Generating Energy from Aquarium Guck

Algae are capable of producing biodiesel, a type of biofuel that is produced by chemically reacting fats (called lipids) with an alcohol (a compound that contains –OH—known as hydroxyl—in their chemical structure). Biodiesel production through algae initially requires the organisms to produce lipids, molecules that are essential for maintaining their cellular activities. Many (but not all) lipids cannot dissolve in water, and typically contain hydrogen and carbon in their structure.


Image via Algae built up in your tank because you were too lazy to clean it, right? Your poor fish. Image via

It turns out that all that green guck that built up in your aquarium was capable of doing more than you ever thought: Generating fuels that can potentially replace fossil fuels in the distant future.

Human factors (anthropogenic activities) such as burning fossil fuels are increasing the concentrations of CO2 into the atmosphere, causing a climate warming (global warming).

In an attempt to decrease the amount of atmospheric CO2, algae are considered an alternative solution. Algae are microorganisms that are capable of harnessing solar energy, nutrients, and CO2 to produce compounds for their own survival (i.e. carbohydrates, fats, proteins, pigments). Some species of microalgae may also grow in the absence of light, while different species require either inorganic (CO2) or organic carbon…

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Codigestion: A Developing Trend and Market

One reason for the increased interest in codigestion is the creation of opportunities for the use of biodegradable wastes due to the tremendous number of AD plants online and currently being constructed

Applied Technologies, Inc.

by Dennis Totzke

Codigestion is a term heard often these days, and a concept that will likely increase in popularity as we move through the current tense times towards a friendlier, more renewable economy.

In general, codigestion refers to the anaerobic digestion (AD) of multiple biodegradable substrates (feedstocks) in an AD system. The more contemporary definition refers to the digestion of a combination of select biodegradable feedstocks with a base substrate that an AD system was designed to handle. The general idea is to maximize the production of biogas in an AD plant by adding substrates that produce much more biogas per unit mass than the base substrate. Two readily available substrates – municipal biosolids and agricultural manure – are the base substrates most often utilized and are located near the bottom of the “biogas per unit mass” scale. However, the benefits that can be realized from codigestion, as well…

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Nicaragua biogas and coffe program help to mitigate climate change effects

the project has been implemented in a range of differently sized farms, and achieved results ranging from preventing local deforestation to better indoor environments for families who replaced firewood with domestic gas stoves for cooking.



Coffee farmers in Nicaragua are generating biogas and promoting eco-friendly environmental practices. Wastewater treatment systems and solid waste management plants have been installed in eight coffee farms in the country. Promoted by UTZ Certified, the Sustainable Energy and Coffee Waste Management project is helping to produce biogas, mitigate climate change and protect water resources.

Tailor-made coffee wastewater treatment systems and solid-waste treatment mechanisms were installed in eight coffee farms in Nicaragua, ten in Honduras and one in Guatemala. The positive environmental and economic impact of the project on over 5,000 people in the region has inspired UTZ Certified to replicate the initiative in other countries.

Additionally, coffee wastewater comes along with tonnes of organic waste and high toxicity, which UTZ said affects the soil and generates considerable amounts of greenhouse-gas emissions, particularly methane, heavily contributing to climate change. 

The organisation said that the project has been implemented in a range…

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The cost of power generation is increasing and depletion of non-renewable sources is of great concern. We must continue efforts to improve technologies of renewable power to reduce the cost of infrastructure and delivery.

Cielotech Online

There is absolutely no doubt the entire world is dependent upon the generation and transmission of electricity.  Those countries without electrical power are considered third world countries with no immediate hope of improving lives and living conditions and yet there just may be alternatives to generally held methods for generating electricity.

If we look at the definition for renewable energy, we see the following:

Renewable energy is derived from natural processes that are replenished constantly. In its various forms, it derives directly from the sun, or from heat generated deep within the earth. Included in the definition is electricity and heat generated from solar, wind, ocean, hydropower, biomass, geothermal resources, and biofuels and hydrogen derived from renewable resources.


We are all familiar with current methodologies for power generation.  These are 1.) Hydroelectric, 2.) Nuclear, 3.) Coal-Powered, 4.) Oil-Fired, and 5.) Generation using Natural gas.  The graphic below…

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From Hand to Land – Thoughts from the Landfill

Each trash heap represents the contents of one municipal trash truck. A compaction tractor then drives over the mounds, again and again, gradually flattening them. Finally, the flattened mounds are covered with a layer of dirt. Neither cement, nor plastic liners are used to protect the surrounding ground and water table, at this particular landfill.

I decided to take a short drive to the local landfill, this morning; with the intention of exploring my town’s waste management strategy.  I’d like to develop my understanding of what landfilled waste disposal actually looks like.  I want to create and maintain a visual reference point, of the ultimate destination for trash; so that I can truly comprehend the scope of what I/We are up against, in the War Against Waste. (#waragainstwaste)

When I think about trash, and what its’ life cycle looks like, (yes, believe it or not, trash has a life cycle), I imagine something like one of those connect the dots pictures, popular with children.

It is not that I desire to oversimplify the issue, because the topic of waste production and management is one of great complexity, and seemingly endless tendrils of cause and effect.

However, what we really need to do, if we want…

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