Can you make lemonade from algae?
Figuratively, yes. A bunch of students from the University of Michigan and Michigan State University have a business plan to use algae to treat wastewater and make biofuels.
It’s a double play, like taking lemons and making a cool, refreshing drink. Or maybe even a three-pointer, since these are rival schools.
The students, calling themselves Team Algal Scientific, were recently awarded the first-ever Clean Energy Prize from U of M and DTE Energy.
They’ll get $65,000 to take their project to the next level.
“In Algal Scientific Corp.’s wastewater treatment system, algae would take up nutrients at wastewater treatment plants in a more economical and environmentally friendly way than the current state of the art,” U of M officials say.
“This method uses no chemicals. Then, the nutrient-packed algae would be harvested and sent to a plant to be converted directly to biofuels. Team members say they’re addressing two major global concerns: clean water and clean energy.”
This idea, and this award, is good news for a state has been plagued in recent years by more and more muck, or dead algae, washing up on beaches. There’s also the auto industry crisis, the economic crisis, and the energy/gasoline crisis. Algae and ingenuity seem to be two things that go great together.