After researching algae farms in more detail, the decision was made that are project could not actually be an algae farm because the amount of algae needed to produce usable biofuel is an extremely large amount. This amount is much larger than a 8x9 foot algae farm could produce, seeing as an actual algae farm was built in Texas by an Arizona company called PetroSun Biofuels, contains 1,100 acre network of saltwater ponds with an additional 20 arces dedicated to research and development of the biofuel itself. So, in order to adapt our project to this change we decided to make the focus of the entire project to be an off the grid light source, instead of both biofuel and a light source. So, to do this we really needed to figure out exactly how the algae worked. After some research and Allison's experience playing algae mom, we figured out and understood how the algae worked. This algae are unicellular algae that run on a biological clock that splits the day into 12 hours of sunlight and 12 hours of night. During the 12 day light hours, the algae produce oxygen and sugars using photosynthesis, meaning they do not have to be fed. During the 12 night hours, the cells produce chemicals (which are connected to the day time photosynthesis) that will cause the luminescent reaction. The reaction will occur whenever the algae are agitated and it will give off a soft light blue light. Changes in the biological clock can be made by training the algae to think that different chunks of the day are sunlight and night hours. This can be done using ordinary lights and every day moving when the algae starts it’s day and night cycle by one hour. For our final project, we decided to do this training so that the algae’s day cycle occurs between 9am and 9pm, so that the project can be seen glowing during the daytime presentation. However, in real world applications, the algae’s biological clock would run according to sunrise/set like normal so that it will glow in the dark and can be used for light. The algae need to be kept at a warm temperature, between 50 and 70°F, and need to be kept in a salt water conditions. Our project also changed in the fact that we were know longer going to use solar panels to power our air pumps and any other interaction systems. We found out that our project was going to be held in a potentially windowless gallery and sense the focus of our project was the algae and not the solar panels, we decided to remove them from the project. Also, we decided that the algae would be agitated using human interaction using an arduino board and sensors, however the way was not 100% known yet. The image below is an image of the algae actually glowing.
The next image is of an actual algae cell.