Photo via Heliophage
In this video clip, Alan Alda visits an algae photobioreactor prototype installed on the roof of MIT's power station. It's a fascinating introduction to the technology that uses algae to feed on a smokestack's flue gases while absorbing most of the pollutants in the process. Watch the video after the jump.
This video has been floating around on YouTube for a while now, and though it's not breaking news, it still offers an invaluable look at the algae photobioreactor.
Gas from the power station's smokestack is fed through a series of tubes, where algae feeds on the gases. The algae absorb most pollutants in the flue gases, leaving the gas 80 percent cleaner.
The algae are then harvested, and can be used or sold as biofuel. And, since the algae converts the chemistry of the carbon it absorbs to a harmless organic compound, it's even safe to drink. In fact, the workers at the station start their day with an algal energy drink.
It should be reiterated that this process does not get rid of the carbon emitted in the flue gases—it's absorbed by the algae, not eliminated.