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Posts Tagged: "algal blooms"

Toxic algal blooms of today could become the biofuels, fertilizers and antibiotics of tomorrow

At the time of an NIH study in 2011, algae-based biofuel production costs using conventional technologies were anywhere from $300 USD to $2,600 USD per barrel, much higher than the production costs of petroleum, which have since dropped dramatically in recent years. The economic disincentive associated with algae exploration when compared to petroleum is very real, but not the only challenge. Challenges preventing increased biofuel production from algae resources include the need to find more efficient algae harvesting techniques, more cost-effective oil extraction and effective use of land and water. Conquering these challenges should reduce the cost per barrel, but much research is still to be done. Despite the challenges that lie ahead, scientists and innovators remain optimistic.

Florida algal blooms put focus on phosphorus depletion and ultrasonic wave tech

Algal blooms are caused when algae living in seas or freshwater grow uncontrollably because of the presence of nutrients like phosphorus or nitrogen; high temperatures and the underwater penetration of light also play roles in the process. Public health costs, however, are dwarfed by the price tag which algal blooms can put on industries requiring clean water, such as seafood, tourism and restaurants. Every year, harmful algal blooms (HABs), the toxic variety currently seen in Florida, cost about $82 million in lost economic output according to statistics published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Last year, algal blooms on the West Coast caused beaches in Washington State to close, preventing razor clamming at an estimated economic cost of $9 million over one month.