Thursday, July 18th, 2013
By Nancy Allen
Marysville company testing its latest technology in Grand Lake
Algaeventure Systems Inc. of Marysville is testing its latest algae removal technology in Grand Lake.
Company officials set up equipment last week at the Celina Water Treatment Plant intake pipe at Main Street and West Bank Road. The solid, liquid separation filtering technology will be tested for a couple of weeks, company vice president David Coho said Monday.
"What it does is help access and pull microalgae and algae out of the water," Coho said of the technology. "We're pumping water out one side, running it through almost a filter system, and giving back cleaner water out the other side."
No chemicals or other additives are being used in the test, he said.
Coho said the test is meant to gauge how well the company's newer, scaled-up technology works. Algaeventure has tested similar, smaller algae gathering systems on the lake in recent years. The most recent test was done last spring, Coho said.
"We are testing our technology and trying to find improvements with each iteration we've done," he said. "We are scaling them up to a scale that is meaningful and trying to see what the impact is of the system we have developed thus far."
Coho said officials are trying to concentrate the extracted algae to the consistency of tomato paste.
The company will look into possible uses for the algae, Coho said, but that is secondary to the goal of testing the equipment and improving the lake's water quality.
"We want to illustrate our commitment to developing technologies to try to improve the quality of water in an eutrophic lake like Grand Lake," he said.
Eutrophic water bodies have an overabundance of mineral and organic nutrients that promote algae growth; excess algae reduces dissolved oxygen levels and can cause the extinction of other organisms. The dominant algae in Grand Lake for the last 10 years or so is planktothrix, a blue-green algae that also produces harmful toxins.
Algaeventure officials are using drying equipment and lab scales at Celina's water plant as part of the ongoing test, said plant superintendent Mike Sudman. The lake is Celina's sole source of drinking water.
"They want to be able to take this equipment and come to a lake or large pond that has an algae bloom and pull up to it and harvest the algae out of the water to clean it," Sudman said.
Algaeventure has been working with city officials for years. The city has a contract with the company to allow it to take algae sludge from the water treatment process for research and development.
"They have the right to take it (algae sludge) for research based on this contract, but have not actually started doing it on a regular basis," Sudman said. "I'd like them to take all of our sludge so we wouldn't have to pump it to our lagoons."
Two types of sludge, organic and chemical, are produced when lake water is treated to become drinking water. The sludges are pumped to three lagoons along U.S. 127, where they remain until cleaned by a local sanitation company.
Algaeventure CEO Ross Youngs said last year when the contract was being reached that the company wanted to secure access to the plant's algae sludge if its research leads to the development of a marketable product.
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