Research

U of Delaware’s pollution-fighting algae

June 30, 2013, by Teresa Messmore
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Kathryn Coyne is growing algae in her lab that could help cut power plant emissions and serve as a base ingredient for biofuel.

University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment’s Kathryn Coyne is growing algae in her lab that could help cut power plant emissions and serve as a base ingredient for biofuel. Photo: Kathy Atkinson, University of Delaware.

New research at the University of Delaware has identified a hardy algae species showing promise in both reducing power plant pollution and making biofuel. The microscopic algae Heterosigma akashiwo grows rapidly on a gas mixture that has the same carbon dioxide and nitric oxide content as emissions released from a power plant.

“The algae thrive on the gas,” said Kathryn Coyne, associate professor of marine biosciences in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. “They grow twice as fast and the cells are much larger in size compared to when growing without gas treatment.”

Heterosigma akashiwo is found worldwide in the natural environment. Coyne, an expert in algal blooms, discovered that the species may have a special ability to neutralize nitric oxide – a harmful gas that poses threats to environmental and human health.

That characteristic prompted Coyne and her team to investigate whether the algae could grow on carbon dioxide without getting killed off by the high nitric oxide content in power plants’ flue gas, which had foiled similar attempts by other scientists using different types of algae.

A yearlong laboratory experiment showed that Heterosigma akashiwo not only tolerates flue gas, but flourishes in its presence. The algae also do not need any additional nitrogen sources beyond nitric oxide to grow, which could reduce costs for raising algae for biofuel production. The algae also make large amounts of carbohydrates, which can be converted into bioethanol.

Funded by the Delaware Sea Grant College Program, Coyne and her collaborator, Jennifer Stewart, plan to further study how changes in conditions can enhance the growth of Heterosigma akashiwo. So far, they found a large increase in carbohydrates when grown on flue gas compared to air. They also see correlations between the levels of light given to the algae and the quantity of carbohydrates and lipids present in the organisms.

The researchers are exploring opportunities for partnerships with companies to scale up the growth process and more closely examine Heterosigma akashiwo as a biofuel producer.

More Like This…

HOME Algae Industry Jobs

Copyright ©2010-2013 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission granted 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
As of March 1, 2015, bbi-biotech GmbH, of Berlin, Germany, has begun integrating IGV Biotech GmbH’s photobioreactors into its own life science product portfolio. A former...
Jeff Gelski writes in foodbusinessnews.net that algae oil is now in the toolbox of alternative oils shown to replace partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which cause trans...
Simris Alg, a pioneering agribusiness producing omega-3 from farmed algae, has been declared one of Sweden’s 33 hottest companies in new technology. The renowned list is ...
UC San Diego’s efforts to produce innovative and sustainable solutions to the world’s environmental problems have resulted in a partnership with the region’s surfing indu...
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...
Murdoch University researchers are investigating whether the effluent from piggeries can be effectively treated with micro- and macroalgae so that species of the organism...
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...
Rich McEachran writes in the Guardian that, in the process of surfacing a road, layers of asphalt – which is composed mostly of bitumen (a byproduct of crude oil distilla...
Using microalgae to capture CO2 is a complex process, especially in flue gas environments, reports an editorial by IEA Clean Coal Centre in worldcoal.com. There are many ...
Earthrise Nutritionals, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo, Japan’s DIC Corporation, is on schedule to complete construction in August, 2015, of a new extraction plant fo...
OriginClear Inc. and partner AlgEternal have announced that, based on AlgEternal’s field tests, they believe their pure algae concentrate, harvested with OriginClear tech...
Studies conducted by EnAlgae partners in Ireland, France and Belgium point the way to seaweed being a viable and sustainable feedstock for the future in North West Europe...
Algiran, an Iranian algal biotech company, has recently established a pilot scale algal cultivation demonstration facility at the Chabahar Free Zone, in the Baluchistan P...
Jessie Rack reports for NPR that demand for plant protein of all types is growing in concert with the growing interest in the U.S. to reduce meat consumption. People, fro...
Nitrogen and phosphate nutrients are among the biggest costs in cultivating algae for biofuels. Sandia National Laboratories molecular biologists Todd Lane and Ryan Davis...