Student-built photobioreactor cleans water of livestock waste

Pat Sheridan
Pat Sheridan

The World Health Organization predicts that the worldwide consumption of animal products will increase by 72 percent in the next 15 years. But many developing nations lack the right climates or infrastructure to produce adequate meat, eggs and dairy.

One way that farmers can get lots of bang for their buck in meat production is a Confined Animal Feeding Operation. Farmers use them to raise more animals in less time and for less cost.  Animals and their food, manure and urine are handled under one roof.

But that animal waste leaves a different mess behind: water filled with so many extra nutrients that it’s considered contaminated.

Patrick Sheridan, a graduate student in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Michigan State University, built something called a photobioreactor that uses algae to clean contaminated water and turn extra nutrients into animal feed.

He explains in this podcast here.

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