[ad#PhycoBiosciences AIM Interview]

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
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...
Glass tubing manufacturer SCHOTT, and Algatechnologies Ltd. (Algatech), a commercial algae producer and one of the largest manufacturers of natural astaxanthin, have part...
Tel Aviv, Israel-based UniVerve Ltd. has begun scaling-up its technological process for algae cultivation. The oil, which can be extracted with off-the-shelf wet extracti...
The Chesapeake Bay Seed Capital Fund, located in College Park, Maryland, has invested $150,000 into Manta Biofuel LLC, a company that produces crude oil from algae at a c...
The Technical University of Munich (TUM) has built a one-of-a-kind technical facility for algae cultivation at the Ludwig Bölkow Campus in Ottobrunn, to the south of Muni...
The Symbiosis Center in Denmark is exploring the industrial potential of microalgae, reports EUobserver's Regional Focus magazine. Using CO2 and light to produce valuable...
Bloomberg reports that ANA Holdings Inc., Japan’s largest airline, plans to use a Euglena Co. biofuel made from algae. ANA will use a mix of about 10 percent of the algae...
Algae producers moving from pilot to commercial applications require quick adaptation to algae harvesting capacity of hundreds and even thousands of cubic meters per day....
Algae.Tec has announced that it has completed the commissioning and initial startup of an algae production plant to produce algae-based nutraceutical products. The plant ...
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 new algae raceway testing facility, opening February 4 at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, California, paves a direct path between laboratory research and s...
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...