What is it about algae that makes it so appealing?
Algae grows ten times faster than terrestrial plants and requires less than a tenth of the acreage to produce the same amount of biomass. It grows on ground that isn't profitable or arable, so it doesn't compete for space with other crops. It can be fertilised more efficiently than land crops because it doesn't require fresh water, and one can avoid the intensive water consumption, wasteful fertiliser runoff, and downstream eutrophication associated with modern agriculture.
Scientists believe that economy can shift towards algae culture
Eutrophication isn't the only issue threatening our survival. Fossil fuels have been harvested at unprecedented rates since the dawn of civilization at the end of the 19th century, emptying the Earth's accumulated store of petroleum and natural gases in a matter of decades. Scientists have been frantically searching for new renewable energy sources, such as wind, water, and even the sun and tides. Despite the fact that none of these sources are efficient enough to support the global economy, researchers are increasingly interested in algae. Many scientists were taken aback when they discovered that applying an environmental stress to an algal culture, such as reducing the supply of critical nutrients, might have dramatic results.
How does Algae provide a path to resource recovery?
Algae can assist facilities in reducing total effluent nutrients, managing side-stream treatment to fulfil severe downstream requirements, and lowering overall plant operating costs. Algae, which was once thought to be a nuisance for WWTPs, may now serve an important role in nutrient control and resource recovery.
There are numerous advantages of employing algae to remediate wastewater.
Algae is widely available, flexible, and capable of nutrient uptake in large quantities. Because photosynthesis is essential for microalgae production, the system is particularly well suited to areas with abundant sunlight and high temperatures, and requires minimum maintenance. The utilisation of algae produces high-quality treated water.
The necessity for big footprints and the high cost/energy involved with algae harvesting are two major impediments to large-scale usage of algae in wastewater treatment. The algae culture is gaining popularity for its novel technique to cultivating and collecting algae in a wastewater application with a reduced footprint. Historically, wastewater treatment has been costly and hazardous to human health.However, in recent years, it has become clear that wastewater may be a valuable resource, supplying both energy and water for reuse.
Algae Culture: Next step in waste water treatment
The elimination of the concept of waste in wastewater is critical in light of global population increase, drought, and rising water needs. It's time to think of the water from the nation's 15,000 municipal wastewater treatment plants as a valuable resource to be recovered rather than discarded, and to consider using algal systems to do it. Algae technology is gaining traction as the next step in wastewater treatment.
The ability of algae to adapt to such stressors in their environment not only gives us hope for producing more sustainable energy, but it also teaches us about resilience: if a small strain of eukaryotic cells can survive in such harsh conditions, why aren't we doing everything we can to adapt to the future we've created?
We have wreaked more havoc on the planet during our existence than any other species. The biosphere as we know it is on the verge of being extinguished. Nature has provided itself with the exceptional ability to recover and expand in reaction to dramatic changes such as massive extinction events, so all hope is not lost.
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