Algae as a water purifier and urban mining specialist

Algae and the diverse uses of aquatic plants are increasingly encountered in different fallows. There are different approaches to using micro and macro algae. These range from the energetic use for the production of biofuels (cellulosic ethanol), the use as raw material for materials such as bioplastics, the use of some types in medicine (spirulina, chlorella), to the use as food or cosmetic ingredient. Today I will present a research project with another possibility to use the fast-growing and comparatively undemanding organisms.

Research project on the use of algae at the TU Berlin

This is how the Metabolic processes of some types of algae carefully researched and the possibilities of algae for use in water remediation examined. Dr. Bunke from the Institute of Biotechnology at the TU Berlin and his team mainly focus on the ability of some species to bind semi-metals and heavy metals in their cell surface in outstanding quantities.

So far only exist Systems on a laboratory scaleto be able to make quantitative statements about how well certain metals and other poorly degradable or toxic compounds are bound. With more detailed knowledge, some series of experiments should move on to the next phase and be implemented as beta systems. Industrial plants could then be built in order to manage large material flows with the help of the algae.

The process is not intended to be binding and thus Deposition of metals end from the water flow, but ideally the metals should then be released again and made usable. One way of doing this is currently being tested in the flexible adjustment of the pH value.

The resulting application possibilities are therefore in two areas. On the one hand in the Water restorationto purify waste water and on the other hand to recover rare and precious raw materials (e.g. gold, titanium). For less valuable metals, the finished process could be integrated as a wastewater treatment technology and would have the potential as a kind of Urban Mining to contribute to recycling.

An interesting research approach, the practical application of which can meet different social needs at once. A similarly complex approach, the Algae cultivation and clarification technology there are links in a linked article HERE.

There is a link to the website of the institute at the TU Berlin here .

2 comments on "Algae as water sanitizers and urban mining specialists"

  1. Emilia Piccirilli

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I (Emilia Piccirilli) am writing to you with a question about your company.
    My girlfriend (Anouk Loacker) and I are currently in our fourth year at the Rural School and Education Center in Vorarlberg and are writing our diploma thesis/pre-scientific work on research on algae.
    We wanted to ask if you would be interested in supporting us in researching our work and perhaps have any data and information that we could evaluate or include in our work.
    In addition, we are still looking for a 4-week internship for the summer and it would certainly not be wrong to do this in this area as well, in order to be able to deal more intensively with this interesting subject. Do you generally offer internships? Of course, we would also be happy to send you all the necessary documents about us, i.e. letters of application and the like.
    Thank you in advance for your feedback, have a nice day

    With kind regards,
    Anouk Loacker and Emilia Piccirilli

  2. Ron Kirchner

    Hello Emilia and Anouk,
    Thank you for your inquiry about algae. Congratulations on the topic, which is one of the most innovative and promising research fields across all sectors. I cannot offer you an interesting internship directly. Maybe you can ask Prof. Carola Griehl, who heads the algae biotechnology at the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences. She is probably very familiar with the current research landscape on the subject of algae and their potential for economic use and may know of a specific project. Also tomorrow I have a business development call from Phycobloom, a UK algae research team based out of Oxford and Cambridge. If I hear anything interesting there, I'll let you know. First of all toi toi toi and greetings Ron

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