NCMA Algae Tips
Click here for more information about Liqofluxphenometrics515R1
Visit!Commercial Algae Professionals Check out more of The Buzz spacer

SFCC receives $50K grant for algae PBR monitoring

May 14, 2014

At SFCC’s Center of Excellence in Biofuels, students learn how to cultivate algal biomass, and operate and maintain large PBRs.

At SFCC’s Center of Excellence in Biofuels, students learn how to cultivate algal biomass, and operate and maintain large PBRs.

Santa Fe Community College has been awarded a $50,000, SEED Infrastructure Grant from the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), for commercial algae photo-bioreactor monitoring. It will fund the purchase of state-of-the-art sensors to monitor algae growth in photobioreactors (PBRs) that are up to 10,000 liters in volume. A portion of the grant will be used to pay stipends to four students as they learn to cultivate algae at a commercial scale and analyze collected data.

Speaking of the funding to purchase the special sensors to monitor algae growth in photobioreactors, Luke Spangenburg, SFCC’s Director of the Center of Excellent in Biofuels said, “This technology will improve the curriculum as well as enhance the student experience. One of our goals is to transform the narrowly-defined AAS degree in Sustainable Technology into a broader Associate of Science degree that will transfer to the University of New Mexico or New Mexico State University which offer complementary programs.”

“The Biofuels program has been referred to as ‘stealth-STEM,’ ” continued Spangenburg. “We let highly motivated students start the program, and then discover that math and science are integral to their success. Biofuels students change from ‘I hate science’ to ‘Should I take chemistry or biology first?’ in a short time.”

Dr. Stephen M. Gomez, a biology instructor at SFCC, said the new funding for stipends demonstrates to students that working in STEM fields can provide a paycheck and help with financial difficulties in school. “Sometimes a few hundred dollars is the difference between a good student completing their program or leaving school,” he said. “SFCC is waiving all indirect costs and faculty salary permitted in the grant in order to maximize the amount of money available for student stipends.”

SFCC operates the largest enclosed photobioreactors in New Mexico as part of its Center of Excellence in Biofuels. At the center, students learn how to cultivate algal biomass, and operate and maintain large PBRs. Since its founding in 2010, 95 students have enrolled in the program, 9 have continued on to STEM fields at a four-year university, 5 have been employed in the biofuel/algae industry and 7 have created businesses employing 22 people in the Santa Fe region.

NM EPSCoR is funded by the National Science Foundation to build the state’s capacity to conduct scientific research. For more information on the college’s project, contact Stephen M. Gómez, Ph.D., at 505-428-1917 or or Luke Spangenburg at 505-428-1807 or More details on the college’s Biofuels Program are at

More Buzz…

HOME A.I.M. Archives

Copyright ©2010-2015 All rights reserved. Permission granted to reprint this article in its entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact 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
Nevele, Belgium-based TomAlgae is developing freeze-dried microalgae for feed in shrimp hatcheries. The company has created its own microalgal “cultivar” and manufactures...
Flint Michigan’s water supply was switched from Lake Huron to the Flint River in 2014. The Flint is so notoriously dirty that some locals call it the Filth River. The cha...
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...
The Consortium for Algal Biofuel Commercialization (CAB-Comm), led by the University of California, San Diego, has just released its final report, detailing the many acco...
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) fortified eggs are developing quite a demand among middle and upper-class consumers in China. With clinical trials demonstrating that EPA can ...
Tafline Laylin writes for about the elegant solution that Romanian designer Alexandru Predonu has conceived that uses solar energy to power a rotating desal...