PPM collective works with two strains of algae as carbon collectors and water cleansers, Chlorella Vulgaris and Spirulina. We experiment with small cultures to test the algae’s ability to photosynthesize carbon and remove nitrates from local waterways as well as different growing methods leads to small scale sculptural bioreactors and soon larger sculptural buoys and fountains.

SPARCC Buoy (Semi- Passive Algae Rooted Carbon Collection)

Perhaps our most exciting research is around the SPARCC buoy system. At its simplest the SPARCC buoy is made from a 5 gallon bucket and a 1.2 micron filter. Anchored into retention ponds, lakes, or slow moving river areas, the SPARCC buoy allows water to enter the algal bloom but prevents the algae from passing into the water source. This passive system acts as a carbon collection device using alga’s photosynthesis and propensity for quick growth. This process allows the bloom to remove excess nitrates from the water source making it ideal for scaling and placement. SPARCC emerged from work with a small group of Drake University students.  The Drake University team were finalists during OpenAir Collectives Carbon Removal Challenge (https://openaircollective.cc/crc/) and presented their SPARCC research at NYU in 2023.