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Algae biofuel centre

The Arizona Center for Algae Technologies and Innovations was announced Tuesday morning to push research at ASU's Polytechnic campus in the East Valley and throughout the state.

There are only two or three such algae development centers, putting Arizona at the forefront of the biofuels industry, said Rick Shangraw, senior vice president for the office of knowledge enterprise development at ASU.

The grant, which will be spread over two years, will help AzCATI get established and serve as a statewide launching pad for commercial applications for algae research, which is going on at both ASU and the University of Arizona in Tucson.

ASU received $6 million in July as part of a U.S. Department of Energy program to help develop algae-based biofuels. The university's Lightworks, which encompasses everything from solar to algae-based biofuels, already has several programs.
 Milton Sommerfeld and Qiang Hu, for example, are working on biofuels and spinning that technology off for commercial use.

The University of Arizona has been working on its own programs for developing algae-based biofuels, operating on $2.4 million from the DOE and the National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts.

Algae is seen as a possible source for producing fuel instead of petroleum reserves or traditional biofuel feedstocks such as corn. Algae produces oil as a byproduct of its photosynthesis production, which can be refined as fuel.
One company, Heliae Development LLC, has licensed technology developed by Sommerfeld and Hu and is looking at producing jet fuel from algae on a large scale.
That kind of partnership is what SFAz is hoping to create with the new center. SFAz has been funding algae-based research since 2007. 
With the new the AzCATI grant, it has committed more than $5.5 million to the effort, said Gary Greenburg, vice president of research for the group.
"The advantage of a center is it allows them to expand into other areas from a fuel base," he said.




Shangraw sees the center as presenting another opportunity for Arizona to get into renewable energy. The state already has a dozen or more companies that are focusing on commercialization of algae-based fuels.


Arizona State University and Science Foundation Arizona are using a $2 million grant create a algae development center, which gives the state an edge in the growing biofuel industry.
Fri October 01 2010 09:31:21 AM by Pitts algae biofuel research  |  aSU  |  Gary greenburg  |  1246 views
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