Environmental Protection

Company Proposes Algae Treatment, Renewable Power

Algaewheel, Inc. recently said that it will be submitting a proposal to build a facility in Cedar Lake, Ind., that uses algae to treat municipal wastewater and uses the sludge byproduct to produce electricity, heat, and biofuel.

Christopher Limcaco, president of Algaewheel, announced that his company has partnered with Thieneman Construction to develop and design the proposal.

"Cedar Lake officials are demonstrating both fiscal and environmental awareness by soliciting the proposal, and Algaewheel is excited about the opportunity," Limcaco said.

The continued growth of Cedar Lake has necessitated the construction of a new wastewater treatment facility. The new facility will be capable of treating an estimated 2.25 million gallons of wastewater per day and will serve residents on the west side of Cedar Lake. Algaewheel's bid will be submitted by July 7. The successful bidder should be identified by Sept. 7. Construction of the new facility should begin this year and be completed by the end of 2009.

The ground-breaking facility would include a patented type of algae production. Invented by Limcaco, the process uses specially designed wheels that maximize algae production and automatically harvest the algae. The wheel, which has been in development for 13 years, quadruples the surface area available for algae production as compared to a stationery algae tank.

The algae are a component of the system that treats and filters the wastewater by removing certain contaminants, such as phosphorous, and breaking down solids. According to Limcaco, "the system is basically an algae farm using the wastewater as fertilizer". The resulting sludge is a mixture of wastewater solids and algae. This mixture is then thermally treated using a process similar to gasification that removes oils from the sludge mixture in stage one and gasifies the remaining solids to produce electricity and high-grade fertilizer in stage two.

Cedar Lake and the surrounding area is a fast-growing community of about 35,000 residents and lies a few miles south of Crown Point, Ind. Thieneman Construction is a privately-held company based in Crown Point. Algaewheel is a privately-held company based in Indianapolis, Ind..

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