Ohio Project Receives $4 Million for Algae Research
September 14, 2012
on Strunk reports that over the last two months, University of Toledo (UT) researchers have won $4 million in nationally competitive awards from the federal government to explore ways society can benefit from algae’s hunger for phosphorus-rich wastewater, such as that which grows on the shores of Lake Erie from agricultural waste runoff.
Last week, Dr. Sridhar Viamajala, assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering in UT’s College of Engineering, and his colleague Dr. Sasidhar Varanasi, UT professor of chemical and environmental engineering, were awarded $3 million by the U.S. Department of Energy. This is on top of a $1 million award from the National Science Foundation in July that they secured along with Dr. Kana Yamamoto, UT assistant professor of chemistry.
Viamajala said that UT is partnering with researchers at Montana State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on both grants. For the Department of Energy grant, the universities also are working with the city of Logan, Utah, and the private firm Advanced Algae Solution in Cleveland.
“Especially in northwest Ohio, any time you hear about algae, it is often about how the algae is disrupting the lives of residents and costing taxpayers money,” said Dr. Nagi Naganathan, dean of the UT College of Engineering. “Drs. Viamajala and Varanasi are championing technological innovations to use wastewater to skillfully manage a biological pest and create biofuel – a resource vital to the energy independence of this nation, while simultaneously improving the quality of life of our citizens.”