Social Media Sidebar

Announcement

Please sign up, comment on articles and bring your friends!

Current poll

PlanetTech is asking:

What do you think about our new web site?

Love it, indeed
Really good solution
Same as old one
The old one was better
This is a new option

Quote of the day

When seen through the lens of technology, few resources are truly scarce; they’re mainly inaccessible. 

 

Peter Diamandis

NASA shows off new algae farming technique for making biofuel

RATE THIS! +0
Posted in Science on 17th Apr, 2012 01:19 AM by AlexMuller

The whole thing is called Offshore Membrane Enclosures for Growing Algae or more concisely, OMEGA, and will be demonstrated to reporters at one of San Francisco’s public utilities water pollution control plants tomorrow and is the culmination of $10 million worth of research.

 

The idea is more practical than revolutionary says Trent, who has spoken to reporters already about the project. The idea was to figure out a way to create an algae farm that could be placed close to a waste treatment facility, without taking up a bunch of land. That’s when he came up with idea of using plastic bags floating in the ocean. Conventional systems use large pools of water set up on dry land. In the test facility, each bag is four meters long and has been seeded with wastewater and carbon dioxide. Sunlight makes its way through the clear plastic as the bags float on seawater, which not only serves as a place for the bags to reside, but also help keep the algae cool, which must be done mechanically in other facilities. The algae eat the wastewater and grow until the bag is filled, at which point it is removed to be used for making biofuel.

 

Reports thus far show that algae farms set up in this manner would be capable of producing over two and a half million gallons of fuel annually in an area just under two square miles.

 

Wastewater with oil-producing algae circulate through photobioreactors (green tubes) floating in a seawater tank at the San Francisco Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant, where NASA has set up one of its OMEGA research facilities.

 

Trent says with a real farm, the carbon dioxide come could from nearby power plants, helping to reduce the carbon footprint of the whole process. Not helping, on the other hand, is that the whole scheme is based on petroleum based plastic bags, which in addition to their inherent carbon footprint would also have to be disposed of once a year as they degrade in saltwater. Trent suggests that California farmer’s could use them as field cover instead of the large tarps they currently use. He also says that if one or more of the bags should break, like say in a storm, there is no worry as the algae would die in the seawater and the wastewater released would be the same as wastewater facilities such as those in San Francisco already pump into the bay.

 

At this point it seems clear that a new type of plastic will need to be developed for the project to become viable, especially if it is to be ported to space exploration applications at some point; perhaps one made from biodegradable material so that it could be grown along the way, and then could be used as fertilizer afterwards.


 



Read original article » Back to category

Comments



 

Recent headlines

  • Posted in Software on 2017-11-20 17:24:02
    The 3 biggest threats to your Bitcoin (and 10 tips to.....read more
    Posted in Medicine on 2017-11-20 17:20:08
    How to open the blood-brain-barrier with precision for.....read more
    Posted in Hardware on 2017-11-20 17:05:43
    China on Pace for Record Solar-Power Installations..read more
    Posted in Science on 2017-11-20 00:42:21
    Small steps forward as UN climate talks end in Bonn..read more
    Posted in Hardware on 2017-11-20 00:37:56
    US gov should support SpaceX and develop moon bases..read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-10 01:33
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-20 07:17
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Software on 2013-10-20 06:43
Pirate Bay Browser Clocks 1,000,000 Downloads..read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-10 02:10
Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into new.....read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-14 03:13
Endothelial Cells Can Repair and Regenerate Organs,.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Staring at Your Phone Could Be Making You Short Sighted..read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Oculus Rift virtual reality headset coming to mobile, but.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target mitochondria..read more

Recent Blog Posts

  • Posted by AlexMuller
    Martian landscapes formed from sand 'levitating' on a little.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Scientists detect comets outside our solar system..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Advanced artificial limbs mapped in the brain..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Bacteria have a sense of touch..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Recurrent brain cancer: New hope with phase 1 clinical trial.....read more

Login to your Account

Login to your PlanetTech Account here

Username:
Password:
Remember me
or

Create a New Account

You just need username and password

The following errors occured:
Username:
Email:
Password:
Verify password:
Remember me