Feb 012011

Environmental Engineers Use Algae To Capture Carbon Dioxide

Engineers have designed a simple, sustainable and natural carbon sequestration solution using algae. A team at Ohio University created a photo bioreactor that uses photosynthesis to grow algae, passing carbon dioxide over large membranes, placed vertically to save space. The carbon dioxide produced by the algae is harvested by dissolving into the surrounding water. The algae can be harvested and made into biodiesel fuel and feed for animals. A reactor with 1.25 million square meters of algae screens could be up and running by 2010.

Global warming’s effects can be seen worldwide, and many experts believe it’s only going to get worse. In fact, America is by far the largest contributor to global warming than any other country — releasing a quarter of the world’s carbon dioxide — the primary cause of global warming. But now engineers have found a natural way to eliminate one of the worst contributors to our environment’s decay.

What’s coming from power plants, traffic jams and industrial smog is causing our ozone to disappear, ice caps to melt, and temperatures to rise. The latest international report says carbon dioxide responsible for 60 percent of the greenhouse gases.

Now engineers say a simple, sustainable and natural solution may come from algae. “If this sort of technology can be developed, it can be deployed anywhere there’s sunlight,” David Bayless, a professor of mechanical engineering at Ohio University in Athens, tells DBIS.

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