The Algae Room

The Algae Room

Humble algae could become the hottest wallcovering of the future if studioJonandNina have anything to do with it. ‘The Algae Room’ was on show during Tokyo Designers Week and in it visitors were asked to sit back and bask in the cool green glow of fermenting algae, chomp on some Nori and contribute a touch of CO2 to the bioreactor via a facemask. Intended as a means of producing domestic fuel, the algae is cultivated and the oil extracted, thus, ending the household’s reliance on the traditional energy suppliers. The algae (or Nori) is also perfectly edible, so can be consumed if necessary. Multi purpose algae stirs the architect’s imagination. Labels;nori-Tokyo Designers Week More:

Algae based Waste water treatment system reduces cost

Oldcastle Precast, a manufacturer of precast and polymer concrete products, has signed an exclusive agreement with Indianapolis based Algaewheel Technologies LLC to sell Algaewheel technology as part of its wastewater treatment systems.

Oldcastle’s new Maxpac Package Plant Wastewater System combines Algaewheel technology – simple clarification processes enhanced by the natural coagulating effects of algae filaments – and disinfection to result in effluent treated to secondary and tertiary standards.

During the treatment process, algae produce oxygen to feed the bacteria, and bacteria produce CO2 to feed the algae, thus significantly reducing the carbon footprint. In the process, nutrients and BOD are removed from the waste stream. The packaged plant system is currently designed for use in smaller-scale decentralized wastewater treatment applications. A larger-capacity system is under development.
This is eco friendly too! Reducing carbon footprint is an added bonus.

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Non arable land Algae bioreactor.. A solution to the world..

Nature took hundreds of millions of years to produce the crude oil which, in about 200 years, we’ll have exhausted.

If we can speed up this process, and produce all our liquid fuels and chemical industry feedstocks, and some stock feed and human food from atmospheric CO2 and waste, by a process many times as efficient as farming, without diverting farmland or native bush, on the same timescale as the rate at which we deplete fossil fuel, we’ll have solved the problems of peak oil and global warming, and a few lesser problems.

Conventional biofuel production isn’t particularly efficient. It requires fuel inputs for farm vehicles, and it either diverts farmland away from food production or destroys native bush.

What’s needed is a continuous process, not a batch process like conventional harvesting. The world is running out of land suitable for conversion to farming. An algae reactor can be set up on land which is unsuitable for farming or anything else, and can still produce more than 15 times as much fuel per hectare as canola or palms.

Unlike natural crude, it can yield a product free of contaminants like nitrogen, sulphur or benzene. The first generation will use sunlight for their energy source, but later, as energy sources like pebble bed fission reactors and ultimately nuclear fusion become available, these will drastically increase yield.

Some natural cyanobacteria can double their mass every hour. With genetic engineering, high temperature varieties, and varieties which fix their own nitrogen from the atmosphere are possible. The obvious raw materials to use are untreated sewage and atmospheric CO2, helping to solve two environmental problems. Eventually, when energy sources other than sunlight are available, the demand for sewage will outstrip supply, and other sources of micronutrients will be needed.

But as with conventional agriculture, micronutrients are in principle recyclable. All you need is a way to reclaim elements like phosphorus, sulphur, iron, molybdenum and the rest.

This is feasible with a bioreactor producing algae, but not on a conventional farm, where they drain away, and not only are they wasted, but they cause problems like nitrate in drinking water and eutrophication in waterways.

The only high tech part of producing green crude is the final step; converting algae into oil. There’s no reason why bioreactors can’t be operated in the world’s poorest countries, as well as everywhere else where a demand for the products exists.

Being a factory, rather than an outdoor farm operation, it can be conducted close to population centres, or anywhere else. CO2 is available everywhere, and low-grade water supplies unfit for human consumption, almost everywhere.

An obvious location for a bioreactor is right next to a thermal power station, where there’s waste CO2, waste heat and transmission loss free electricity, but in principle one can operate anywhere.

The algae is harvested continuously, 24/7. Currently four technologies exist to extract the oil.

1. Dry the algae and press the oil out. This is the simplest method.

2. Dissolve the oil in a supercritical fluid like CO2 at high pressure. When pressure is reduced the oil separates out and the CO2 is reused. This is the most promising method.

3. Hexane, a hydrocarbon similar to petrol, dissolves the oil. The hexane is then separated from the oil and reused.

4. Ultrasound breaks open the algae cells, and the oil is pressed out.

The remaining dry matter is a high protein stock feed.

A bioreactor producing algae which are processed into liquid fuels, foods and petrochemicals, is a machine for converting waste, including CO2, into essential commodities which are getting scarcer every year. The only input needed is energy. It’s a closed loop. There is no waste and no collateral damage to the environment.

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Delhi Univ recognizes Beckons Algae Tech

An interesting story evolving in India.

Beckons Industries, a pioneer in developing Algae Technology, has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Delhi University, a globally recognized premier institution of learning, research and development for establishing Micro algae cultivation units with gradual backward and forward integration of relevant processes, operations and businesses of processing units of Microalgae in India and abroad and improving the technology, obtaining of financial support for validation, remediation of certain minro deficiencies, testing of sustainability, development of programmable logical control and erection and working of a pilot plant at Thermal Power Plant. Commercial Plant of gradual increasing capacity in a phase manner is also included in the scope of collaboration.

German – Indian CO2 capture experiment

“After just four days, the team observed a significant increase in algae,” said Bathmann. “It was a surprise that they reproduced so quickly.”

In the previous experiments, it took 10 to 14 days for this to happen. The haptophytes had responded to fertilization most.

“Other algae types barely increased or did not increase at all,” he said.

Haptophytes are common in coastal waters and blooms sometimes lead to them washing up on beaches as a foam. Tiny animals, the zooplankton, feed on them.

“Those organisms will eat a large part of the algae,” said the scientist, explaining that the zooplankton would breathe the carbon dioxide back into the surface water, instead of the gas sinking as dead algae to the ocean bottom.

“At the moment, the algae are reproducing faster that than the zooplankton can eat them,” he said. “The exciting question in the next few weeks will be how much of the algae will be left over.