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First Project Working Session

Hi Folks,

At our last meetup almost everyone wanted to move forward with a biweekly session where we could begin to build bioreactors, electronic sensors, and web software to manage and track it all.  This would be a good start for us and we can branch out from there. I've posted some some information about the Biomonstaaar bioreactor project funded by DARPA on our Google Group for those who want to learn more about algae bioreactors.   

I've also got my basic sensor system up and running between arduinos and a raspberry pi which hosts a webserver to serve the data wirelessly from my back yard where I have 100 L bags of algae.  I can share my hardware configurations and software.  

I know we have a mixer with the Fab Lab folks on Saturday 2/8 and I missed this week for a meetup unfortunately.  But, let's try to meet next Wednesday 2/5 at 6:30 PM so we can get started.  I'll try to get us in to ANSIR again as that worked out quite well.  I'll confirm asap.  BTW, my poll has indicated that Wed evenings are best for most people.  Let's start with this and if a subset wants to meet on a weekend afternoon, we can schedule that too (perhaps alternating weeks). We'll see how this goes. It will all be much easier if I can locate a space for us to work (Fab Lab may just work for us, so try to come next Saturday if you can!)

My idea is to bring some hardware, Spirulina for folks to take home, and instructions on everything you need to grow Spirulina at home.  It's very hardy and grows well in cleaned plastic bottles.  If interested, you should pick up a small aquarium air pump, some 1/4" plastic tubing for the pump, pH strips (8-14 pH), a clear plastic bottle with distilled H20 (or Britta filtered H20 is actually better) and bring it to the meetup.  Also bring a small container and I'll give you enough media to get started. I've added some literature in the "Growing Algae" section of the Google Group.  Please check that out.

For projects which I'd like to work on over the next few months, here's a list. 

1. Figure out how to add a potentiometer to the arduino to calibrate the pH sensors OR some other system to automate it.  This is a bit of a challenge to solve, as we have to figure out the appropriate linear regression formulas to adjust on the fly using a temperature adjustment.  This would be very powerful. I've got some design ideas.

2. Create a web database to store sensor data and graphically display it all.  We'll get some help from the Biomonstaaar project in San Francisco, since they are writing some opensource code for this.

3.  Finish up the CO2 pump system to control the pH of an algae culture.  I've got some of this solved but needs some work.

4. Implement the Atlas Scientific color sensor to track the color of an algae culture during growth. This will help monitor the health of the culture.

5. Test and implement the $100 arduino based colorimeter from I've got all the reagents and one (maybe 2) colorimeter.  We can test it and put some protocols together.  We should be able to test for nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, iron, and phosphorous.  The idea is to tightly control and monitor the algae nutrients.   I've got detailed information on a variety of algae medias and later we can test to see how various species consume various medias.  This would be a fun experiment once we get into a lab.

That's it for now.  These are areas of interest for me. I know others want to work on other projects. I'm throwing these out there to see if any of these resonate with y'all.  We can discuss them at our meetup.  

Again, I have done a lot of work with medias, growing algae, building bioreactors and electronic sensors.  I'm happy to share all of my specifications, designs, software and data with the group.

Let me know if you have any questions. Hope to see you next Wednesday!



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  • Adrian

    Looking forward to future projects.

    1 · February 7, 2014

  • Christoph M.

    Mostly a preview of things to come ...

    February 6, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Dammit. Too sick to make this one. Next one, for sure.

    February 5, 2014

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