What Is Algae?

Is algae just merely useless pond scum? Ask your average person and there's a high chance that not many are informed of the potential of algae. Don't be left in the dark when it comes to a quickly growing world that is making appearances in industries that most would never even have thought possible. Algae has burst onto the scene in areas such as biofuels, 3D printing, polymers, and much more. In part 3 of our "What In The World Are We Mixing Series", step into the world of algae!

If algae is a valuable commodity, what is it? One definition comes straight from a simple Google search which states it is, "A simple nonflowering plant of a large group that includes the seaweeds and many single-celled forms. Algae contain chlorophyll but lack true stems, roots, leaves, and vascular tissue". This is a fairly simplified explanation and exposes its stunning similarity to plants. Angela Hartstock, an instructor for recently shared a more in depth definition which states, "Algae is the name given to a large and diverse group of oxygenic, phototrophic, eukaryotic microorganisms." This simply means that algae produce oxygen, they obtain energy from sunlight, and each of its cells carries a distinguishable nucleus. This is not to oversimplify the potential at hand. Algae is unique. It is different from most other microscopic organisms. As we briefly mentioned, they are eukaryotic meaning they contain a nucleus which in turn contains in itself DNA. They are also quite different in that algae contain cells that are identical versus something like plants which are capable of producing leaves, vascular tissue, and roots amongst other things. Algae are often reduced in our mind to something of no value, it is complex, valuable, and crucial to carrying out objectives that will brighten humanity's future.

How Is Mixer Direct Involved In The Algae Industry?

Agitation is a crucial factor when it comes to the growth and development of healthy algae. When confined to a container such as a water column or tank, it is difficult to ensure that all algae strands are able to come into contact with their power source, sunlight (natural or artificial) and get the necessary exposure to nutrients. With out light and nutrients, photosynthesis cannot occur. Although algae is resilient it is also difficult for it to tolerate vigorous agitation. Additionally, if you remove proper agitation from the equation, a thick layer will develop on the surface of your water column preventing healthy algae growth. At Mixer Direct, we are proactively seeking opportunities to innovate solutions to overcome customer obstacles in their applications. Thankfully, our staff is well equipped to handle difficult scenarios such as algae given their expertise in biology, chemical and mechanical engineering, and more. In seeking a resolution, we have been able to tailor custom mixing equipment for the algae industry to ensure population density. Our innovative low shear high flow blade technology allow the gently handling of algae yet move it with a sufficient velocity within the confines of a water column. With the addition of carefully calculated cycle rates the algae get the appropriate amount of light absorption along with vital nutrients.

This brings us to one of our company's first interactions with the algae industry. In a recent interview with our CEO and President, Mark Franco, he recalled that upon developing solutions for the algae industry that,We developed special low shear impellers and then donated the entire unit because we believed in what the organization was doing and wanted to help the algae industry move forward in development. This was very much in line with our parent company, MXD Process' core purpose which begin with, "Unlocking Earth's resources through process equipment and engineering". When considering our future and the current state of energy, fuel, and sustainability we must recognize that one of the earth's largest and most fundamental resources is the energy that comes from the sun. Much like the history and development of the earth's resources like petroleum, we see a bright and promising future in something else that is powered by the sun, algae. The growth of algae is not useless pond scum, it is nothing short of an incredibly valuable resource to our planet and humanity. Why you ask? Algae can be effectively and efficiently converted into sustainable clean energy. The world of algae is bright and we are thankful to be a part of it.