NASA may concern itself largely with space exploration, but it also wants to keep Earth on a steady course in the face of rising energy costs and climate change. Now the U.S. space agency has thrown its weight behind a clever method of growing algae in wastewater for the purpose of making biofuel.
The OMEGA system consists of algae grown in flexible plastic bags floating offshore, where cities typically dump their wastewater. Oil-producing freshwater algae would naturally clean the wastewater by feeding on nutrients in the sewage. The cleansed freshwater could then release into the ocean through forward-osmosis membranes in the sides of the plastic bags.