Arizona State University teams up with City of Mesa on pilot project to remove greenhouse gases with algae

The City of Mesa, along with Arizona State University, have partnered up for the ultimate recycling project involving green algae and carbon dioxide.

The pilot program is set up at a wastewater plant in Mesa. The plant produces CO2 and methane that is pumped into the atmosphere. The pilot program aims to cut down on CO2 and methane gas emissions from wastewater plants.

Under the program, wastewater is pumped into ponds filled with microalgae, and the CO2 and methane in the wastewater can actually grow the algae. In turn, the algae can create valuable resources.

"They are pumped through microfibers. They are hollow straws, and then, paddle wheels push them along, so they can use sunlight to convert that carbon dioxide into biomass, which is nutrient-rich. It is energy-rich, so you can use it for fertilizer, nutritional supplement, biofuels, and productive things," said Justin Flory with ASU's Center for Negative Carbon Emissions.

Officials with the City of Mesa say this is part of their mission to becoming a more sustainable city. Meanwhile, ASU scientists hope the ponds at the center of the program will be used at wastewater plants all over to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Mesa city officials are anxious to turn the pilot program into a permanent program.

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