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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Going Green: KU students grow algae for biofuel, cleaner water

Kansas NSF EPSCoR funds biofuel research as part of its major initiative, Climate change and Energy, Basic Science, Impacts and Mitigation. One of the projects has been studying ways of using treated wastewater and top-down ecology to grow high-yield algae. Lead researcher, Belinda Sturm, associate professor of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering, continues her research as part of KU's Feedstock to Tailpipe Initiative.

She and her colleagues are working with a team of about 25 KU graduate and undergraduate engineering students to turn the tiny water-based plants into biofuel.

“We remove nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus that harm the environment and make a useful product,” Sturm said. “That’s the bottom line. We’re cleaning up wastewater and creating a biofuels feedstock.”

One of the goals of the KU project is to show how a city or county could grow its own algae to treat nutrient-rich wastewater. After the algae consume the nitrogen and phosphorus, the cleaner water can be returned to nature.

- See more at: http://features.ku.edu/article/going-green-ku-engineers-tap-tiny-algae-biofuel#sthash.n8MFsMqZ.dpuf

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