Jonathan Trent and the Omega Project

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Jonathan Trent, a NASA researcher, presented his OMEGA Project at the CAFE Foundation’s 2010 Electric Aircraft Symposium. It promised a simple and practical way to grow oil-rich algae using effluent from city waste, and processing it with sunlight and wave motion in a continuous process. Such a system would clean wastewater, reduce CO2, and provide non-food-stock-based biofuels for transportation. OMEGA, “Offshore Membrane Enclosure for Growing Algae”, is now a more complex system as Dr. Trent and at least three research teams develop the technology in the San Francisco Bay Area and at Santa Cruz on the nearby California coast. In this TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) lecture from 2011 Dr. Trent gives an update on the process and how it can …

Algae Biofuels Producers, NASA Combine Forces

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

OriginOil and Algasol are two algae–to-oil producers who’ve joined forces to cultivate and harvest micro algae that can perhaps “reach a tipping point and compete with petroleum.” Algasol’s process perhaps most closely resembles that shown by NASA scientist Dr. Johnathan Trent, which he presented at the fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium.  His OMEGA, “Offshore Membrane Enclosure for Growing Algae” relies on water motion and sunlight to churn treated wastewater that otherwise would be literally dumped into the ocean into a refineable algae.  Waste CO2 can also be used to generate algae, another “two-fer” that would clean up the environment while providing a literally green fuel source. In their joint press release, the two firms explain, “Algasol’s floating bags or photobioreactors …

Bagging Algae – Pollutants into Energy

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

For the Fourth Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium on April 23 and 24 in Rohnert Park, California, Dr. Jonathan Trent was an ideal kickoff speaker. His work with NASA Ames Research Center on converting pollutants into algae-based biofuels could have long-term effects on cleaning up our planet’s air and water, and provide byproducts that will help to feed the 900,000,000 who go hungry every day.  As he notes, “Unless we go electric, we must move to low-carbon fuels.” The problem is not a new one.  As musical satirist Tom Lehrer wrote in his 1960’s plea for emissions control, “Pollution, Pollution,” “The breakfast garbage that you throw in to the bay/They drink as lunch in San José.” Dr. Trent, a PhD. in Marine …