Good Morning BESTers,

One of the most promising developments in the algae biofuel realm: NASA is working on the life support system of "spaceship earth".  The design grows algae in sewage wastewater contained in floating offshore membranes.  Seems a much more appropriate NASA mission than a trip to Mars.  See the two articles below.

"In developing OMEGA, scientists were inspired by NASA’s closed life support systems used on the International Space Station that optimize the use of resources and minimize waste. OMEGA focuses on self-sustaining cycles that convert waste from one part of the system into assets for another part."

A more in depth look at the project:

"I have a radical proposition for both the algae community and the broader community of engineers and scientists.  I’d like to propose that we come together and openly collaborate to meet the challenge of replacing fossil fuels in the next decade." - Jonathan Trent (lead scientist for NASA's OMEGA project)

FYI: OMEGA=Offshore Membrane Enclosure for Growing Algae

--Now we just need to know which algae to grow, how to keep zooplankton from eating them, the optimum balance of CO2 and elemental nutrients in the wastewater, how long the bags will last, when to harvest the algal biomass, how to harvest it, and how to extract the oil out of the cells (ecologically/economically)!

Scott J. Edmundson