Algae play a critical role in aquatic ecosystems, converting sunlight into available energy for all marine and freshwater organisms. However, pollution, climate change, and agricultural runoff contribute to the overgrowth of algae, eventually causing the collapse of localised waterbodies. This process is known as eutrophication often has huge ecological, economic, and social repercussions. Today, the spirit industry relies upon intensive agricultural practices to produce their high ethanol yielding crops. Intensive water and synthetic chemical usage and expensive land requirements are examples of agriculture's exhaustive practices that are hindering the viability of this industry, and climate change is only exacerbating these problems. ALGA VODKA asks, is there an alternative and could it be regenerative?
ALGA VODKA: Global Algal Foraging
Introduction and synopsis
Parachlorella kessleri x20 magnification
Closed-loop, regenerative system design
Algae require water, light, carbon dioxide, movement, and nutrients to thrive. Parachlorella kessleri (green algae) Arthrospira platensis (spirulina) Porphyridium cruentum (red algae)
Saccharification, fermentation, and distillation equipment
Algae undergoing saccharification
The final products of a closed-loop, regenerative system
Algae pigment tests
I experimented with extracting the pigment from various foraged strains of algae, from macro (seaweeds and kelps) to micro (spirulina and chlorella). These pigments can be extracted into printable inks, used for the packaging.
Handmade algae paper
Using the residual algal biomass and scraps of discarded paper, I blended, poured, rolled, and dried this mixture, creating algae-based paper. Whether intended for a menu or for product packaging, the thickness and strength can be easily adapted to suit a specific purpose.
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