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Water Treatment

Algae pond-1The impact of algae on an ecosystem is highly dependent on the circumstances in which the algae are growing. While algae in nutrient rich warm waters can bloom out of control and damage the ecosystem, it may also serve as a natural bioremediator in controlled growth conditions. The extremely fast growth potential of algae allows them to consume waterborne contaminants very quickly providing cleaner water. In nature this acts as a bio-load control mechanism never allowing ecosystem imbalance to occur. Alternatively, when human influences cause increases in Nitrogenous and Phosphorous compound loading rates or sudden onset compound loading the natural balancing mechanism of algae can temporarily overload an ecosystem causing very damaging effects from blooms.

large-pondAs we have seen these effects over the last several decades controls have been put in place for our waste outputs with perhaps one of the most innovative techniques being controlled algae growth in industrial, municipal, and agricultural waste treatment facilities. Allowing algae to perform its natural role before our waste enters the environment allows ecological disasters to be avoided and can accomplish a lot more than just bloom prevention.

Coal_power_plant_Datteln_2_Crop1Algae for instance require many metals for natural metabolic processes in nature. Since these metals are scarce in the environment algae have developed mechanisms for greater uptake of metals as a natural evolutionary advantage. When applied to bioremediation of waste water sources this makes algae very efficient at scrubbing heavy metals from very contaminated water sources.1 Algae also use CO2 as a primary nutrient for growth and metabolism, and have been shown to be highly adept at removing CO2 from point source pollution sources like flue gas from coal plants.2 Algae have also demonstrated promise in fracking a notoriously damaging process of fossil fuel recovery that provides significant waste water output needing to be cleaned.*

Water DroughtWhile for many clean water is not an issue today the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research Group (BAMLGRG) reported about 768 million people have no access to clean water currently, and that as populations continue to rise global freshwater demands will exceed supply by 2030. The BAMLGRG further reports that a major point of conflict between countries in the future will be over water supplies with as much as 45% of GDP dedicated to securing water.3 In the US alone California represents a significant reminder to the importance of water supplies with over 80% of the state in severe drought and a 2.2 billion dollar impact on agriculture in 2014 alone.4

IMGP4143So the impact of algae on the wastewater cleaning industry is significant and is currently demonstrated in a myriad of forms including Photo Bio-Reactor (PBR) systems, Open Raceway systems, PBR/Open Raceway hybrids, and Turf Scrubbers. The only difficulty in operating these algal scrubbing systems is determining what to do with the algal biomass created. That is where innovators like Algix can provide solutions to add value to a byproduct of environmental damage prevention through plastic inclusion. Algix now works with some of the leaders in algae wastewater treatment to provide solutions to municipal, agricultural, or industrial wastewater treatment operations through our Algix Water Solutions division.
*OriginOil, Inc.

 

 

Algent Algae Advantage

20140829_094900Algent is a division of Algix specializing in algae biomass production for conversion into value added products. Algent has been focused on helping areas with algal bloom risks through our algae harvesting technology. This comes in two forms environmental remediation, and aquacultural cooperation. In areas in which prolonged nutrient loading of waterways or hard to control water run off causes blooms the Algent model can be applied to provide a constant removal of algal biomass and nutrients providing more stable ecosystems and reduction to the risk of algal blooms. The Algent model benefits to aquacultural operations are lower operating expenditures, more stable pond ecosystems, and an economic incentive for algae harvested providing more consistent farming income.

20130815_171442The Algent headquarters is located in Marion Junction, Alabama in the heart of the US aquaculture industry. Algent has developed a process comprised of mobile algae harvesting platforms and down-stream dewatering and drying operations for the production of dry algae biomass. Algent manufactures the Algent mobile harvesting platforms at its Alabama headquarters and distributes them to interested third parties and other Algent locations around the global. The Algent technology is deployed near nutrient enriched bodies of freshwater that suffer from algae blooms. The mobile harvesting platform sits next to an at risk fresh water source while concentrating the algae-rich pond water into an algae slurry that can be dewatered and dried. Algent has incorporated energy efficient and high throughput equipment to convert the algae slurry into dry free-flowing coarse granules that can be stably stored and transported for conversion into value added products.

Copy of 20140820_141046_FotorThe Algent operations around the globe provide Algix with a stable reliable and dependable source of algal biomass for our inclusion into algae based bioplastics in our Solaplast division. Through our collaboration with algae water treatment partners, and our Algent operations Algix is able to source the algae biomass needed to try to solve the World’s Plastic Problem.

 

 References

1. Dwivedi, D. S., Bioremediation of Heavy Metal by Algae: Current and Future Perspective. Journal of Advanced Laboratory Research in Biology 2012, 3 (3).
2. Olaizola, M., Microalgal removal of CO2 from flue gases: Changes in medium pH and flue gas composition do not appear to affect the photochemical yield of microalgal cultures. Biotechnol. Bioprocess Eng. 2003, 8 (6), 360-367.
3. Kennedy, B., Global demand for fresh water set to exceed supply. CBS News 2014.
4. Howard, B. C., California Report Warns of Worsening Economic Impacts of Drought. National Geographic 2014.