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Algae Space Farming

 
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This may seem like a bizarre thing to mention, but I recently thought of it independently, and then found out that NASA and UNM did it.

http://www.algaeindustrymagazine.com/unm-students-testing-algae-in-space/
http://www.space.com/7679-nasa-algae-turn-sewage-fuel.html

This seems like a critical accomplishment in the history of humanity. For the first time, we are on the brink of tapping an infinitely sustainable resource, on a massive scale. This is symbiosis at its finest, cycling of nutrients with multiple yields and functions. Anyone have any thoughts or doubts about this at all?
 
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the Devil's in the details. Growing algae is easy. Getting energy from it is the hard part.

I love how these types of articles always gloss over that part of the equation. "Oh, we'll just turn it into biofuel, like we do with corn."

Right. Sure you will. While you're at it, there are a number of lakes filled with the stuff right here on Earth.
 
steward
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I'm with Abe. sounds pretty amazing, and it will be if anybody shows that fuel can actually be produced with reasonable inputs. at this point, though, I'll put it in the same category as my human sebum to biofuel plan: practical results are in order before celebration.

this article covers some of the issues with algae biofuels pretty well.

and is the point of doing it in space to keep folks in space longer, or to bring it back to earth?
 
gardener
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I think the idea has some merit as a final treatment of sewage treatment plants.
concentrating on making biofuel from the algae is complicating things
we're need better sewage treatment more than biofuel

it reminds me of an article i read some years ago where a guy, in I think arizona, built a treatment system using clear plastic hose to treat sewage
the sewage flowed by gravity through the hose, algae growing in the hose cleaned up the wastes. he ran a roller over the hose every so often to harvest the algae
 
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