Peter Hentschke’s Environmental Science class has begun growing algae. This algae not only will serve to sequester CO2, but it will eventually be used as a biofuel. The first step in this process is to determine the best factors for growing the largest quantity of algae. To determine this, the class divided up into groups which each examined one variable affecting the plant growth, e.g., nutrients, exposure to light, etc. The photos below show the photo-bioreactors the class made for the algae (chlorella protothecoides) which was acquired from Cornell. Last summer, Mr. Hentschke pursued his professional development at Cornell where he worked with various species of micro algae. According to Hentschke, “after the seed stock cultures grow, students will launch a number of experiments. I’m working on getting one of the Cornell experts to come visit Harley to take a look at our experiments, once we get some a little further along.”
The algae is happily growing in the Project Space of the Commons. In the meantime, the Environmental Science class is researching and making plans for their algae once they have a sufficient harvest. We’ll keep you posted on the progress!