Introduction: Standalone Solar Powered Algae Cultivation
Third Prize in the
MAKE ENERGY: A US-Mexico Innovation Challenge
This instructable will cover the full compilation of my journey upon completing my prototype DIY Standalone Solar Powered Algae Cultivation made from a recycled 55 gallon pvc drum. I will also show how i integrated a solar power system to create a sustainable and energy efficient machine. The solar energy generated will then be converted to mechanical energy which enables the wastewater to circulate and be consumed faster by the algae for its growth and development.After the algae had been fully matured we can now then start to extract the biofuel or harvest a spirulina, but in this specific instructable I will only be showing you how to build an algae cultivation.The algae cultivation can be used for research and experiments to different species of algae. The Goal of this DIY project is to produce a clean and green energy for everyone, to lessen carbon footprint and to treat human, animal and industrial waste.
Step 1: Why I Started Building My Own Algae Cultivation?
I built this algae cultivation in the purpose of extracting valuable nutrients from the waste water of my recent DIY project which is a biogas digester. The waste water has many benefits and advantages to the growth and development of the algae, it can sustain the needs of the algae. Knowing this i realized, why not build my own algae farm? and try to know more about alga's potential to our ever changing world. Also "We are in a state of climate change, food and energy crisis" dependence to fossil fuel, mass produced/ synthetic foods, and consumption of non-renewable energy is destroying our environment and also the future generations. We need to create something that is renewable, clean and efficient that can sustain or even substitute our dependence from the traditional.Algae (spirulina) is known to contain high amount of proteins and essential fatty acids which is highly beneficial to our well being and is known to have the largest amount of oil yields per acre with that from other oil-seeds. Therefore it can produce a large and independent supply of bio-fuel. it is the solution to the so called "energy crisis and global warming" it will be the future of energy resource that will move us towards a cleaner, greener and perhaps better future. Together in our own little ways let us make this a fact and make yesterday a history.
Step 2: Things You'll Need :
For the main structure :
55 gallon pvc drum
Support system (Recycled Metal Frame)
10 x BOLT 1/4 UNF X 1.3/8 INCH
Stainless steel flat bar
2 x Acrylic Sheet 40 x 26cm
The wheel paddle:
Stainless steel bar
8 - Stainless steel plate
2 - Pillow block
4 x BOLT 1/4
The power and control system:
20 watts solar panel
Solar controller 5a
12v lead acid battery
12v dc motor 1.8a (from used car aircon motor)
Bicycle Chain Ring
Tools and Machines
Sheet Metal Pruner Cutting Tool
2 x Vice-Grip C-Clamp
Step 3: Cutting the PVC Drum
This particular step is cutting to half the recycled 55 gallon drum i had already dedicated an instructable for this particular step so just click the link below. https://www.instructables.com/id/Cutting-half-vertically-a-PVC-drum-fast-method/
Step 4: Drilling Hole to the PVC Drum
We need to drill holes at the edges of the PVC Drum for it will serve as a locking mechanism to the main frame and so that it will be sturdy enough to hold the volume of the water.
- To drill a hole we will be using a power drill.
- Start drilling hole at the center of the drum while the vice grip c-clamp are attached at both ends.
- The total holes that i drilled at the center was four.
Step 5: Inserting the Flat Bar to the Pvc Drum
The purpose of the flat bar is to hold together and lock in tightly to the main frame the divided PVC drum. Also to support the volume of the water without it collapsing and lessening its vibration.
- Spot welding is more ideal than using a vice grip to hold the two flat bars when drilling.
- I used a bench drill to drill holes to the stainless steel flat bars.
- There was a total of four holes to the flat bar.
- After drilling i used a grinder to polish the flat bar.
Step 6: Reconstruction of the Support Frame
The main frame that i used was a spare i found at our garage. It was very ideal and perfect to support the PVC drum. I also used old boiler tubes to re-fabricate the frame due to its availability. I made four right angle out of the old boiler tubes. When cutting the tubes i used an acetylene torch, then grind off the rough edges and then welded it together.
Step 7: Making the Wheel Paddle
The wheel paddle that i used is from a spare of stainless steel sheets. There are many alternatives that can be use, but i prefer the stainless steel sheet because it is strong, malleable, and rust resistant.
- I cut eight pieces of the sheets using a Sheet Metal Pruner Cutting Tool.
- To fold the sheet i inserted it to the bench vise approximately 5 mm inside the grip.
- Slowly hammered it down until it is in the desired shape.
- Repeat the process at the other sides.
- I marked out a x shape to the plate to strengthen and reinforced it.
- After marking i polished the corners of the plate to get rid from its sharp edges.
- Then i welded the four plates to a tube forming the wheel paddle.
- The wheel paddle has a locking mechanism to the stainless steel rod,by drilling and welding a bolt to the tube.
Step 8: Adding a Partition to the PVC Drum.
The partition of the PVC drum is very essential to its design, It allows the liquid to circulate in a laminar manner.
- The two 40 x 26 cm Acrylic Sheet will be glued to the center of PVC using a silicone sealant.
- I reinforced the acrylic sheet by attaching a stainless steel tig welding rod to it. The rod is malleable enough to be shaped and strong enough to support the sheet.
- The rod is interlocked with the bolt of the flat bars (the sides of the PVC drum).
Step 9: Driving the Wheel Paddle
The 12v dc motor is controlled by the arduino uno thru the dfrobot 2a motor shield. It is powered by the solar controller and charged by the solar panel. With my basic knowledge about arduino i am able to manipulate the speed of the motor and also set a timer.
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