OMEGA stands for Offshore Membrane Enclosures for Growing Algae. The technology, initially developed at NASA, is derived from the space program’s effort to “close the loop” between the waste streams produced and resource streams required by astronauts during long-duration spaceflight.
The OMEGA technology presents many advantages over existing algae cultivation methods.
Because OMEGAs grow algae inside polymer-based photobioreactors that are designed to float on aquatic acreage, the technology does not require land development for algae growth, unlike existing algae cultivation systems, which require large swaths of land development to support the scale of algae-based fuel production needed to make a difference.
OMEGAs float on the water column, which provides an ideal mechanical support structure that precludes the expensive earthworks or mechanical support structures required by land-based algae growth systems. By cultivating the algae at sea, OMEGAs take advantage of wave and wind action to provide the necessary mixing and temperature control of the algae culture.
OMEGAs receive municipal wastewater effluent as a primary input, which supplies the water and nutrients algae need to grow. OMEGA’s use of wastewater stops the nutrients therein from wreaking havoc on the aquatic ecosystems, stopping or reversing the formation of oceanic “dead zones”.
OMEGAs additionally make use of passive dewatering techniques that greatly reduce the cost of otherwise expensive and energy-intensive dewatering, and double as a membrane-level wastewater treatment providing the ability to recover valuable freshwater for reuse.
The OMEGA technology presents a revolution in algae growth technology, and comprises a central element to the technology suite exclusively offered by Algae Systems.