A non-partisan, neutral perspective supporting diversity in the color of water

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Oregon's Oil to OriginOil

Oregon finally admitted a "deep" secret about groundwater in the northeastern corner of the state. According to this article in The Oregonian, pumping from the basalt aquifers in the Umatilla Basin has led to "...among the steepest declines worldwide". And it sounds like the previous concept of selling "Oregon's Oil" to the highest bidder might turn into the largest Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) project in North America - up to 25,000 acre-feet a year. At least that is the idea and a consensus agreement was signed to start exploring how to use more of Oregon's Oil for irrigation. Regardless of how this notion ultimately plays out, it does not look like the greywater footprint associated with the irrigated agricultural use is projected to increase in the Columbia River in the future (see Ecological Indicators 18 (2012) 42-49).

However, the bigger news is this article in Knovel about OriginOil, where the American biomass company has teamed up with the French company Ennesys to demonstrate how cultured algal growth can be used in energy supply and distribution:

Using a series of specially-designed pipes and algae harvesters, engineers have created a system that takes the wastewater generated by the occupants of the building and channels it into polycarbonate tubes mounted on the side of the structure. These flat-paneled tubes then use the combination of light, CO2 and flushed wastewater to cultivate algae, which is constantly nourished by the nutrients contained in the water being filtered through the system.

As an added bonus, the tubes act as insulation for the building, another method of reducing the energy consumption and the process is repeated until the nitrates are depleted. Once this occurs, the wastewater can be used as greywater for toilet-flushing.

Could OriginOil be Oregon's answer to the nitrate problem in the Lower Umatilla Basin Groundwater Management Area, thus cleaning up some of Oregon's Oil for sale to the Californians (postscript - Planet Green TV discontinued the Supper Club video series, so one can't watch the classic video of a Californian admitting to stealing the Columbia River water)?
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Friendship and money: oil and water.
 ~Author Mario Puzo 

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