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Pond scum to power? State considering proposal from MUM to create algae bioreactor
by Matt Milner
The Ottumwa Courier Translate This Article
23 July 2008
On 23 July 2008 The Ottumwa Courier reported:
The State of Iowa is considering a proposal from Maharishi University of Management to create an algae bioreactor, which would both produce and refine algae for use as fuel. The university has applied to the Iowa Power Fund to help support the project, which is currently in the laboratory stage.
It is a joy for Global Good News service to feature this news, which indicates the success of the life-supporting programmes Maharishi has designed to bring
fulfilment to the field of science.
Algae already are being used by some power plants to strip out emissions, 'since the hot, carbon dioxide-laden gases are a banquet for the tiny plants', the Ottumwa Courier explained.
Since it grows rapidly, the green, water-loving, chlorophyll-filled plant is being considered by some scientists as a food source in areas where crops won't grow.
However, Maharishi University of Management's Professor Lonnie Gamble thinks the well-recognized pond scum could be a fuel source to power various vehicles.
The Ottumwa Courier quoted Professor Gamble as saying, 'It turns out that the bodies of algae are about 50 percent oil. We can make fuel from them.'
Texas-based Valcent is partnering with the university to look into the potential for developing an algae bioreactor.
M.U.M has applied to the Iowa Power Fund to help support the project, which is currently in the laboratory stage.
The Ottumwa Couriter reported, 'The university wants to expand that to a quarter-acre greenhouse for the algae as a test site. Researchers believe industrial scale production will require sites of at least 100 acres. Assistant Professor Jimmy Sinton directs the bioreactor project. He said the key for future use of algae is that the plant is not difficult to grow, nor is it difficult to understand.'
As any fish tank owner knows, algae grow easily in very small spaces.
The article explained, 'Geothermal heat and passive sunlight are enough, particularly on the small scale currently being planned. . . . Both Gamble and Sinton say the process is close to carbon neutral. That means it produces as much carbon as a fuel as it removes while it grows. It's a trade-off.'
Professor Sinton estimates the large-scale set-up cost will be $300,000 per acre, which will produce 30,000 gallons of algae per acre per year to start. Production could go as high as 600,000 gallons per acre per year.
As research discovers the many ways algae can be used, the project will become cost effective as production costs decrease and profits come in.
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