Mmmmmmm, PBR. Either a cheap cold beer or a Photo Bio Reactor. Jared Bouck at AlgaeGeek has been experimenting with different designs and construction techniques for cultivating algae. The main reason you'd want to cultivate algae is to create a renewable fuel by taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and turning it into a type of biodiesel. Millions of research dollars have been spent at Universities across the globe on discovering and genetically engineering the most ideal algae strains and building large scale biodiesel farms in warm areas. I've read somewhere that you can get around 10 times more fuel from algae than soybeans or corn given an equal cultivation area. I haven't really done too much research on cultivating algae at home and the advantage of algae, but it seems like it could be something worth pursuing. Anybody in Germany have an algae culture they want to share with me?
If you want to read more about that Algae Geek's projects check out his website. There are some funny passages there such as: "For this project we will be using some acrylic sheet that is 1/2 inch thick. This will be cut using a hole saw to make the plugs for the tube ends as well as making the holes for the plumbing. Now I realize that everything can be measured in carbon and energy required in making a product... and I realize that I will get email saying how plastics will kill the earth. Well... your likely right. So I wanted you to know preemptively that I actually got this magic carbon / pollution free acrylic from my future self coming back in time with a carbon free time machine to give it to myself so I could feel guilt free about using it. For those not fortunate enough to have a future self with a carbon free time machine and carbon free acrylic just go to your local plastics supplier. (Use your phone book, yes it’s in there)".
As a proof of concept experiment to test the feasibility of algae as a source of fuel for commercial consumption, the first 90-minute flight by a Continental Boeing 737-800 was just completed where one of the two engines was powered by a 50-50 blend of biofuel and normal aircraft fuel. No modifications of the engine were needed. The tests included an engine shutdown and restart at 38,000 feet. "Algae is viewed by many as a key fuel for the future because it is fast growing, does not compete with food crops for arable land, and yields up to 30 times more fuel than standard energy crops. But despite advances in the technology, biofuels derived from algae have yet to be proven as commercially competitive."