We have algae!

We have finally seen the algae! It looks like how someone would expect to see algae. It’s a green brownish color and is slimy. Of all the plants that grow in the world it’s definitely not the most interesting in terms of looks or aesthetics, but it very well might be the next part of the solution to our energy crisis. In comparison to other alternative sources of energy like wind and solar, it is really easy to collect. We do not need any fancy expensive equipment or to worry about weather conditions (at least not too much). We are simply sticking screens in the water and letting algae grow and then raise the screens out and start scrapping some of the algae off of the screens. If this sounds tedious to you, that is because it is and part of my project that I will start working on now that we have the algae growing is making it simpler to collect.

Right now we have finalized our pulley system, which can take our screens out of the water, but the hope for this summer is that we can figure out a way to harvest the algae while the screens stay in the water. The big picture idea is to have a blade that sits on the side of the screens and goes back and forth on a set schedule and would pump the collected algae out of the water. That is easier said than done. Before I even begin to imagine working on the design I see numerous questions and I am sure as I begin to imagine it, I will have even more questions on how to make the harvester.  There are the simple questions, like how are we going to pump the algae out of the water? Which has the simple answer and the complicated answer. Well of course you would use a pump, to pump out the algae, but then we have to figure out what kind of pump? How much do we want to pump out and at what rate? What kind of pump do we want? How do we configure the pump? Where will we pump the algae? These questions are just about a pump, let alone how I will even get started. The silver lining in all this is the fact that we have algae.