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NAA Algae/Wastewater Connection Workshop A Resounding Success!

April 9th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

Press Release

NAA Mid-South Chapter’s Huntsville, AL workshop entitled, “Algae: Mining Wastewater for Nutrients, Fuel, and Fertilizer” was well attended by a wide mix of attendees who came from all parts of the country. Presenters included Dr. Aron Stubbins of VCERC, Dr. Kim Jones, CEO of Alganomics, LLC, Dr. Michael Baran of CFA Enterprises, Hydromentia’s vice president; Mark Zivojnovich, Lucas McConnell from Renewergy Corp., Chuck Pardue of Algae Bioenergy Solutions, Bob Vitale from WaterWheel Factory, Victoria Kurtz from Fluid Imaging Technologies and Ron Putt of Auburn University.

With US fresh water supplies slowly dwindling and algae culture quickly becoming the centerpiece of bioenergy/bioremediation research, the workshop focused on wastewater sources for an efficient, sustainable algal industry. Attendees explored how to minimize algae’s fresh water and nutrient footprints by recycling wastewater streams including agricultural, municipal, and industrial, while at the same time producing a host of valuable algal end products.

In addition, attendees learned of algae’s tremendous potential as a cost-effective bioremediation tool for wastewater streams, effecting a more stable and healthy ecosystem. Two such algae bioremediation systems were well represented by Mark Zivojnovich’s presentation on HydroMentia’s Algal Turf Scrubber and Lucas McConnell of Renewergy unveiling his company’s vertical algae system for nutrient recovery. Open pond scenarios for wastewater nutrient mining were described by Dr. Kimberly Jones of Alganomics and Dr. Aron Stubbins of Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium.

“Our goals for this workshop were to first raise awareness of the algae/wastewater connection for a wide variety of valued end products and using algae for bioremediation. Next, we focused on the many sources of point and non-point sources of wastewater and discussed algal growth system applications. Third, we placed emphasis on why we must address our nation’s finite phosphate supply and how algae is perfectly equipped to reclaim it from wastewater streams,” said workshop coordinator, Tamra Fakhoorian.

Michael Baran of CFA Enterprises observed, “This event has made it clear to me that we need new business models for two uses: First, in the macro sense of achieving the NAA concept of cooperation and innovation, we need to find a way to initiate ideas with proper safeguards for intellectual property and find ways to explore innovative financing to cross the “valley of death” to produce at scale. Secondly, we need to develop a micro model for applications for farms to process wastewater by creating biomass to reduce grid energy use and produce conventional fuels. What are the scaling factors?”

“Great event! Each presenter complimented the other with valuable information. Great question and answer session at end of day to touch on subjects not mentioned by presenters,” wrote one attendee.

Another attendee wrote, “Outstanding workshop! It had a great balance of speakers and was well-coordinated.”

Future Mid-South workshops will continue to narrow focus on various aspects of the developing algae industry. For information on or taking part in future events, please contact Tamra Fakhoorian, NAA Mid-South Chapter president at TamraF.NAA@wk.net

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