Macroalgal Culture

June 26, 2008

Robert I and have been discussing the issues around macroalgal culture.  He found this cool like to a patent for a cultivation truss:

I would like to know if anyone knows about species selection or condtion optimization for this type of aquaculture.  The best contact I know of for this is Greg Mitchell, at Scripps Oceanography in SD, but I dont want to bother him with basic reserach questions.

The reason that this came up was becuase Robert and I were discussing open ocean algal biofuel cultivation strategy.  Ecological issues seem to detract from the feasibilty of microalgal culture, and larger species seem to be more containable.

Any comments?


7 Responses to “Macroalgal Culture”

  1. benjaminjayp Says:

    Okay, so maybe its strange to reply to you own blog, but I got some new information for this…

    Z.J. Pei from Kansas state is currently studying this macroalgal topic and is conducting species optimization. His idea is to select a species which will attach to floating carriers in the open ocean, as well as have oil content. He is an engineer, so selecting the right material for attachment is also important to him.

    “Selected algae species will be grown on solid carriers in a simulated ocean environment and will be evaluated for their ability to attach to solid carriers and grow in seawater, their biomass productivity, and their oil content,” Pei said. “Top-ranked species in step one will be selected to test the performance of several carrier materials, including natural organic, synthetic organic and inorganic materials, with the same evaluation parameters as in step one.”

  2. Robert Rankin Says:

    Hey everyone,

    Check out the Assignee of the truss patent:
    The Electric Power Research Institute Inc.

    Seems like they are doing some cool work.


  3. benjaminjayp Says:


    Here is the NSF grant award for Dr. Pei’s research:

  4. rankrank3000 Says:

    I was really hoping the NSF grant had literature resources on it. But alas, only an abstract.

  5. A. Cherson Says:

    I too think this is cool though I’m not yet sold on the idea of ocean based rather than vertical, land based cultivation. Looking at things from the DfE, cradle to cradle, and reduced human footprint angle there are some epic pros to a land based, hydroponic system: 1) management is easier to get to, 2) probably easier to maximize light exposure, 3) takes up less horizontal square footage (if we’re thinking of massive scale production), 4) better control of nutrients and wastes, if any, 5) easier to integrate into CO2, sewage waste cycling, desalination brine, and other potential enhancers 6) shorter distance to inland end point industries and consumers. As you say, the nut is going to be species, optimization, etc. There are several pilot ventures working towards terrestrial cultivation as well so keep your ears perked.

  6. e.m.smith Says:

    Ecological issues detract from land based algae? Um, a square about 100 miles on a side would supply all the oil the U.S.A. needs. That would vanish into a small part of west Texas (and some of West Texas really is wasteland…). Think about the ecological improvement in the world if the U.S. did NO drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, indulged in NO wars to protect OPEC oil, had NO tankers plying the oceans spilling oil, had NO drilling in Alaska, etc. I don’t care what impact the algae farm had, it would still be nothing in comparison to what we have now!

  7. benjaminjayp Says:

    e.m. Smith, your arguments are not logic based, and you did not read the post carefully enough. What was supposed to be understood is that microalgal culture in the open ocean would be likely to have ecological impact due to the challenge of containing microalgae, and no real possibility of genetic modification. READ THE POST

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