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WMU Team Extracting Bioalcohols from Algae

November 24, 2011
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Ursula Zerilli reports in the Kalamazoo Gazette that Western Michigan University’s Bronco Biodiesel, a team created by WMU chemistry faculty members John Miller and Steve Bertman, is extracting bioalcohols from algae and converting them into ethanol and biobutanol. Their research found that carbohydrates in the algae were the most promising energy source, used as a feedstock for bioalcohols.

The algae used in the research is grown attached to a surface and harvested using Algal Turf ScrubberTM technology. “Essentially the process makes it easier to capture algae because it is grown as a ‘turf,’” said Miller. “Harvesting the algae is similar to mowing your lawn.”

Other partners in the algal project include The Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. Department of Energy, University of Arkansas, University of Maryland, College of William and Mary and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

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