Two-year NASA project finds that sea-based, floating algae bioreactors “may be a feasible pathway to sustainable biofuels.”

September 3, 2012 |

In California, the heads of a two-year NASA project aimed at cultivating microalgae from wastewater, using floating photobioreactors have reported that “algal productivity in prototype floating photobioreactors using secondary wastewater effluent ranged from 4 to nearly 30 g biomass m2 per day,” while noting lipid levels of 5 to 30 percent and concluded that “Additional studies are required, but it appears that an integrated OMEGA system may be a feasible pathway to sustainable biofuels.”

NASA and the California Energy Commission supported the 2-year feasibility study, at the California Department of Fish and Game, the Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant San Francisco, and Moss Landing Harbor. The project developed a system design, tested growth rates, and measured wastewater nutrient removal.  The study is one of the few projects that looks at growing microalgae without the need to secure land for ponds or closed photobioreactor systems.

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Category: Research

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