The Algal Ecotechnology Center (AEC) is an organizational unit for advancing the design and implementation of ecologically-engineered, algal-based technologies for water quality management and economic development. These kinds of ecotechnologies utilize natural or “wild” assemblages of algal populations for uptake of pollutants, such as excessive nutrient concentrations, into their biomass during growth. These pollutants are removed from the water by periodic harvesting of the algae. Dissolved oxygen also is produced through photosynthesis by the algae, which adds to their role in water quality management.
The algal biomass that is harvested from these systems can be used in productive ways, such as a feedstock for biofuel generation or as a fertilizer, thus supporting local economic development. The systems are ecologically-engineered by using lowquality, solar energy as their main driving force, with smaller amounts of high-quality, purchased energies and materials used only to amplify the algal growth.
The logo of the AEC depicts the overlapping functions of the application of algal ecotechnologies; water quality improvement, green jobs, and biofuel generation.
The center consists of a set of collaborators, from academia, industry, and governmental and nongovernmental organizations, who have agreed to work together to advance the algal-based ecotechnologies. Collaborations are facilitated by a website administered in the Environmental Science and Technology Department at the University of Maryland at College Park. The web site is a clearinghouse for publications, project descriptions, and informational materials about the ecotechnologies. While the focus of research of the AEC has been the Chesapeake Bay Watershed (map), collaborators are working at national and international scales.
For more information, contact Kintija Eigmina, Web and Communications Coordinator
Last updated: 04/9/2013
“The initial focus for the AEC is the Chesapeake Bay watershed but the intention of the center is to advance the ecotechnologies both nationally and internationally,” says Dr. Patrick Kangas, founder of the AEC.