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In order to build a more sustainable future, society must transition toward carbon negative energy production and infrastructure. Algae photobioreactors have proven to be an efficient producer of lipid rich oil which can be synthesized into carbon neutral biodiesel. However, the neutrality of such a technology rests in its ability to yield adequate algal biomass through photosynthesis. In order to reach maximum quantum efficiency of algal cells, solar flux must be transformed so that photon absorption can occur without oversaturating the constituent matter. This project looks at the scattering effects of iridocyte-like structures and their potential to create cost effective solar transformers by utilizing the principles of geometrical optics, spherical harmonics, and Mie theory. Additionally, the socioeconomic implications of energy autonomy are considered across communal scales, along with a reimagining of the socio-spatial arrangements behind decentralized energy production. In this way, the project serves as a model of multidisciplinary collaboration and the importance of use value in technological analysis–both of which will prove vital as we reorganize grid infrastructures to accommodate renewable energy.
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Checkoway, Spencer Morgan, "Sustainable Energy Imaginaries: Utilizing Mie Optics to Reengineer Photobioreactors and Reimagine the Socio-spatial Conditions of Autonomous Energy Production" (2022). Senior Projects Spring 2022. 119.
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