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Update on my Algae project
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So here's the latest.

My bioreactor(s) (I have 2 now) are as green as this website is. (pun intended! LOL)

Anyhow.. One of my main issues has always been the CO2 problem. Atmospheric c02 is not enough to get algae to grow like nutz..

Well....
I found 15,000 lbs of it per year!!! Can you believe that ? That's a lot of C02!

Where is it? In my own home and probably your's too!
I am now drawing exhaust gasses from my water heater.. When winter comes, I'll be drawing the gasses from the furnace also!

So, I have a thermostat on the water heater exhaust pipe.. The thermostat gets hot when the heater turns on and energizes a vacuum pump which fills an air-bladder. The air-bladder is attached to a manifold system with another pump that sends the co2 exhaust gasses through my algae.

The issue I'm dealing with now is do I exhaust the gasses into the house or back outside after they go through the algae.

Normally, you wouldnt think the algae would be able to clean those gasses enough to be safe for the home...... You'd be surprised!!!!!

Using Ca(OH)2 solution, I created a baseline(s) by recording how much it takes for the atmosphere and for my own breath to cloud the water.
Record,
*Breath
*Natural atmosphere
*Direct from heaters
*After pass through algae system.

I've run into 2 problems that ironically seem to be able to solve each other. (I love it when that happens but havent done it yet)

The algae do a damn fine job of scrubbing the c02 from the gasses.. (actually, I think its just the rate the stuff dissolves into the water). The problem is that i don't think its enough.. so, I need to recirculate the gasses being bubbled through the algae to give the little critters more time to absorb it.

The solution? send the gasses back to the main manifold storage bag and let them go through the algae 3 or 4 times before exhausting.
(working on that now)

This works because my heaters don't turn on often enough anyhow and the exhaust gas storage manifold empties out before it has a chance to collect more gas.

more to come.


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Registered: March 09, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Murphy, this is good stuff. The world needs more people like you.

Chris
 
Location: Mechanicsville, VA | Registered: May 30, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks Chris!

Another update:
I started a new culture bottle today. Since discovering the magic of carbonated water, my cultures are growing much faster.. Changes can be seen daily.

So anyhow.. to start the new culture, I shut off the bubblers and let the heavy algae settle to the bottom of the reactor.. After an hour, I sucked out a good 60ml from the bottom.
The algae inside the 60cc syringe was so thick and green that light would not penetrate even the 1 inch diameter syring.. Ya baby! That stuff is thick.

Progress is picking up fast.. those little algae are logrithmic in their growth and the carbonated water makes them go bonkers.

When the sun shines through the window, its starting to remind me of the "Borg" in Star Trek.

What is really interesting is that the sound the system makes is quite soothing.. I can hear it from my bedroom at night when going to bed... Its a bubble-bubble-bubble-ga-glunk, bubble bubble, ga-glunk, and the pattern slowly changes its dance as minor pressure variances make their way through the air circulation system. The more bottles I add, the more soothing the sound becomes.. By the time I get 10 or 15 of these things going I should know if its making any difference in my sleep patterns. (they say ocean waves make you sleep better).. close enough..

more later...


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Registered: March 09, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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this is great stuff! you're really inovative, Murphy. I can't wait to see how everything works out in the end.


'90 Chevy Silverado 6.2 diesel
 
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Registered: February 14, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Carbonated water -- How much of this, and how often, do you add to the algae? If I leave a glass of carbonated soda on the table for more than a couple hours it looses all it's carbonated fizz, if I disturb it a bit it gives off a bit more fizz, really flat after that. I would think the bubbling would cause the dissolved CO2 to fizz out of the carbonated water pretty quick?

Cheaper CO2 source -- Limestone and a highly diluted weak acid, vinegar maybe, maybe mureatic?
 
Location: fisher,illinois,usa | Registered: June 03, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I put about 60ml carbonated water into 1.5 liters of thick growing algae.

Do it only on a sunny day.. The algae can only utilize it if they have plenty of sunshine.

For small 20ml cultures, I add about 2 or 3 drops.

Also, just because your taste buds say there is no more co2 left in a liquid, doesnt mean its all gone.. or even close to it as I understand things.

Carbonated water is at its full saturation point when its in a bottle. Temperature and pressure determine how much co2 can stay dissolved.
When I inject 60ml into 1.5, I'm pretty sure that 95% of the carbonation goes directly into the surrounding water and becomes highly diluted..I would further think that its ability to leave the solution would also be substantially reduced.. (like the flash point of methanol as you add water to it).

Just make sure you get real carbonated water without the bicarbonates many brands add for taste..

Also, as for the C02 fizzing out, that problem is almost fixed. My air recirculates in my system so when I add carbon dioxide, ALL of it gets used even if it leaves the water it will eventually be bubbled back through again.


I still have little idea of what I'm doing. I feel like a newbie all over again.


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Registered: March 09, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I read that the algae should only be fed CO2 at night.

Post some pics if you dont mind very interested to see your setup!

cheers

pom
 
Registered: May 10, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Nah ,

You got that a*se about face. As with all plants, they use Co2 and expel O2 in the day and then use O2 and expel Co2 in the night.

Co2 is a key ingrediant in chlorophyll and that can only be produced with the help of light.


Slippery
Small steps taken one at a time
 
Location: Brisbane | Registered: January 30, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Nev Allen:
Nah ,

You got that a*se about face. As with all plants, they use Co2 and expel O2 in the day and then use O2 and expel Co2 in the night.

Co2 is a key ingrediant in chlorophyll and that can only be produced with the help of light.


I never understood that.. Plants use oxygen at night? Huh? Is this like a very tiny amount or something?

I'm confused on that because I always thought plants eat co2 and give back oxygen..
I guess the question is how much of each..??


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Registered: March 09, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Plants - can't trust 'em.


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Location: Green Bay, WI | Registered: June 26, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Great info. Good job.
How do you plan to get the oil from the algae? Thanks.
 
Registered: December 23, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Interesting project, although this looks like an old link.

How many thousands of gallons of algae Biodiesel yet?

And where to I connect up to my electric HW heater and electric baseboard heaters?

I guess I'm just going to have to breathe into a plastic bag, as well as handing out bags to all the company Wink

A couple of comments.
I'd probably design a dual bladder system. One for the intake, and one (or perhaps 2) for recirculation, while letting in some ambient air.

Exhausting into the house is probably ok, but it wouldn't hurt to test a few gas samples. I'd only do it if there is a benefit that I wanted like already having warm air (in the winter).

I accidentally ended up with a little Sodium Phosphate.
Algae is supposed to really love it.
I could get you a little if you want it.
 
Location: Oregon | Registered: October 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Murphy,
I'm starting my own project and was wondering if I could talk to you about getting some hints about how to start. THanks all for the help!
 
Registered: September 25, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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