Turning Algae Trash into Treasure: Conservation Nation Episode 5

Could one man’s algae trash be another’s algae treasure? CFACT’s @gabriellahoffman splashes down into the Florida Everglades in this episode of CFACT’s Conservation Nation to learn about Aguaculture, a company that harvests toxic algae blooms from aquatic invasive species and turns it into useable fertilizer.

These algae blooms are causing big problems for Florida waters, but Aguaculture may have found the key using free market forces and technological innovation.

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July 6, 2021 3:09 am

What is the company and what do they produce. Aquaculture is a technology, and searches for a company by that name come up empty.

icisil
Reply to  Dick Illyes
July 6, 2021 1:10 pm

Aguaculture with a ‘g’

July 6, 2021 3:30 am

Okay, I now see it is a G uaculture, but it would be appreciated to see some specific ingredients that are being produced. Found an article that is also totally lacking in detail. Found Nick Szabo Owner at Aguaculture LLC but searches for the LLC come up empty.

2hotel9
July 6, 2021 3:53 am

An excellent idea! The greendiots will hate it and do everything they can to stop it. The cry will be “How dare you interfere with Nature!” and they will mobilize EPA, DeptInterior and the FBI to see it is stopped.

griff
Reply to  2hotel9
July 6, 2021 3:59 am

Why would greens hate it? Green groups are everywhere working on solutions for environmental problems… they clear plastic trash from beaches, campaign against sewage leaks and much more

Disputin
Reply to  griff
July 6, 2021 4:11 am

“they clear plastic trash from beaches, campaign against sewage leaks and much more”

Ah, but those are man-made. Nature is untouchable.

Reply to  griff
July 6, 2021 5:00 am

Green groups are nowhere working on solutions for environmental problems. If they solved them, what would the do then?

Otto Didact
Reply to  Leo Smith
July 6, 2021 11:47 am

It’s akin to saying that government is working on solutions to society’s problems.

commieBob
Reply to  griff
July 6, 2021 5:30 am

You’re not entirely wrong but, if you take the 30,000 foot view, they’re doing way more harm than good.

I remember reading about someone in the Democrat party working on policies that would be very good for workers. That’s in the face of Democrat policies under Clinton and Obama that threw the workers under the bus. You could point at that one guy and say that the Democrat party works hard on the behalf of workers but if you look at the big picture you see that it isn’t true.

The greenies are pushing windmills big time. Are windmills, in any way, good for the environment? BTW, that’s a rhetorical question.

2hotel9
Reply to  griff
July 6, 2021 6:01 am

You hate because it benefits humans, you leftist scumbags hate everything that benefits humans. Oh, and the only time you leftards clean up a beach is when you have been sentenced to community service.

Reply to  2hotel9
July 6, 2021 9:47 am

Please tone down the rhetoric. It adds nothing positive to the conversation and is a big turn-off to people who haven’t made up their minds but are seeking credible information.

IAMPCBOB
Reply to  2hotel9
July 6, 2021 12:10 pm

Yes, and that doesn’t happen NEARLY often enough, IMHO!

Loren C. Wilson
Reply to  griff
July 6, 2021 10:27 am

Greens hate nuclear power, the only viable non-CO2-emitting alternative. QED.

neil
Reply to  Loren C. Wilson
July 6, 2021 12:39 pm

Why might Greens hate nuclear power, I wonder? It couldn’t be because of the toxic mining and processing it requires, could it? Or the toxic waste?

It’s easy to dismiss the Greens as some rambling incoherent rabble hell-bent on eliminating all progress and wiping humans off the face of the planet. And in truth, some are. But a lot of Greens are reasonable people, and look at the entire production chain of energy, not simply the last stage.

MarkW
Reply to  neil
July 6, 2021 12:48 pm

Mining for uranium is less toxic then mining for most other minerals.
What toxic waste? Once the used fuel is reprocessed, it isn’t a problem.

When comparing the entire energy chain, nuclear looks even better.

This attractiveness is even more pronounced when you consider how little uranium has to be mined to produce a given amount of power compared to other forms of energy.

commieBob
Reply to  MarkW
July 6, 2021 3:56 pm

The left holds things they don’t agree with to the highest standards imaginable. On the other hand, the things they do agree with get only the most cursory examination.

Anyone who has followed WUWT for any length of time should have seen countless stories about the horrors of lithium and cobalt mining and processing. Those are necessary for ‘green’ energy and get no attention at all from the left.

As you cogently point out, uranium mining and processing is positively benign when compared with, especially, lithium and cobalt. As you point out, uranium can be recycled. Lithium and cobalt, mostly, can’t.

Rich Lambert
July 6, 2021 4:46 am

The video deals with clearing vegetation in the water. This is old technology. It doesn’t have anything to do with algae.

2hotel9
Reply to  Rich Lambert
July 6, 2021 6:06 am

Algae is cleared at the same time as the plants are removed. Done that cleaning up ponds on farms before. Making fertilizer out of all this, plants and algae, has several benefits, one being reducing use of chemical fertilizers in the Everglades region which also helps reduce algae blooms. A lot of positives in this project, now if they would be killing invasive reptiles at the same time would be another.

Rich Davis
Reply to  2hotel9
July 6, 2021 3:35 pm

No plant or animal is illegal. They are undocumented immigrant species.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Rich Lambert
July 6, 2021 7:39 am

What he said.

Enginer01
July 6, 2021 5:46 am

Millions of dollars have been spent attempting bio culture of “waste plants” over many years.
Water Hyacinths, for example, were a “natural” target for cattle feed. Unfortunately, the species targeted had a high concentration of calcium oxalate sharp crystals, which is unpalatable to the second stomach.
https://www.feedipedia.org/node/160#:~:text=Fresh%20water%20hyacinth%20contains%20sharp%20calcium%20oxalate%20crystals,%28Franceschi%20et%20al.%2C%201980%3B%20Bolenz%20et%20al.%2C%201990%29.

2hotel9
Reply to  Enginer01
July 7, 2021 3:31 am

Don’t see that being a problem when using as fertilizer.

Bloke down the pub
July 6, 2021 6:18 am

If they are spreading the fertiliser on Florida fields, won’t it just run back into the water courses and back where it came from?

Enginer01
Reply to  Bloke down the pub
July 6, 2021 6:37 am

Not if you grow hemp or marijuana with it and export the nutrients as smoke or rope.

MarkW
Reply to  Bloke down the pub
July 6, 2021 8:04 am

The same can be said of artificial fertilizers. The benefit of this stuff is that they are closing the loop. No new nitrogen is being added to the system.

Last edited 30 days ago by MarkW
ozspeaksup
Reply to  Bloke down the pub
July 7, 2021 3:31 am

if they till it in as green mulch or age it in windrows then not really ,
very bioavailable so leachates would be low after incorporation into soils

July 6, 2021 7:31 am

Would like to have seen more of the actual process.
Sounds really interesting

Gordon A. Dressler
July 6, 2021 7:59 am

For clarification, the video focuses exclusively on the harvesting of water hyacinth and not on the harvesting of toxic algae blooms, which are a totally separate issue.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no commercial company currently operating solely on the basis of harvesting toxic algae. And in fact, toxic algae is not found to coexist with healthy water hyacinths, which actively block sunlight needed for algae blooms.

Moreover, “Ironically, water hyacinths have also been introduced into waters inhabited by manatees in Florida, for the purpose of bioremediation (cf. §Phytoremediation below) of the waters that have become contaminated and fallen victim to algal blooming.”—source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eichhornia_crassipes

old engineer
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
July 6, 2021 2:17 pm

Gordon-

Thanks for the clarifications. The video needed them.

As a native of south Florida (but having left 60 years ago), I recognized the water hyacinths right away in the video. Water hyacinths have been a problem in Florida waterways since I was a kid (1950’s). It is good that someone figured out how to make fertilizer out of them. It would help if reporters would learn about their subject, and not confuse water hyacinths with algae.

Gary Pearse
July 6, 2021 8:53 am

For a science site nothing to ruminate on. I assume it a good idea whatever it is? Algal blooms are often described as caused by fertilizer runoff from agriculture and household phosphate detergent (over)use. I’d have thought pressure-washing dishes would be standard by now.

Conversion to fertilizer is the best idea. Making fuels from it is the big rage but it’s not an elegant process and there isn’t (won’t be) an attractive margin for competition with existing fuels. It’s good for oil company virtue signaling and for incentivizing price hikes for oil and gas – both effects beloved by greens.

I hope the process is dry for direct application. If chemists are involved, of course, they will go with Rube Goldberg processing (“if all you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail”) leaving no economic margin.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 6, 2021 9:08 am

Perhaps obvious, but replacing fertilizer reduces mining and processing of phosphates, CO2 from natural gas-formed nitrates and mining of potash.

ozspeaksup
Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 7, 2021 3:33 am

they removed phosphates from laundry n dish detergents decades ago
used the green eco excuse but really it saved companies money and kept phosphates for ag use

Gary Pearse
July 6, 2021 9:57 am

Looking at the picture, they are using gasoline or diesel to harvest the algae. Have they factored in switching to $0.50 power?

Bruce Cobb
July 6, 2021 9:57 am

As long as it is economical, sure, why not?

Peta of Newark
July 6, 2021 9:58 am

Epic.
I did think hyacinths were toxic but only if you eat them directly

No need to ‘make fertiliser’
They’re doing just fine, as they say, by liquidising it and spreading it as a slurry.
(I used to do that with vegetable peelings/waste – simply blitz it in a blender/liquidiser with lots of water and wang it out onto anywhere green & growing. I gave up eating veggies – they make me fart)

In Florida with the heat and strength of the sun, I’d like to see them injecting into the ground rather than just spreading it – a lot of the nitrogen and sulphur goodness will blow away in the wind otherwise. Just shallow, 4 or 5 inches is plenty

Or as they do round here growing corn for the digesters, they use a monster self-propelled tanker that dribbles it between the rows of plants when they’re ‘tween 3 and 5 ft tall

Meanwhile, here are some real beer powered muppets at work ‘recycling’
CO2 of all things.
In Australia – nuff said.
Headline:”Climate change: The craft brewery using algae to cut emissions“From the BBC

I lost count of the energy and resource expenditures involved in what they’re doing, they are complete muppets.
Then they finish it off by saying they are gonna use the stuff for us, human types, to eat.

Excuse me, why not just eat the barley/wheat before it even goes into the brewery and save all this hassle. How does anyone get to be sooooo dumb..

That was The Brewery Joke wasn’t it?
The sad tale of the guy at the distillery who fell into a vat of whiskey and drowned.
He had to be helped out to visit the toilet 5 times before he finally expired.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Peta of Newark
July 6, 2021 10:31 am

Water hyacinths are well know for their ability to concentrate toxic metals that are present in minute amounts in swamp-like waters.

You really want to inject them into the ground, where they can contaminate ground water?

old engineer
July 6, 2021 2:27 pm

CTM-

Since the video is about turning water hyacinths (not algae, although the reporter keeps mentioning algae) into fertilizer, perhaps changing the title to “Turning unwanted plants into treasure…” would help the accuracy of the post.

ozspeaksup
July 7, 2021 3:27 am

local farmer i worked with was cursing the alga on his dams
told him to rake it off n use it as soil improver after it dried out a bit
supoer nitrogen n nutrient rich
he ran cattle n sheep on crap sand soils that needed the mulch badly
dunno if he listened assume he couldnt be faffed just kept bitchin

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