Monday, October 13, 2008

The Future smells funky

For several years I have depended on algal turf scrubber for our local bioremediation program in the river. It was a fast response technique for some of the problems we had with diesel spills. Less controversial is our local production of cellulose and sugar from cyanobacteria originally from
the Canadian Phycological Culture Centre. We also found useful strains at the CPCC and information on the wikipedia list of algal culture collections. Our contacts at the
CCCM allowed us to order culture for our important classroom labs.
UTEX teaching kits really make application of these ideas easy here in the western US.
ATCC is another important US resource.

In our process here one of the most expensive items initially was the centrifuge system. Our self replicating reprap 3-D printer uses the cellulose and sugar to print a myriad of 3D objects and prototypes. Its actually an old school Ponoko laser cut acrylic unit from my early days creating tech.

Some of the strains that we get the most use from feed off of the greywater from our sinks and laundry. If we lived closer to the ocean we could use the special new strains which produce crude and bioluminesce.

Somehow I have never quite gotten used to the particular smell that comes from the pressed algae remnants when they are heaped on the compost. Usually the heaps are quite healthy and have virtually no smell, even for someone with an acute sense of smell like I have. The worms make pretty short work of the pile and it really makes the big deep digging wild night crawlers happy. Its just such a rank and soupy stench. As a kid we thought we would get nuked to a powder or that we would have flying cars. Here we were with lots of smelly donkeys, algae on the heap, squaw fish removal and sorghum mash brewing.

I never guessed that the future would smell so funky.

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