[ad#PhycoBiosciences AIM Interview]

Research

FAPC algae project ranks No. 1 for OCAST funding

May 12, 2013
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Dunford

Nurhan Dunford, oil/oilseed specialist in the Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center at Oklahoma State University, has won a $100,000 funding to evaluate the biomass and algal oil production potential of microalgae strains native to Oklahoma.

An algae research proposal from Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center (FAPC) was ranked No. 1 of 28 plant-related research projects, resulting in $100,000 in funding from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology (OCAST).

The OCAST Plant Science Research program aims to promote plant research within Oklahoma. In doing so, the program provides funding to multiple projects each year. This year, the program selected a total of five projects to receive funding, four of which are OSU projects.

Nurhan Dunford, FAPC oil/oilseed specialist, said she is proud her project was selected. Dunford’s project will evaluate the biomass and algal oil production potential of microalgae strains native to Oklahoma. “I was pleased to hear our proposal was approved for funding,” Dunford said. “Most importantly, I was thrilled to hear that our project was ranked No. 1 among 28 other projects. I think this clearly shows the importance of this project for our state.”

“Plants that are efficient at converting the solar energy into chemical energy have a better chance of being a viable feedstock for biofuels and other bioproducts,” Dunford said. “Various types of algae are among the most efficient plants to convert solar energy to chemical energy.”

This specific project will screen 18 Oklahoma-native microalgae strains for their potential to grow in wastewater, produce algal biomass, oil and other high-value compounds, in addition to cleaning up wastewater, Dunford said.

“Considering the scarcity of fresh water resources, my research group focuses on growing algae on wastewater,” Dunford said. “During algae growth, oxygen is produced and carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas, is sequestered and excess nutrients in wastewater are removed. Our ongoing research has already demonstrated that some algae strains grow very well in swine lagoon wastewater.”

This research is significant because it creates a future for more proficient algal systems and addresses the possibilities of utilizing algae as biofuel feedstocks. “Strain selection and evaluation is one of the critical steps in designing high efficiency algal systems,” Dunford said. “There are thousands of strains of algae that are being considered as biofuel feedstocks in the United States.”

Dunford said there are a number of factors that make Oklahoma a suitable location to conduct algae research. “According to a report released by U.S. Department of Energy, the southern U.S. states have substantial potential to establish high productivity algal production systems,” Dunford said. “Oklahoma is identified as one of these states based on the availability of high solar radiation, water resources and suitable land and climate for microalgae cultivation.”

To receive this funding, Dunford had to go through a rigorous process to acquire approval. “I wrote an extensive research proposal explaining what I wanted to do and how I would run the tests,” Dunford said. “The proposal was reviewed and ranked by external reviewers who are experts in the field, and then the OCAST Board approved the funding.”

The first half of the funding will be administered in June of this year, with the remaining funding being issued in June 2014. Dunford said she has high hopes for what the results of this funding will generate.

“I expect that OCAST funding will help us attract larger industry and federal government research grants for our algae research,” Dunford said. “My ultimate goal is to find a commercial partner to help us develop prototypes and eventually commercialize algal biomass and oil-based products.”

More Like This…

HOME Algae Industry Jobs

Copyright ©2010-2013 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission required to reprint this article in its entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact editorial@algaeindustrymagazine.com. A.I.M. accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
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...
Developing renewable fuel from wet algae is one of the latest innovations Richland, Washington-based Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has successfully driven ...
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 ...
Algae.Tec has announced a collaboration agreement for the commercialization of its algae production technology with Larimar Energy SRL, of the Dominican Republic. The ene...
Algae “red tide” events often create dazzling nighttime light shows of blue-green bioluminescence resulting from the force generated by breaking waves. While many mysteri...
SciDev.Net’s South Asia desk reports that Indian scientists working on producing biofuel from algae cultured in municipal wastewater are enthused by the findings of a rec...
There are around 4500 dairy farms in Victoria, Australia, according to Business Victoria. Together they produced about 86 per cent of Australia’s dairy product exports, w...
Using a newly devised technique, researchers at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) have examined microalgae strains in the Culture Collection of Algae and...
A new $1 million relationship between Michigan State University and ExxonMobil will expand research in the fundamental science to advance algae-based fuels. Dr. David Kra...
Abigail Klein Leichman writes in ISRAEL21c that, in the rush to research algae-based technologies, Israel – as a startup nation itself – is at the forefront of much of th...
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates over 200 million people worldwide are exposed to arsenic concentrations in drinking water that exceed the guideline limit of...
The Green Friendship Bridge series examines a simple question: “What makes better sense, extending the border wall with Mexico 1,300 miles or taking 13 miles of fence inv...