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Project Description/Abstract

Idea: Self-Sustained Photosynthetic Energy System

Codependency / Basal Killswitch

Given the general criticism of transgenic species as far as escape into the wild is concerned, we propose to establish a series of biological modifications that would entirely remove the production of certain small enzymes key to continued cell growth that, if lost, would correspond to a nearly immediate death. Going further beyond this idea, we propose to have organisms in our bioreactor exhibit codependence as a result of engineered pathways allowing one organism to produce and excrete the precise enzymes required for its associate organisms's growth.

Nutrient Recycling

Given the issue of costs in photobioreactors, it would be extremely useful to remove any expenditures or cleaning requirements associated with energy production. To this end, we propose a nutrient recycling system based upon key bacteria, including nitrogen fixers and phosphorus-subproduct decomposers.

Note: Carbon out must equal carbon in per day to make sure that the system is constant. Water could be slightly purified through some means before being added to the tank; regardless, CO2 + H2O out would have to CO2 + H20 in per day to maintain the system.

Contamination Resistance

Given the overwhelming issue of system failure via invasion of outside organisms, we propose to include production of a powerful antibiotic that would be produced by one of the system bacteria so as to make invasive takeover increasingly more unlikely. This, in addition to a high salinity environment, would reduce the chance of system failure and allow us to make use of large scale algal ponds.

General Factory Design Parameters

From a mechanical perspective, we expect our systems to require nothing more than an initial investment of resources and continued water input. To this end, we would have to safeguard against such issues as cold weather or rain. A simple safeguard would be a small rollover shutter that could be used to cover the normally open ponds. Furthermore, we have envisioned two tanks, with the bacterial tank being lower than the algal tank and connected via a water bridge.


Team Members

Recently Edited Notebook Pages