A STUDY OF THE FEASIBILITY OF OXYGEN PRODUCTION BY ALGAE FOR NUCLEAR SUBMARINES
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC
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The mass culture of algae has been considered as a means of removing carbon dioxide and replenishing oxygen in the atmosphere of a nuclear submarine. For the past 2-12 years the feasibility of this method has been investigated in the laboratory by measuring the growth rate and the oxygen production the Sorokin strain of Chlorella pyrenoidosa under various conditions of culture. The results obtained with a small pilot plant containing 6200 ml of algal suspension have been evaluated the effects of light intensity, rate of stirring, rate of carbon dioxide supply, and other variables were part of this study. Light energy was supplied by six 1500-watt incandescent lamps which extended through the suspension and were encased in 50-mm O.D. cooling jackets. When the light intensity at the surface of these jackets was 34,000 footcandles the limit with the equipment at hand, the oxygen production was 4500 cc per hour. The dependability of the algal system in providing a constant supply of oxygen has been assured by this study also, the volume requirements of the algal system are competitive with existing systems for carbon dioxide removal and oxygen production.