Navigation Links
Algal turf scrubbers clean water with sunlight
Date:5/31/2011

An article published in the June issue of BioScience describes the early scale-up stage of a new biotechnology with environmental benefits and possible commercial potential. Algal turf scrubbers are field-sized, water-treatment systems that can extract excess nutrients from streams, canals, and lakes polluted by agricultural, domestic, and some industrial runoff. They use sunlight as their principal source of energy and simultaneously restore oxygen levels. The devices work by pulsing contaminated water across algae that are allowed to grow on screens. Algal turf scrubbers produce waste suitable for use as a nitrogen- and phosphorus-rich fertilizer and for conversion to biofuel or high-value nutraceuticals. Some algal turf scrubbers can even operate in open water, thus minimizing loss of agricultural land to the systems.

The BioScience article, by Walter H. Adey of the Smithsonian Institution, Patrick C. Kangas of the University of Maryland, and Walter Mulbry of the US Department of Agriculture, notes that the need to clean wastewater and various types of runoff contaminated with nitrogen and phosphorus is immediate in many places where natural waters are polluted. Furthermore, some ecologists are worried about global supplies of phosphorus for use in fertilizer, so the byproduct could become more valuable over time.

The article stresses that algal turf scrubbing is not likely to ever be profitable just as a way of making fuel. Although more productive than terrestrial crops, algae, like other potential sources of biofuel, are expensive to cultivate, harvest, process, and convert into useful amounts of energy. But algal turf scrubbing could become common if the economic value of nutrient removal can be applied to the cost of building and running the units. That might depend on public policy that imposes a predictable cost on pollution of natural waters. But the fuel, fertilizer, and nutraceutical byproducts from algal turf scrubbing can only help.


'/>"/>

Contact: Tim Beardsley
tbeardsley@aibs.org
202-628-1500
American Institute of Biological Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Algal antifreeze makes inroads into ice
2. First harmful algal bloom species genome sequenced
3. Brown tide culprit sequenced: Genome of the first of algal bloom species
4. Forecast system to warn of toxic algal outbreaks along Texas shoreline
5. Battling harmful algal blooms
6. New research to improve management of harmful algal blooms in Puget Sound
7. New research aims to unravel how phosphorus pollution drives toxic algal blooms in the Great Lakes
8. Genome signatures enable tracking of algal complexity
9. DOE awards UC San Diego consortium $9 million for algal biofuels research
10. Ben-Gurion U researchers isolate microalgal strain that could reduce cholesterol
11. Is iron from soil a factor in algal blooms?
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/2/2016)... Feb. 2, 2016  BioMEMS devices deployed ... focused on medical screening and diagnostic applications, ... Wearable devices that facilitate and assure continuous ... movement are being bolstered through new opportunities ... signal acquisition coupled with wireless connectivity and ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... , Feb. 2, 2016 Technology Enhancements Accelerate ... an analysis of the digital and computed radiography markets ... , and Indonesia (TIM). ... and market size, as well as regional market drivers ... and discusses market penetration and market attractiveness, both for ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... Rising sales of consumer electronics ... intuitive gesture control market size ... consumer electronics coupled with new technological advancements to drive ... through 2020   --> ... advancements to drive global touchfree intuitive gesture control market ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)...  Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN ) a leading ... , Allergan,s CEO and President, will be featured as ... the RBC Capital Markets Healthcare Conference on Tuesday, February ... York Palace Hotel in New York, NY ... can be accessed on Allergan,s Investor Relations web site ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... Benchmark Research, a fully-integrated network ... two long-standing principal investigators (PI) to the roles of Chief Medical Officer, Clinical ... Dr. Laurence Chu, a Benchmark Research PI in the Austin office, will assume ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... 10, 2016 , ... LATHAM, NEW YORK... Marktech Optoelectronics will feature ... in San Francisco’s Moscone Center from February 16-18, 2016, and at the healthcare-focused ... latest InGaAs PIN diode standard packages feature a TO-46 metal can with active areas ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Mateo, CA (PRWEB) , ... February 10, 2016 ... ... of Multiplex Testing (PROMPT), a research registry built on the secure online PatientCrossroads ... September 2014. More than 1,600 participants have joined the PROMPT study, which seeks ...
Breaking Biology Technology: