Using Algae as an Alternative Source of Energy?
Every year NASA stuns the minds involved with various scientific circles in the majority of countries around the world. Notwithstanding its substantial involvement in operating space shuttles, unloading humans on the surface of Mars, and detailed research of the planetary system, NASA is also one of the leaders in the market of innovative, environmentally friendly technologies. And notably, NASA is involved in the development and promotion of renewable energy distribution in technics and aircraft, also used by the agency itself.
One of the recent achievements of NASA scholars is the introduction of a method of biofuel cultivation based on water grass and waste waters, which one could guess might benefit both alternative energy implementation as well as urban ecology.
This unique technology has been called OMEGA, an acronym for Offshore Membrane Enclosure for Growing Algae. The key strategy of this method is to grow water grass in city water waste using biological reagents (flexible plastic tubes floating on the water).
Of particular note, the process of cultivation is accompanied by the consumption of favorable water wastes’ components and nitrogen dioxide, which contributes a new solution to the issues plaguing urban ecology. In addition, as with any other plants, water grass also consumes greenhouse gases (dioxide carbon) using only solar energy.
The amount of nutrient materials, solar energy, and greenhouse gases has a proportional influence on the amount of water grass that is grown. Normally, the harvest of algae can be gathered in three to five days.
Production of Biofuel Cells
One might ask how these plants might ensure the production of biofuel cells. The thing is that a large share of water grass mass is oil by nature, which becomes the initial material for manufacturing eco-friendly biofuels. Moreover, after the plants have been recycled, the body parts left can be used to make other products, such as fertilizers, fodder, and natural gas. Hence, water grass cultivation is very multifunctional and benefits numerous fields of industry and ecology.
The idea of OMEGA originated from closed life support systems, used often with the International Space Station. NASA’s strategy is to transform wastes from one field into resources for another, which might be headed under the term “resource optimization.”
In this context, the OMEGA project hastens the idea of water waste supply to biofuels manufacture, which requires several stages to be completed (water grass cultivation, solar energy supply, absorbing nutrients from water wastes, gathering harvest, recycling oil algae).
Water Waste Technology
Water waste has become a point of commercial success lately. One of the most recent practitioners of water waste technology is the Phillips Company, which has developed a bacterial lamp that operates on waste water. It is a part of the project named Microbial Home, which challenges the possibility of creating a self-sustaining energy house.
NASA’s Project OMEGA, particularly the production of membranes to grow water grass, is likely to have see commercial profits within a year, NASA happily invites technologists and industrialists to manage and cultivate appropriations of this technology. A small sample of OMEGA was founded in tanks with seawater in the California Fish Laboratory (Santa Cruz, CA), and eventually it evolved to a system capacity of 1.6 thousand liters of southeast sewage treatment plant in San Francisco.