11 Apr '12, 2pm

Your new offshore energy source: floating algae farms

Forget offshore oil drilling. NASA’s working on a project that would generate clean, renewable offshore energy, by growing algae in floating plastic bags. These floating algae farms would take in wastewater from treatment plants. For algae, wastewater is like the nectar of the gods: The ammonia and phosphates act as a fertilizer. So the algae would float happily contained in the baggies, getting fat with lipid oil, and cleaning up the wastewater in the process. Eventually, the algae farmers would harvest the oil, recycle the plastic and start all over again. There are a few benefits to this fuel system. It takes less land then algae farms, it recycles wastewater, and it avoids the energy-intensive cooling and the problems with evaporation that open algae ponds have to deal with. And if these offshore energy sources spilled, the algae shouldn’t cause too much harm. The plas...

Full article: http://grist.org/list/your-new-offshore-energy-source-flo...

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