It also provides green bleach and ensures clean environment by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.

Algal biomass has innumerable benefits, prominent among them being its ability to generate power and reduce pollution. And, more importantly, it eliminates the use of high quantity of chemical substances, says an NGO.

Algaculture will be of great help to fishermen who depend on uncertain catch from the sea as it adds to the family income.

Algal biomass is useful in power generation plants and food processing industries too. It also provides green bleach and ensures clean environment by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. These apart, algaculture generates employment and creates rural livelihood, says founder-president of Anand Bharthi Foundation G.N.S. Patnaik.

Algal biomass is produced through cultivation of algae, which is seaweed. Several species such as Gracilaria verrucosa, Spirulina can be cultivated. The biomass produced can be used in solid state (dry algae), or liquid state (bio diesel) or gaseous state (biogas), explains Nagaraju, an Assistant Engineer with the APEPDCL and running the NGO-based at Elamanchili.

Place a large basin of water with algae in it at busy intersections of the city and on the highway. The algae works 20 times better than trees and plants in controlling pollution. If these large basins are kept under streetlights, they add to the beautification of roads. 

Algae caters to a wide range of necessities, including food, nutrition, energy, fertilizer, plastic, and pigments. Algae can also be used for production of bio-degradable plastic. The enriched algae can itself be used as fertilizer.

Algae cultivation in sea water is a simple task. A frame is made with bamboo sticks and strong wood pieces, with a fish net attached to it. Required species of algae are cut into small pieces and placed on the frames. They are then kept in the sea 500 metres away from the shore.

Algae is harvested after 21 or 45 days, depending on the species used. It can also be grown in open ponds or photo bio-reactors (transparent containers). Algae can be harvested using micro-screens, by centrifugation, flocculation, and froth flotation. The harvested crop is dried and sent for processing.

Mr. Patnaik says algae cultivation will be beneficial for local fishermen as it can be used to make city beaches clean and enjoyable.

“The chemicals in effluents and sewage drained into the sea are better treated by algae than the sewage treatment plants. Also, the algae, in the process of treating fertilizer, gets enriched and becomes useful as soil conditioners,” says Mr. Patnaik.

Algaculture by the Anand Bharthi Foundation has won approval at the Spark the Rise Idea competition conducted by the Mahindra Group of Companies and the project report has been accepted.