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Algae Biofuels; From the Lake to the Lab

All too often during the summer months algae can make a bad name for itself. Lakes across the country are filled with algal blooms that can keep swimmers out, and kill sea-life within. But Reasearchers at the University of Buffalo are studying ways to remove the algae and turn it into biofuels and fertilizer.

Their system uses algae beds to remove excess nutrients from the lake, and can simultaneously improve water quality and create useful products. From Domestic Fuels:

Funded by a $30,000 Rochester Institute of Technology grant, [David] Blersch, an environmental engineer at the University at Buffalo, and his students built a system that pumps water ashore down two, 40-foot-long flumes.

The water is recycled into the lake but it leaves behind microscopic cells that form miniature algae blooms. Blersch vacuums the algae and bottles samples to study. He is creating a database that will help scientists, government, industry and others gauge the algae’s potential uses.

Students at Buffalo have been able to learn and explore the potential that algae holds.

From University of Buffalo News Center:

“This research is really a unique opportunity to examine issues that delve into sustainable bioenergy and how we can use innovative technology to improve our waterways,” said Byrley, who this fall will attend the University of California, Riverside, on a full scholarship to pursue a doctoral degree in chemical and environmental engineering.

Algae once again turn our burdensome waste into useful products.

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