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Growing algae could clean the Chesapeake Bay and create biofuel

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Maryland's Eastern Shore is known for vast soybean and corn farms, but if Patrick Kangas had his way it would be covered in slime.

Kangas, a researcher at the University of Maryland, helped create a system that uses fields of slimy algae to clean up the Chesapeake Bay by removing pollutants from agricultural wastewater.

Typically, algae hurt the bay because they contribute to dead zones, oxygen depleted areas harmful to aquatic life. But by growing fields of algae in a controlled system, the tiny plants can clean water while creating a feedstock for biofuel.

"We're really just taking what happens in nature and controlling it and channeling into the kinds of ways that we want to use the algae essentially to work for us," Kangas said.

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