How exactly are we going to collect algae?

I did not know what to expect when I began my summer research here at W&M. I understood the overall goals and had a very slight idea of how we were exactly going to accomplish our goals, but now I realize there are a lot more moving parts than I first expected. A major part of my research so far has been trying to take certain designs and translate them into parts for our craft. The main part of the craft that I have been concerned with creating has been the screens where the algae will grow on. The screens will go on the inside of the craft and run parallel to the length of the craft. They are broken into two sections that are about 18 feet long. The screens are wrapped around and clamped onto PVC “canes”. The canes were bent so that they could hang onto the edges of the craft. To make harvesting easier I also worked to design and create a pulley system that would simplify raising the canes out of the water to collect the algae. To design the pulley system we mounted the aluminum framing (which holds the pulleys) onto poles, which attach directly to the craft.

Once we had finalized all the pieces for our craft we set out to VIMS, (Virginia Institute of Marine Science) which is where the craft will be deployed, and attached the screens to the craft. We quickly realized that there were certain parts that needed to be revised and reworked, but we were still able to place the screens and start the algae growing process. We found that the screens needed to be shortened slightly, but we were able to do that on the craft. The pulley system did not work at all and we have to completely rethink how to implement it with our craft. Most of the other problems were slight fixes and should be finished by the end of this week. We are planning on going to VIMS this Tuesdayto try out some of our changes and hopefully by then we will have some algae.

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