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:2/16/2017)... 2017  Genos, a community for personal genetic ... received Laboratory Accreditation from the College of American ... laboratories that meet stringent requirements around quality, accuracy ... "Genos is committed to maintaining the ... honored to be receiving CAP accreditation," said ...
(Date:2/10/2017)... , Feb 10, 2017 ... new report "Personalized Medicine - Scientific and Commercial Aspects" ... ... personalized medicine. Diagnosis is integrated with therapy for selection of ... on early detection and prevention of disease in modern medicine. ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... YORK , Feb. 7, 2017 Report Highlights ... The ... should reach $11.4 billion by 2021, growing at a compound ... Includes - An overview of the global markets for synthetic ... 2015, estimates for 2016, and projections of compound annual growth ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/22/2017)... ... February 22, 2017 , ... Kernel , a ... Systems, LLC (KRS) clinical development program. KRS is a neurotechnology spin-out from ... and clinical applications. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. , ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... Feb. 22, 2017  PrimeVax Immuno-Oncology, Inc. announced today ... at the Annual Biocom Global Life Science Partnering Conference.  ... 11:15 AM, at the Torrey Pines Lodge, in San ... organizers at Biocom who have chosen our company, amongst ... biotechnology companies, investors, and clinical researchers," said Mr. Chen. ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... ... February 22, 2017 , ... ... of women’s health, primary care, and specialty education, announced today it has ... (ACCME). ACCME’s Accreditation with Commendation is a six-year accreditation and is the ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... ... 22, 2017 , ... LabRoots , the leading provider ... world, is pleased to announce the 2nd annual Precision Medicine Virtual Conference. The ... conference focused on the development and advancements in precision medicine. , Precision Medicine ...
Breaking Biology Technology: