Have you ever considered how much wastewater is flushed down through pipes in buildings every hour and every day and if that wastewater could be harnessed to generate some form of usable energy? OriginOil, a Los Angeles-based company that is in the forefront of the algae oil service industry, has fashioned a system that takes wastewater and turns it into heat besides treating the water as well.
OriginOil is working on the urban algae farm idea at the La Défense complex located near Paris. The French government has made it mandatory that new buildings should recycle water and generate more clean energy than what is consumed. Although the United States government is taking a less aggressive step in this direction, reports from the Zero Energy Commercial Building Consortium and the New Building Institute state that net zero buildings are coming up with almost 100 structures in the United States today. These conditions are deemed favorable for OriginOil’s technology to be widely adopted.
The company stated that their flat panel photobioreactors are appropriate for vertical surfaces. High-rise apartments are a major target with large area rooftops being suitable as well. Some of the company’s active projects are installed on rooftops with an area of 50,000 square meters. According to reports, a 4,000 sq meter algae farm installed on a 10,000 floor area could generate almost 40 kWh per sq meter of the floor surface area yearly. In other words, out of every unit of power one gets, one can also achieve up to four units of heat. Large apartments can be heated using this technology.
Another advantage of algae is its ability to absorb pharmaceutical chemicals and CO2 found in wastewater which is almost impossible to treat using conventional treatment plants. If OriginOil’s technology can be successfully implemented, buildings won’t longer be the polluting structures that they presently are.