Researchers Look At Turning Wastewater Into Energy


You may wonder how tiny organisms and an aerated waste water treatment lagoon may be combined to make up a recipe for a biofuel energy source.

"Wastewater treatment plants are designed to take nutrients and dispose of these nutrients, but in this case, we're actually using the nutrients to create energy," said Michael Twiss of Clarkson University.                                                               

Clarkson University environmental science and engineering student Stephanie Kring of Redwood has been researching how algae and free floating zooplankton microbes - similar to the ones that were taken from Canton's waste water lagoon system - can be be used to make biofuels.

"The lagoons are a natural source of nitrogen and phosphorus which we need to grow algae. By supplying those nutrients, it makes it a more sustainable process as opposed to having to add nutrients from other source, like a fertilizer," said Kring.

The tiny zooplankton microbes, which are primarily a source of fish food, also feed off the algae, which contain the necessary ingredients for conversion to biofuel.

The research also found that collecting zooplankton from the wastewater lagoons is less labor intensive and cheaper than collecting microscopic algae, even though a filtration system would be needed to harvest the tiny creatures.

While Kring's research has already provided some valuable insight, more work is needed before it becomes a useful energy source.

Saturday, December 10, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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