Turning algae grown in dairy waste into biofuel

Eastern New Mexico University in Portales is collaborating with the dairy industry as a way to create biofuel.

Researchers are cultivating microalgae in dairy waste water to remove… unwanted substances and to be used to create biofuel.

A custom tank called “The algae turf scrubber” is used to cultivate and harvest the algae that is grown from dairy waste water.

The process removes nitrogen and phosphorus as the algae grows, it then recycles and pumps the water back into the pond.

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We spoke with one of the professors leading the project, Juchao Yan about what microalgae provides.

“Microalgae is virtually an inexhaustible source for energy, nutrition, and real materials.”

New Mexico is the ideal location for this project because of all of the dairy farms in the state.

On a single day 5.6 million gallons of manure is generated from industrialized dairies across New Mexico.

This is the reason a student working on the project, Elizabeth Jackson, says the dairy industry has nothing to lose by participating the project.

“So you know why not put that to good use instead of just disposing of it like they normally would have.”

Doctor Yan says this project is beneficial to community in various ways.

“We need not worry about ground and surface water contamination, we need not worry about the odor in the air, we need not worry about fly propagation and then we can convert the bio mass into bio diesel.”

The project is being funded by a grant from “The National Science Foundation” In an effort to develop more economically efficient energy.



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