Innovations

Vitale’s latest product, the Scissors Paddlewheel

Robert Vitale Reinvents the Paddlewheel

July 21, 2010
by Tamra Fakhoorian
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Reinventing the wheel is usually frowned upon, but in the case of the Waterwheel Factory’s development of high-tech paddlewheels for open pond raceways, it is paying off nicely in terms of better efficiencies for the emerging algae industry.

“Current paddlewheel designs waste far too much energy and are inefficient at mixing algae,” states Robert Vitale, president and founder of the Waterwheel Factory in Franklin, NC. “There was a lot of room for improvement in paddlewheel construction and design. With our expertise in moving water, we found the emerging algae industry to be a natural fit.”

Vitale’s company has been primarily known for its massive waterwheels that grace grist mills in the US and abroad. Waterwheel Factory is the world’s largest manufacturer of metal water wheels.

In 2008, General Atomics asked Vitale to build a raceway paddlewheel for a research project. Since then, Vitale has built paddlewheels for a number of algae research groups including Sapphire, Midwest Research Institute, Texas A&M Agrilife Research Center, and Touchstone Research Labs.

Vitale’s latest product, aptly named the Scissors Paddlewheel, currently under testing, boasts a novel design that may cut energy consumption by up to 20% over contemporary models and allows thorough mixing of bottom algae into upper water layers in a “forward, up, then down” configuration.

“We made great improvements in materials, overall blade design, and motor/gearbox arrangements. With the help from Teledyne Industries, using their Doppler current velocity instrument, we have been able to focus closely on the spot where the paddle meets the water and discovered some surprising opportunities for improvements.”

Vitale will speak at the National Algae Association Houston conference September 24-25, where he will showcase his Scissors Paddlewheel.

Sometimes it pays to reinvent the wheel.
www.WaterWheelFactory.com

Copyright ©2010 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reprint this article in its entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact editorial@algaeindustrymagazine.com.

Visit the A.I.M. Archives

AIM interview ArchivesAlgae 101 ArchivesHot Products ArchivesInnovations ArchivesMoney ArchivesProcess ArchivesResearch ArchivesScale Up ArchivesThe Buzz Archives

FREE Algae News & Updates

Sign up to receive breaking A.I.M. updates!

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae because of their color, have endured for more than 2.5 billion years, providing ample time to adapt to changes in the Earth'...
Green Star Products, Inc. (GSPI) has signed a contract to build a demonstration facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, to produce commercial quality algae. The Hybrid Algae Produ...
Fort Myers, FL-based Algenol has announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved fuels made from Algenol’s process as an advanced biofuel, meet...
In an age where customer input is as easy as a click, OriginOil has tapped directly into its intended market to R&D their next generation algae harvester -- with a de...
Designboom.com is showcasing the “Spirulina Fountain” designed by bureau A. The installation constitutes a hybrid, fusing the production basins of the intense blue-green ...
Researchers Greg O’Neil of Western Washington University and Chris Reddy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), have exploited an unusual and untapped class of c...
Caroline Scott-Thomas reports on Food Navigator about an online algae discussion on the social media site Reddit where Mars' chief agricultural officer Howard-Yana Shapir...
A U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Biomass Energy Technologies Office (BETO) project, awarded to Cal Poly (California Polytechnic State University) in collaboration with M...
Solazyme has announced that total revenue for the fourth quarter of 2014 was $14.5 million, compared with $11.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, an increase of 29%....
Don Willmott writes in Huffington Post about Nevada-based Algae Systems, which has built a test plant on Alabama's Mobile Bay to not only turn algae into diesel fuel but ...
As of March 1, 2015, bbi-biotech GmbH, of Berlin, Germany, has begun integrating IGV Biotech GmbH’s photobioreactors into its own life science product portfolio. A former...
Montague, Prince Edward Island-based Solarvest has announced that it has used its algal-based production platform to express bioactive therapeutic proteins. The proof of ...
As one of the most water-poor countries in the world, Jordan’s current water resources are significantly below the global water scarcity line. Annual rainfall falls under...
The European (FP7) algae project Sustainable PoLymers from Algae Sugars and Hydrocarbons (SPLASH) has been developing a platform technology for the conversion of third ge...
A multi-pronged nutrient bio-remediation system is the goal of a team of scientists who will present their research this week for cleaning up algae blooms in critical wat...