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Scripps, UCSD algae biofuel programs rated top in US by DOE

April 11th, 2014 | 1 Comment | Posted in Algae-Biodiesel, Algae-Fuel-Research, Research

Fossil fuel use, even with the environmental and economic security challenges it poses, remains the dominant source of energy in the U.S. But its 80-percent share of the energy supply could be diminished in as little as five years. Scripps Institution of Oceanography and UC San Diego are taking the lead in developing an energy source that has the potential to be both cheaper and cleaner than fossil fuels: algae biofuels.

A new report issued by the U.S. DOE ranked algal biofuels research programs at UC San Diego as the two best in the country. A program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography was rated the best in the nation. Mark Hildebrand and his team in the Marine Biology Research Division at Scripps Institution of Oceanography received the top honor from among 28 algae technology groups for criteria that included technical progress, project relevance, and potential commercial applications. The report specifically cited the lab’s outstanding research in the genetic manipulation of algae to improve the yield of key components for biofuel production. Another UC San Diego research group, the UC San Diego Consortium for Algae Biofuel Commercialization (CAB-Comm), led by UC San Diego molecular biologist Stephen Mayfield, was recognized by the DOE as the No. 2-ranked research program.

As marine biologists, Hildebrand and his team have a unique perspective on algae biofuel production. Most scientists developing algae biofuels use the green algae found in freshwater systems such as lakes and ponds, but Hildebrand’s group has found that diatoms, among the most prevalent oceanic algae, are uniquely suited to biofuel production. In particular, diatoms are a good system for scientists like Hildebrand who hope to use genetic tools to perfect algae biofuel production.

Source: http://www.biodieselmagazine.com/articles/46097/scripps-ucsd-algae-biofuel-programs-rated-top-in-us-by-doe

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