Harmful algal blooms (HAB) are becoming an intractable problem around the world as nutrient runoff worsens and as water temperatures warm. Today, a new generation of technologies are making it possible to harvest algae from HABs, and reduce the damage they can cause to ecosystems and local economies.
The potential of harvesting algae from HABs is enormous. Removing the algae can improve the health of the water, as well as the communities that depend on them. Biomass harvested from HABs can also be converted into products such as fertilizers, bioplastics, and even fuels.
Advanced algae harvesting technologies have already been put to commercial use, and are now just beginning to join a suite of solutions to HABs that includes controlling runoff pollution from the source, restricting water access, and other actions.
AECOM is one company operating in this space, having developed a scalable algae removal technology in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
Algix has also developed harvesting and processing technologies that use algae to make thermoplastic foam materials that can be used in shoes, clothing, 3-d printing materials, more.
The future of harvesting algae to preserve ecosystem services will depend on the coordination of technology developers and market growth, but also on the cooperation of regulators and communities that are interested in controlling HABs and the problems they can cause.
At ABO we are building just such a coalition. Ready to learn more? Reach out and get in touch with a network of companies, researchers and regulators that are advancing this solution to one of this century’s most pressing water challenges.
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