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Monday, November 16, 2009

Now That's Green Thinking: Treat Wastewater with Algae

An eager reader informs me that her click on one of the Google ads here led her to something interesting: Algaewheel, and Indianapolis company that has developed technology to treat wastewater with algae. They've licensed the technology to another Indiana company, Oldcastle Precast, which has successfully installed algae tech in commercial and residential applications.

The folks at Algaewheel cite the following benefits of their green wastewater treatment system:
  1. Save energy: Wastewater treatment plants account for 3% of U.S. electrical demand. Algae run on solar power. Algaewheel tech could cut that energy demand by half or more.
  2. Produce energy: The company touts the biomass produced in the treatment process as an excellent power source.
  3. Save the planet: Algae treatment is carbon neutral. It also captures nitrous oxide, which conventional wastewater treatment systems emit and which is 300 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
  4. Save money: Algaewheel says their systems cost the same or less to build and save money long-term with less maintenance and fewer chemical inputs.
Hmm... if the Lake Herman Sanitary District can't afford to build a central sewer system, maybe we can build some neighborhood treatment greenhouses—one at Dirks Resort, one on Territorial Road, one on the golf course—charge 'em up with algae from Lake Herman, and burn the biomass to generate our own electricity. Wow—maybe we can use that budget reserve after all!


  1. Cory, this was the plan for my debate case in high school! Glad to see ten years later someone is finally running with the idea.

    Matt Groce,

    P.s. another good thing to use that algae for. Algae burgers! You just have to get past the fact that you are eating something that feed off your own sewage.

  2. Matt! Forward that 1AC!

    And algae burgers? Heck, I eat hot dogs; what's a little more sewage in my diet?


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