to the World Resources Institute, the United States is the second largest
contributor of greenhouse gases, producing 14.36% of all greenhouse gases.
Carbon dioxide makes up about 82% of all greenhouse gases. In the United
States, carbon dioxide is mostly emitted through electricity and
transportation. According to the US Energy Information Administration,
Americans consumed 140.43 billion gallons of gasoline in 2015. Since a single
gallon of gas emits 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, America produced 2.8 trillion
pounds of carbon dioxide from transportation alone. A reduction in carbon
dioxide emissions from transportation would significantly reduce the amount the
United States contributes to the greenhouse gas effect.
carbon dioxide naturally, one must think of a natural reaction that uses carbon
dioxide to create something harmless, such as photosynthesis. Plants use carbon
dioxide to produce glucose and oxygen. One problem, however, would be that many
plants would be unable to perform such functions at the extreme temperatures
they will have to be exposed to if implanted in transportation devices.
versatile plants that can live in several different pH’s and temperatures, are
what I decided on because of their abundance and fast growth rates.
In my last
experiment, I tested several algae cultures that all had fast growth rates, a
necessity for my final application, and I. galbana and A. platensis
tested to be the two most efficient at consuming carbon dioxide. For the second
step, I decided to take my research a step further to investigate how those
cultures would behave in conditions, similar to those of a car tailpipe: extreme
heat and limited oxygen. The results for the experiment would lead to the
method of application I will use to implement algae into the exhaust of a car
to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
to the class Prymnesiophyceae and order Isochrysidales, Isochrysis galbana is a
type of golden algae that is mostly used for aquaculture. It is a great food
for bivalve larvae and is being studied for health benefits due to its
abundance of Fucoxanthin, a chemical that is believed to be of use for finding
inflammatory and anti-cancer treatments. It grows best in sodium rich
environments at a pH of about 7-9. In my last experiment, Isochrysis galbana
tested as the most efficient of my collection of algae at consuming carbon
belongs to the Cyanophyceae class and Oscillatoriales order. Also known as
Spirulina, A. platensis is an blue-green algae used for its health
benefits. This algae is currently being used to treat radiation sickness, high
blood pressure, and high cholesterol. It is considered to be a single-celled
protein because of it edible nature. Arthrospira platensis grows
naturally in tropical bodies of water in pH of 8-11, but because of its
commerciability, it is commonly grown in large pools for mass cultivation. A. platensis
grows best in 30-34 degrees Celsius, sodium rich environments.
Pyrolysis, a chemical reacti0n in which
carbon-based materials decompose from the application of heat, is a process
used in every day life. (i.e. cooking). To apply the photosynthetic nature of
algae to transportation devices, algae must withstand and continue to operate
in very high temperatures with the absence of sufficient oxygen for growth.
Features such as the exhaust and exhaust manifold can reach over 300 degrees
Celsius. My experiment is test if and how well algae consumes and retains
carbon dioxide while under such conditions.