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..