From: Matt Wheeler via Syracuse University
Published January 31, 2017 10:21 AM

A Better Way to Farm Algae

Scientists have long known of the potential of microalgae to aid in the production of biofuels and other valuable chemicals. However, the difficulty and significant cost of growing microalgae have in some ways stalled further development of this promising technology. Bendy Estime, a biomedical and chemical engineering Ph.D. candidate, has devoted his research to this area, and developed a new technology for energy efficient cultivation and harvesting of microalgae.

Estime’s research has been published as a peer-reviewed article in Scientific Reports on Jan. 19. He and his research advisors, Distinguished Professor Radhakrishna Sureshkumar, chair of the Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering, and Professor Dacheng Ren, have secured a provisional patent for the technology.

“My goal was to improve the growth of microalgae,” says Estime, who first studied biofuels as an engineering student in his native Haiti.

“The study is an attempt to address three ‘bottlenecks’ in microalgae cultivation,” says Sureshkumar. “When you grow algae in suspension, they tend to stick to the walls of a container, making the container opaque. This makes it more difficult for required light to get through to the algae. The second issue is that there has to be consistent stirring of the container to ensure that light does reach all layers of the algae. A third issue is the difficulty of separating algae from the broth, which requires time and energy, and is therefore costly.”

Continue reading at Syracuse University

Image Credit: Syracuse University

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