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Universities of Georgia and Puerto Rico Researchers Unite for Algae Biofuels Project

Researchers at the University of Georgia (UGA) and University of Puerto Rico have come together to launch a renewable energy center to grow algae for biofuels. The center will be located in Rio Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico and it aims at reducing the dependence of U.S on fossil fuels.

US Department of Defense is funding the $ 4 million project. UGA will receive $ 1.2 million and the UPR will receive $ 2.8 million. According to Ryan Adolphson, UGA engineering outreach faculty, Puerto Rico is keen on this project, as it is an island completely dependent on imported energy and the center will help meet the energy demands of the Caribbean territory.

UGA researchers specialize in the thermochemical treatment of algae whereas UPR focuses on anaerobic digestion. In the Athens facility, UGA researchers will focus on the production of different strains of microalgae grown in wastewater. In Rio Piedras, the researchers will identify local strains of marine macroalgae that can produce maximum amounts of biogas. They will also culture algae and develop pilot-scale facilities that produce biogas and liquid transportation fuels from algae. The researchers will investigate the possibilities of recycling the waste materials produced by both the anaerobic and thermochemical conversion processes as high-nutrient fertilizers.

The project will use facilities of industrial partner Biolípidos de Puerto Rico for biodiesel production. Researchers at UGA and UPR will study the economic viability of algae biofuels and UGA will also help UPR in identifying potential industrial partners for future works.

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