The Buzz

MSU Using Baking Soda for Algae

November 11, 2010
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

From Dan Boyce at Montana State University comes word that researchers there have found a way to get four times as much biofuel from a given amount of algae by adding baking soda, a concentrated source of carbon dioxide, to the algae.

“Our grad student Rob Gardner has been investigating what we did 20 years ago,” said MSU Research Professor Emeritus in Microbiology, Keith Cooksey. Dr. Cooksey tried the same thing in the ’90s but said he “missed the timing.”

Gardner found the exact point in the growing process to add the baking soda after a year and a half of research. “It doubles the rate of production of oil,” Dr. Cooksey said. According to Gardner, not only does the process double the amount of oil that can be extracted from the algae, it grows the algae in half the previous time, producing four times as much fuel. “We fought this for a long time in trial and error, and finally stumbled across the right answer. That was a really good day.”

The University is applying for a patent on the method and is now searching for someone to license it. Dr. Cooksey researched algal biofuel 20 years ago and published more than 40 papers in the general area, but said the government eventually lost interest and withdrew its funding. The trend has reversed itself, however, and the field is now exploding.

Dr. Cooksey is now in demand for his expertise, but he is still miffed about the lost years. “It’s great, but it’s frustrating,” he said. “Why the hell didn’t we do this 20 years ago, because we would be where we’d like to be by now.”

Copyright ©2010 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.

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
Globally, an increase in water pollution is pushing scientists and environmental care specialists to seek best ways of preserving and maintaining sources of safe drinking...
Foodbev.com reports that French marine ingredients company Algaia will install a new specialty seaweed extract unit at its facility in Brittany, France, after securing €4...
Nature.com reports that swimming algae have been enlisted to carry drugs to individual cells, raising the prospect that such “microswimmers” could deliver targeted therap...
Alexander Richter reports for Geothermal Energy News that, among the many examples offered during a recent conference in Pisa, Italy, on Perspectives and Impact of the Gr...
Jessica D'Lima writes in AdvancedScienceNews.com that medicine is moving towards minimally invasive procedures, which have important patient-oriented benefits such as sho...
Environmental Technology magazine notes that the difficulty in predicting how algae blooms will develop lies in their variform nature. With a multitude of different bloom...
Jason Huffman writes in UndercurrentNews.com that the Kampachi Company, a mariculture business focused on expanding the environmentally sound production of sashimi-grade ...
Judith Lewis Mernit writes in e360.yale.edu that an experiment being conducted by animal science professor Ermias Kebreab at the University of California, Davis, is testi...
Julianna Photopoulos writes in Horizon EU Research and Innovation magazine that UK start-up Skipping Rocks Lab aims to use natural materials extracted from plants and sea...
Israeli-based Algatechnologies, Ltd. (Algatech), is teaming up with the Italian R&D company, Sphera Encapsulation S.r.l (Sphera), to develop innovative functional ingredi...
Trade Arabia reports that the Oman Centre for Marine Biotechnology (OCMB) recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Swedish Algae Factory to support the domestic...
At the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Science Nordic.com reports, researchers are investigating bioluminescent algae, to determine whether bioluminescent organism...