Development and Testing of an Automated, Submerged Filamentous Algae Harvester

This project is part of an ongoing effort to develop a commercially viable operation that would grow and harvest the algae in the rivers that feed into the Chesapeake Bay. The algae would grow off of screens that are attached to our craft. The algae grown and harvested through the design would remove excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, which has caused eutrophication within the Chesapeake Bay. The algae itself can also be harvested and used for numerous products, such as biofuels or catalytic substrates. The goal of this summer is to produce a commercially viable system that can cover an acre of water surface, with a harvesting procedure that would be automated and require minimal maintenance. Throughout the summer we hope to test at least two possible designs and determine the most effective harvesting techniques and schedules, while maximizing the algae growth.