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NASA Launches with Algae Systems on Eve Of COP 15: Carbon-negative Fuel from Sewage and CO2

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Press release

As several industrialized nations rush to dampen the expectations of Copenhagen, NASA has launched a new mission. The payload: Algae Systems – a new company started by NASA engineers and seasoned biofuel industry veterans to launch a profitable global solution for reducing greenhouse gases.

Algae Systems: Producing Carbon-Negative Diesel and Jet Fuel from Sewage and CO2 The founders of Algae Systems accepted NASA’s challenge to prove, commercialize and bring to market a unique and revolutionary technology – a byproduct of space missions – that produces a renewable carbon-negative fuel from algae that feeds on sunlight, sewage and CO2.

The NASA-developed technology, called OMEGA (Offshore Membrane Enclosures for Growing Algae) is a low-cost and low-tech method for growing algae. Unlike other approaches to growing algae, which require construction of massive energy-intensive facilities, OMEGAs are relatively inexpensive. OMEGAs are inflatable plastic membranes filled with processed wastewater, CO2 gas, and freshwater algae. OMEGAs float in water, and can be anchored off the coast of any ocean or salt lake. As the algae grow, using the energy of the sun, they convert wastewater and CO2 into biomass, and oxygen. OMEGA’s uniquely utilize forward-osmosis membranes to permeate purified water out of the OMEGA and into the surrounding water.

When coupled with Algae Systems’ solutions for the production of liquid transportation fuels, the combined “integrated biorefineries” can make high-value fuels while treating wastewater and drawing down CO2. “The OMEGA technology has the power to transform. In conjunction with our fuel conversion technologies, we can transform sewage and carbon dioxide into abundant and inexpensive fuels,” said Matthew Atwood, the President of Algae Systems. “Together the
technologies create an integrated biorefinery that is simple and scalable, generating sustainable-energy supplies and local green-collar jobs.” Designing Fuels that Draw Down CO2 Algae Systems’ Dr. Zoa Hough-Maguire, a COP 15 delegate representing the State of Florida and her company’s planned commercial project in that state, characterizes the revolutionary benefits of the OMEGA technology, “Algae Systems’ fuels are radically different. They actually draw down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.” The company has utilized the U.S. Department of Energy GREET model for carbon lifecycle to validate the fuels will be carbon-negative. With this new technology in hand, Algae Systems specifically addresses the most critical issues on the agenda of the Copenhagen climate conference: the reduction of CO2 and other GHG emissions, sustainable-energy production, waste disposal, and protecting fragile marine ecosystems and water resources.

Readying for Commercial Launch
In making the announcement, NASA’s, Lisa Lockyer, Deputy Director of New Ventures and Communications for the Ames Research Center, has echoed Algae Systems’ determination and confidence by announcing the center’s support for the commercialization of the technology.
Accepting the challenge and signaling his company’s capacity to meet it, Atwood said, “Rapid deployment is anticipated. We are building a U.S.-based commercial pilot to prove the scalability of the technology up to 100 million gallons of wastewater throughput per year. Once successful, we will begin offering the technology to industrial and municipal clients.”

Technology That Gives Back
“The concept is simple,” says John Perry Barlow, a Managing Partner of Algae Systems, “If you can take problems that the world has in abundance, like sewage and CO2, and transform them into resources, like diesel fuel that works in existing machinery, you can create economic fountains within local markets that become a positive incentive to draw down significant quantities of greenhouse gases.”

Mission Critical: On the Front Lines of Global Warming with a technology so readily adaptable to the immediate needs of the developing world, Algae Systems has become a rallying point for those who are most at risk from sea-level rise due to increasing CO2 emissions: AOSIS, the 42 member Alliance of Small Island States. In the words of U.N. Ambassador Demissa Williams of Grenada, leading member of AOSIS, “We have to worry today, not tomorrow.” With help of NASA and forward-thinking partners around the world, Algae Systems has moved past worry and is taking action.

Algae Systems, LLC (Algae Systems) is an American, full-service carbon-negative energy production, engineering, and technology company, soon offering turn-key solutions for C02 and sewage conversion to diesel-manufacturing plants worldwide for commercial and municipal clients. Algae Systems is a signatory with the UN Global Impact and its official and approved “Caring for Climate” list of international businesses committed to the development of environmentally-friendly technologies.

Additional information about Algae Systems and its technology can be found at algaesystems and NASA site

The term “Carbon-Negative” describes a process for removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the earth’s atmosphere. COP 15, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark, between December 7 and December 18, 2009.

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Small algae with great potential

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2 Responses to “NASA Launches with Algae Systems on Eve Of COP 15: Carbon-negative Fuel from Sewage and CO2”

  1. GraceAdams830 Says:

    I believe it is great that you are taking half-treated sewage and CO2 captured by Global Thermostat and producing bio-diesel that works well in any ordinary diesel engine with by-products of bio-char (carbon-tore and soil amendment), clean water, fertilizer fit to use on most crops not just cotton, and I suspect heat enough to dry Global Thermostat’s CO2 capturing filters and keep a draft flowing through it. You probably have enough heat from roasting algae oil cake to bio-char to run a steam turbine. You do use the “organic waste to oil” mini-refinery featured in Discover Magazine in May 2003 and July 2004, don’t you?
    I suspect that in order for this to be politically feasible, our ten too big to fail oil firms will have to be first bribed to even try this and then allowed to hog all the licenses to produce this. Along with a few hundred other too big to fail firms in various industries, they do own the nation.

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