Another Example of AI Helping Mankind and the Planet

Lane Simond:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers several advantages to the healthcare sector. Learning algorithms can be precise, allowing humans to gain insights into diagnostics and patient outcomes. In a previous blog we explained how Sparta Group uses AI within its Workplace Safe Entry program to help keep workers safe on the job. Now we’ve learned that a research team is using AI to try to provide benefits to the Environment.

Research scientists at Texas A&M have been able to use artificial intelligence to produce algae as a reliable and economic source for biofuel.

To date, bringing algal biofuel to market has been difficult due to low yield and the high cost of harvesting. Experts report that limited light penetration and poor cultivation cause the low yield. Using a patented AI learning model to predict algae light penetration and growth, the research team could see that the model allows for constant harvest of synthetic algae using hydroponics to help maintain rapid growth with the best light availability. The researchers are using an aggregation-based sedimentation approach to achieve low-cost biomass harvesting.

Here’s what Texas A&M Research Scientist, Joshua Yuan told AgriLife Today:

The aggregation-based sedimentation is achieved by engineering a fast-growing blue-green algae strain, Synechococcus elongatus UTEX2973, to produce limonene, which increases cyanobacterial cell surface hydrophobicity and enables efficient cell aggregation and sedimentation.

The Research team’s findings were published in Nature Communications and point out that scaling-up with an outdoor pond can yield biomass of about 43.3 grams per square meter per day thus bringing the price down to $281 per ton. To produce ethanol from corn, it costs $260 per ton and requires fermentation. Also, corn must be ground, mushed and cooked before fermentation, using up more energy.