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CAER Seminars

Algae Biofuels: Are We There Yet?

Speaker:
Jennifer Stewart - NSF SEES Fellow at the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment
Dr. John McGowen is the Director of Operations and Program Management for ASU’s Arizona Center for Technology and Innovation (AZCATI)

Date:
April 8, 2015 at 10:00am
Ben Bandy Conference Center
UK Center for Applied Energy Research

Abstract:

Despite the many advantages to using algae instead of terrestrial plants for biofuel production, algal biofuels are not yet economically viable on a commercial scale. This presentation will review the current policies and economics associated with algal biofuel production, and discuss how funding for fundamental algal biology research is critical to improving biomass yields and production costs. Our work focuses on developing innovative strategies for growing algae on industrial emissions, which has the dual advantage of simultaneously decreasing biomass production costs (by reducing nutrient application costs and increasing biomass yields) while also mitigating the effects of harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Using analytical biochemistry, molecular biology, and algal physiology techniques, we are identifying and characterizing novel metabolic traits in raphidophyte algae that enable them to flourish on toxic emissions. We are now beginning to use this knowledge to engineer designer algal strains with superior traits for economical biofuel production.