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Jun 04, 2016 07:26 AM EDT

Rochester Institute of Technology Uses Algae In Water Purifying Process

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Rochester Institute of Technology is partnering with Synergy Biogas in a venture that aims to use algae to purify waste water used in agricultural procedures and use the dirt sifted to produce biofuels.

An associate professor in Thomas Gosnell School of Life Sciences of RIT named Jeff Lodge will be leading the large-scale initiative which will investigate the role microalgae could have in the process of treating wastewater and producing energy, RIT University News Services reported. Lodge had already made a laboratory-scale experiment which found out that phosphorous levels in wastewater can be reduced by as much as 90 percent.

Lodge will grow the test subjects in a 1,000-gallon tank provided by Synergy Biogas in Covington, New York. He and his team of student researchers will be examining the organisms' ability to eat up ammonia, nitrogen and phosphorous from the wastewater in the hopes that results will replicate those of his laboratory experiment.

Lauren Toretta, president of Synergy's parent company, CH4 Biogas, has welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with the Henrietta, New York-based university in a "game-changer" approach to purifying water.

If the study succeeds, the opportunities it presents to water companies and state governments could very well solve the drought some portions of the country is experiencing.

Drought in California alone has not shown any signs of stopping with average temperatures in the country's third largest state at record highs, official data from National Climatic Data Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has shown.

Snowpacks in the state's mountains are also at a very low level despite Republican Party presidential candidate Donald Trump claiming that reservoirs in northern California are full of water, Mother Jones reported. Trump also outraged eco-advocates when he suggested that environmentalists only invented the California water shortage after allegedly talking with farmers who insisted otherwise. 

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