Tech: Patent Watch: Pond Scum Power

By Sandra Upson

Algae may be a better biofuel source than corn or soy, but growing the plant-like organisms cheaply and efficiently is still a challenge: These green machines need direct sunlight to grow, so the ponds in which they flourish require a lot of space. But David Bayless, a mechanical engineer at Ohio University, and his colleagues hope to dispel this challenge with a new bioreactor design that allows algae to thrive in 7-foot-tall, 4-inch-diameter containers. The design uses fiber optics to distribute concentrated sunlight from a solar collector throughout the contraption. 

Issue 25

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