accessed 18 Aug 2018
The author would like to thank the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey for providing funding for a part of this research (Grant number 115C040). The views in this publication are those of the author and are not attributable to this organization. The debates and reflections on which this article is based form part of the author's dissertation, and the author greatly benefited from the valuable input of Natasha Myers, Michelle Murphy, Edward Jones-Imhotep, Stefan Helmreich, Jessica Caporusso and Andrew Schuldt. The author would also like to thank the editors of this special issue and the two anonymous referees.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Handled by Maria Hadjimichael, University of Cyprus, Cyprus.
About this article
Cite this article
Kaşdoğan, D. Designing sustainability in blues: the limits of technospatial growth imaginaries. Sustain Sci 15, 145–160 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-019-00766-w
- Science and technology studies
- Blue degrowth