Monthly Archives: March 2012

Fuels From Algae

In the spectrum of alternative fuel sources, biofuel made from algae
is perhaps the most easily mocked.
 How could the slimy green muck that
grows in your aquarium and washes up on the beach be a future
cornerstone of American energy independence? So when President Obama
stood before the University of Miami recently and said algae could
provide up to 17 percent of our transportation fuel, we wanted to know:
Is he right? Here’s what we found out:
In February, President Obama announced the Department of Energy would
allocate $14 million in new funding to develop transportation fuels
from algae. DOE is already supporting over 30 such projects, together
worth $94 million.
project of
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Algae Production Workshop




Algae Production Workshop

 in NJ

The National Algae Association (NAA) has announced that they will be presenting a Commercial Algae Production Technologies and Networking Workshop, May 1, 2012, at the Crowne Plaza Fairfield Hotel in Fairfield, New Jersey. The event will include a tour of Glenn Mills to view a commercial-scale algae extraction facility.

The focus of the Workshop will be on progress in commercial growing, harvesting and extraction methods, as well as proven technologies that are ready for commercial-scale algae production. NAA is inviting industry professionals to submit proposed presentations no later than April 10, 2012 for consideration. Membership in NAA is not required to present at or attend this event.

For additional information, please contact:

National Algae Association




project of

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



 We are committed to overcoming the world’s impending economic and environmental constraints with technology that produces sustainable, affordable, and local bio-based products from algae.

Algae hold great promise in the near term to fundamentally change America’s energy portfolio, sequester or convert atmospheric CO2 into market-ready products, and help grow our economy through the creation of tens of thousands of well-paying green-collar jobs. Algae-based jobs include:

Based on a survey conducted by the Algal Biomass Organization in January of 2010 with 52 reporting companies, a likely estimation of job growth is shown in the chart below as Scenario 1. In addition, based on the same survey, with the addition of regulatory and legislative parity in the US, accelerated job growth could occur as estimated Scenario 2.

Algae-based products and processes:

  • Can replace a significant percentage of America’s petroleum-based liquid transportation fuel, including jet fuel, gasoline and diesel, using photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic processes;
  • Are domestically produced and renewable;
  • Consume enormous amounts of CO2, and biologically sequester or beneficially reuse/convert atmospheric and industrial CO2into marketable products;
  • Can be grown in non-potable water, on non-agricultural land (thereby avoiding indirect land use issues).
  • Will be commercially produced in the near-term; low-carbon, drop-in transportation fuels will be produced by CCRES members within two years.
  • Can provide value-added co-products, including nutraceuticals, animal feed, cosmetics, plastics and other bio-based products, while also creating renewable, sustainable fuels.

World Ticker

World Population Estimate
03/30/2012 12:40 UTC

25% of fish are overexploited.
50% fully exploited.
Cubic feet since 1750 AD

2007? 2025? Never?
Many experts say it’s here.
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 Tips Nutrition Education Series

Ten Tips Education Series

The Ten Tips Nutrition Education Series provides consumers and professionals with high quality, easy-to-follow tips in a convenient, printable format. These are perfect for posting on a refrigerator.

These tips and ideas are a starting point. You will find a wealth of suggestions here that can help you get started toward a healthy diet. Choose a change that you can make today, and move toward a healthier you. These tips are also available in Spanish.

More tips coming soon!


Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources  (CCRES)

special thanks to  

The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, an organization of the U.S. Department of Agriculture

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Life of Algae

This video from Sapphire Energy tracks the cultivation of algae from their San Diego lab in microscopic images, to petri dishes, to flasks, and then outside in their Las Cruces, NM facility and into 14′, 40′, 100′ and half-acre ponds. This is the path that many thousands of strains have taken as Sapphire refines their library of commercial strains that will be used in their Green Crude Farm or Integrated Algal BioRefinery (IABR) now under construction in Columbus, NM. At the Green Crude Farm, the world’s first commercial demonstration scale algae-to-energy facility, algae will be cultivated in ponds over 2 acres in size.
 part of 
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CO2 Generator


This is how to make a homemade carbon dioxide generator for your aquarium plants or algae.




 bottle 2 lit

add sugar 50 g

 add yeast 20 g

pierce stopper

half a liter of hot water

distilled water with the pores of Spirulina

the pipe going into the water

 CO2 begin to sink into the water after 10 minutes

after a few weeks you have



project of

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Answer to Fuel & Food Crises

Aaron Baum at work. All photos courtesy of The Algae Labby Alice C. Chen 

Microscopic spinning orbs and spirals of green goo are the answers to our planet’s energy crisis and arable land shortage. At least that’s what Aaron Baum, a 40-year-old Harvard graduate and Stanford PhD, has concluded.
And Baum should know. After a mid-life crisis of sorts, he spent months researching the types of science that would most benefit the world and concluded that algae are it. Now, he wants to share his passion with the public by creating communities of people with their own algae farms. Imagine that – you can have a personal algae tank that provides fresh, ultra-nutritious food on a year-round basis.
Baum is a research consultant for NASA’s OMEGA project, whose mission is to create massive amounts of algae for biofuel, fertilizer and food. The San Rafael, California algae-phile knows not everyone has access to professional grade equipment – which can cost tens of thousands of dollars – so Baum has started teaching seminars on how to raise spirulina inexpensively and in one’s own home. The day-long workshops cost $150 and he’ll also provide you with a kit that includes a tank, spirulina starter stock, a nutrient mix and other equipment for $200. Through these workshops, Baum hopes to continue forming a collaborative community that shares knowledge about algae farming.

The seminars grew out of Baum’s first venture in algae. In 2008, he created what he says was the world’s first communal algae farm. The project was based in Berkeley and consisted of more than a dozen 55-gallon tanks of algae. It eventually got so massive that it would’ve required full-time staff, so Baum closed it down when he traveled around the world last year to attend algae workshops and visit algae farms. When he returned, he thought it would be more manageable to have the farms in people’s homes. I talked with him about his adventures in algae, and his plans for the future

Alice Chen: How did you get interested in algae?
Aaron Baum: As a scientist, I’m completely committed to doing good things for the environment. I earned my Phd in applied physics from Stanford in 1997 and worked for several years in Silicon Valley as a program manager on technologies I developed in graduate school. I realized I was working my butt off to make computer chips run faster. I kind of lost faith in what I was doing.
I dropped out of that field, worked as an artist for several years and realized I miss science — the intellectual challenge and making contributions and changing peoples’ lives. I decided to get back into science on my own terms.
I thought about it for a long time and decided I wanted to work in a field where I could be sure I was doing something good for the world. I started doing a lot of research four years ago and after a few months, algae started to stick up out above everything else. Back then if you searched for algae, what came up was how to kill algae and how bad it was because of algae blooms. That was happening for a while but now it’s exponentially worse. I started working in that area. Now if you search for algae (online), about half of what you find is good.
AC: What’s so great about algae?
AB: Algae is a way to grow really high quality food in a small area, on the surface of a body of water or in wastewater. Or you can grow algae in dilute urine which is an easy way to get the right nutrients and reduce your impact on the environment.
Most marine biologists consider that the number one danger to marine life is eutrophication, an excess of nutrients in the water from agricultural runoff due to application fertilizer. When it hits the ocean or lake, there are massive algae blooms. When they decay, they wipe out oxygen and everything dies.
If you can find a way to keep nutrients out of water, you reduce the size of dead zones. You can create controlled algae blooms, harvest algae and eliminate nutrients that way. Or you can take wastewater, give it to algae directly and absorb nutrients. You come out with clean water, fuel, food, fertilizer and extra oxygen. And on a small scale in your own house if you grow it in dilute urine, you reduce the fertilizer load on the local ecosystem.

AC: Tell me about algae as food. Why are people so into it?
AB: The idea was first proposed in the 1930s in Germany. They were trying to develop it for growing food. You can grow a lot of food in a small area. It’s extremely nutritious on a gram-for-gram basis. You can mix it in with other food. It didn’t take off until spirulina in the 1970s. Now there’s chlorella.
Normally you get spirulina in a powder or pill form. It’s grown in large outdoor ponds normally, and you sieve it out of water. It’s kind of special. It grows in corkscrew filaments making it relatively easy to strain out of water using a special fabric. Most other kinds of algae are too small and roundish, very difficult to filter.
Algae as a food is extremely healthy. It’s high in complete protein, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and it’s effective against infections. It has defenses against viruses and you can acquire defenses as well. It’s good to protect against environmental toxins. There were dozens of experiments where they fed rats a regular diet and another group with spirulina. They exposed them to mercury, lead, pesticides, radiation and mutagens and found that spirulina-eating rats do much better.
In powder form, spirulina’s great, but when you want to eat a blueberry, you don’t want it powdered. You want it fresh. You can eat fresh spirulina that’s basically alive. It tastes better.
AC: What does it taste like?
AB: The problem with most algae is it tastes like seaweed. A lot of people are not turned on by that taste. I think it’s really good in certain dishes. When you eat it live, fresh, the taste is much lighter, creamy, and buttery. You can spread it on crackers. We mix it with brown rice and guacamole so it’s vegan. The easiest way is in carrot juice.

AC: Is anyone else doing what you’re doing?
AB: We’re at the very beginning of growing it. A few people have worked on it. Some people in France grow spirulina on a small scale in their house. Outside of France, there’s been very little work. I’m not aware of anyone in the U.S. working on it other than us.
AC: Why haven’t more people already started growing algae in their homes?
AB: There are technical barriers. You need to grow live spirulina. You need a seed reactor, a nutrient mix to put in the water and a special cloth. You must maintain proper balance between acidity and alkalinity, and the proper temperature. What I’m doing is putting together a kit to provide live spirulina.
AC: How is this a communal project?
AB: I’m starting out by building the community and showing people how they can do it themselves. We’ll do it together and share information through our website.
Previously we built a whole algae lab all based on volunteer labor. We built it for about 1,000 times less money than what we spend in places like NASA. What we’re aiming to do is cultivate algae based on free material. We grow algae and are investigating it as fertilizer, biofuel, and growing it in dilute urine.
We’d like to create an international network of people growing all kinds of algae in their homes in a small community scale, sharing information, doing it all in an open source way. We’d be like the linux of algae – do-it-yourself with low-cost materials and shared information.
I get emails from all over world. There’s been a huge wave of interest in algae, driven by biofuels and by the growing awareness of the lack of farmland. If you want to make new farmland, you have to destroy ecosystems. The biggest impact humans have on the world is through agriculture. If we want to grow more food so people can eat better, we either destroy the last remaining ecosystems on the planet or find a new way to do things.

AC: What’s the market like for spirulina?
AB: The world consumes about 100,000 tons of spirulina a year. It’s used for animal feed and it’s a nutraceutical (that is, a food that provides health benefits). It’s kind of expensive, usually about $80 per pound for powder. It’s a very nutrient dense food. When I eat spirulina – I eat vegan – I don’t have cravings for meat or sugar. Food is more satisfying when it has spirulina. I eat a lot, 15 grams a day. Most people would consider 5 grams a day to be fairly high. If you’re eating 10 grams a day, you’re spending about $200 a year on it.
AC: How did you transition into algae as a career?
AB: I got interested in algae and decided to create an algae farm project at Burning Man in 2007. I got together a community of people and we created an installation on a trailer. We had 16 bioreactors with live algae that was eating the exhaust of a generator. They grew great – it was very successful. We had a lot of educational material. There were big posters jammed full of text explaining what we were doing and why it was interesting.
I’ve worked at the Exploratorium. They’ll tell you that anything beyond one to two sentences, there’s no way you’re going to get anyone in the public to read anything more than that. On the night of the Burn, the craziest night of all with partying and dancing, I went to the installation. We had forgotten to turn the lights on. In the dark, I was surrounded by people all using headlamps, leaning close and reading every single word we’d written. As soon as they knew I was part of it, they started peppering me with questions. A guy from NASA was inspired by this project and then joined the OMEGA project. And then he gave me a call.

AC: What are you doing for NASA?
AB: We’re developing large-scale systems that are combining biofuel and fertilizer production with wastewater treatment and production of fresh air and fresh water. We’re using large membrane enclosures floating in bodies of water. It’s a low-energy, low-resource way of growing algae.
One budding thing of NASA technology – we’re working on a clever way of removing algae from water.
We’re focused on the biofuel aspect at NASA. For biofuel, you want a species that produces a lot of oil. Many species of algae can produce huge amounts of oil — they can be more than 50 percent oil by weight, compared to normal plants that only produce a few percent.
Algae can produce about 100 times more than typical oil plants like soybeans, on a per acre basis. You can grow enough algae to replace all of the fossil fuel in an area that’s small enough to be manageable. You don’t need to use farmland, there’s not much remaining in the world ready to be used, and you don’t need fresh water. The nice thing about algae is while they cleans water and air, they can produce very valuable things like fuel, fertilizer and food. They’re precursers for bioplastics, cosmetics and medicines.
It’s a new kind of farming, potentially very low impact and sustainable.

AC: So what’s your vision — to see every household have algae?
AB: I don’t see why not. It should be easier than a vegetable plot. Algae is such a super food. It’s so productive on a daily basis that with one tank in a window you can significantly supplement the diet of one person. If you use a whole window, you could probably do two to three tanks year round and have even more. Every day you could be eating algae.
Algae is an incredible resource we haven’t tapped into. Human beings haven’t gone there yet because it’s microscopic. I didn’t know what algae were until quite a bit later in life. They don’t really teach you about it in school. It produces approximately 70 percent of the oxygen we breathe. It’s the basis of 95 percent of life that’s in oceans.
Even people with no dirt can grow fresh food for themselves. If you’re in an apartment complex on the 25th floor, you can still grow fresh food.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources
 special thanks to 
Alice C. Chen 

Alice C. Chen developed her storytelling skills while exploring the Amazon Rainforest as an undergraduate at Stanford University. She went on to earn her master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill and is now an award-winning journalist.
Alice has nearly a decade of experience across media and has produced stories for the web, print, TV and radio. Her pieces have appeared everywhere from the San Francisco Chronicle to BNET and Alice’s specialties include business and health care reporting, and she’s also interested in narrative writing, profiles and inspirational stories.
Previous to Alice’s freelancing career, she was an education reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, one of the largest daily newspapers in the country. Alice resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

More info about AlgaeLab on
project of 
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Build an Aquaponics Grow Bed

  • Measure the length and width of the aquarium with the measuring tape.
  • Cut the plywood with the saw to the dimensions of the aquarium you measured in Step 1.
  • Cut four beams the same length and width of the plywood you cut in Step 2.

  • Drill holes into two beams and screw them together at a 90-degree angle. Lay the other two beams across the aquaponics grow bed.

  • Cut legs for the aquaponics grow bed frame. Place the frame where you will use it and measure and cut the legs to the length you need, keeping in mind the need to make them longer if there is a slope.

  • Drill holes into the legs. Keep them flush with the edge of the frame and screw them into place securely. Place the frame onto the plywood you cut in Step 2.

  • Place the grow bed right next to the aquarium or pond. Line the grow bed with pond foil the same length and width of the grow bed. Pour gravel on top of the pond foil in the grow bed. Cut a hole through the center of the grow bed and pond foil with the saw.

  • Place the water pump in the fish tank or pond and connect the water-in pipe to the pump.

  • Pull the water-in pipe through the hole in the grow bed. Install the overflow drain into the grow bed and set it to a few inches above the height of the grow bed to prevent water from overflowing.
  • Fill the aquarium or pond with water and place plants into the gravel of the grow bed.
CCRES AQUAPONICS special thanks to Zeljko Serdar for presentation of “How-To” module.
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Algae Competition: The Future of Algae

A Global Challenge to Design Visionary Algae Food and Energy Systems

Landscape Designs • Production Systems • Food Development

“How will growing algae change the world and improve our lives?”

Participants represent projects in 40 countries and have submitted amazing entries. Visit the exhibits.

The Future of Algae video introduces twenty visionary entries in the Competition. Beginning with algae pond systems and photobioreactors today, this video looks into our future, exploring emerging themes, schemes and dreams in algae architecture and landscape design.

More info at:

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources special thanks to  Robert Henrikson and Mark Edwards
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,