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:11/15/2016)... 15, 2016 Research and Markets has announced ... 2021" report to their offering. ... ... by 2021 from USD 6.21 Billion in 2016, growing at a ... of the bioinformatics market is driven by the growing demand for ...
(Date:11/14/2016)... 14, 2016  Based on its recent ... & Sullivan recognizes FST Biometrics with the ... Visionary Innovation Leadership. FST Biometrics emerged as ... market by pioneering In Motion Identification (IMID) ... seamless, and non-invasive verification. This patented solution ...
(Date:6/22/2016)...  The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics was ... as one of the fastest-growing trade shows during the Fastest ... in Las Vegas . ... in each of the following categories: net square feet of ... attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting was ranked 23 out ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/6/2016)... PA (PRWEB) , ... December ... ... part of the Almac Group, the world’s largest privately-held contract pharmaceutical development ... with inVentiv Health, a leading biopharma outsourcing company combining a leading CRO ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... ... Discovering new clues to natural treatments that could allow our bodies to ... And searching for keys to our immune systems by studying parasite-resistant fish. These are ... Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards by The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... ... platforms, announced today that the company has engaged in a collaborative research partnership ... (MRDA) with the CSU Office of the Vice President for Research. This agreement ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... , December 6, 2016 According to a ... Microneedle), Material (Polymer, Glass, Silicon), Application (Genomics, Proteomics, Capillary Electrophoresis, POC, ... MarketsandMarkets, the global market is projected to reach USD 8.78 Billion ... of 19.2% during the forecast period (2016 to 2021). ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: