Linking Agricultural Runoff and Alternative Energy

Pond Scum Algae to Fuel

Pond Scum Fuel & Dead Zones, Is There a Link?

As the New Year begins, we must look forward into the future and envision the world yet to be. Despite all the traumatic issues of the day, we are mandated to maintain a favorable outlook now more than ever to attract positive energy as we move forward through these troubled times.


Little doubt exists in my mind that man-kind does not possess the wisdom and necessary intellect to focus our collective energies and overcome any obstacle we encounter, so long as we act as one. By tapping into our energy and interweaving with our intellect we can overcome all economic, political and environmental strife.


Working for a common cause and ultimately empowering all people to advance their standard of living in a manner that creates a sustainable environment can be a major part of the answer. Linking problems of need to solutions addressing issues of neglect is a vehicle capable of propelling mankind to sustainability and a greener world while simultaneously addressing regional economics.


There are many areas around the Globe where nutrient-laden runoff discharges into still water environments resulting in oxygen deficient conditions related to high levels of micro-biotic production. This continues to occur at a time when we are faced with decreasing volumes of crude oil stock needed to refine the fuels that power our transportation. One possible solution for replacing the liquid fuel is to grow aquatic algae as feed stock to generate a liquid hydrocarbon fuel alternative with the side benefit of being part of the “short-term” carbon cycle. This concept is not a new one. It has been around for over a decade and is an area of continuing research.



The Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone Explained!

What is a Dead Zone?


The major problem in advancing the standing of this potential alternative energy system is the need for additional sources of major nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous), the same components associated with the formation of the anaerobic kill zones from nutrient-laden runoff.  Engineering a system to remove the excess nutrients from run-off and using it as feedstock to support the farming of aquatic algae feedstock (pond scum) for bio-fuels is one example where the solution is at the intersection of two apparently disparate problems that knows no political boundary.  Developing this new integrated technology provides one of many new fossil fuel alternatives to help solve our energy dilemma.

An Integrated Solution?


Coupling this system with a coal-fired electric generating facility, the CO2 discharge could be re-directed to again feed the aquatic algae bio-reactors. Splitting excess CO2 from the bioreactors and combining with other extracted metallic-cations (like calcium and sodium) to form carbonates produces another beneficial product.  The outcome of this conceptual model provides:

  1. Cleaning of surface water discharge to still-water bodies ending the aquatic dead zones allowing local fisheries recovery;

  2. Production of a liquid bio-fuel tied to the short-term carbon cycle therefore having the added benefit of reduced global warming;

  3. Use of CO2 generated from coal-fired electric generating plants as additional feed for algal bio-fuel and other possible chemical production thereby reducing CO2 discharge from a long-term carbon cycle source;

  4. Extension of existing fossil fuel resources; and

  5. Ability to deploy anywhere across the Globe with local benefits to workers and economy.

This should definitely provide everyone a little food for thought.

Looking for More Eco-friendly Ideas?

If you are interested and reading more of Jim's thoughts and perspective on environmental issues and maintaining a green living lifestyle, visit his "Nature's Green Remedy" blog-site by clicking on the highlighted and underlined link above ....

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Comments 2 comments

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Biofuel from pond scum is a great idea! I love taking problems and turning them into solutions! Thanks for publishing a hub on this important topic,


Sagarika Rath profile image

Sagarika Rath 6 years ago from Delhi

gr8 idea indeed. u as a community should force these concepts further for our future generations to come

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