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This category leverages the ability of algae to treat wastewater by absorbing nutrients and CO2, while breaking down and removing unwanted, even toxic materials. The algal biomass produced during such wastewater treatment processes can then be used to generate methane, produce fertilizers, and can also yield oil and other liquid fuels.
The common thread in any integrated system is that the waste—whether it be dirty water or even polluted air—acts as an input during the growth phase. In other words, the contaminants that algae are able to clean from the air and water serve as ‘food’ for the algae in their growth cycle. By removing nutrients, something that algae can do very efficiently, algal blooms in lakes and coastal waters can be prevented or minimized, solving a major environmental issue.
BioProcess Algae, is also utilizing a closed photobioreactor system for a facility in Iowa. The company’s photobioreactors are large vertical columns that use not only natural light but also the waste heat and CO2 from a nearby first-generation ethanol plant.
Accelergy Corporation has developed a proprietary biological carbon capture and recycle technology, which passes CO2 (from a source like a coal power plant) through a photo bioreactor that is growing concentrated algae. Once the growth cycle is complete, the algae is blended with proprietary additives to produce a bio-fertilizer which is then used on crops, which then continuing to capture CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows.
UCSD’s Dr. Mitchell gives a lesson in algae 101
CLICK HERE for more photos about algae basics
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