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Algae research facility at Easter Kentucky univ 2

 A new research facility at Eastern Kentucky University could help the state become a national leader in alternative fuel technology, according to Sixth District Congressman Ben Chandler.
Chandler was the keynote speaker Thursday at an official opening ceremony for the university's Center for Renewable and Alternative Fuel Technologies (CRAFT) facility, which is located across from Alumni Coliseum, next to EKU's Department of Agriculture.
The new facility features two large laboratories for biomass analysis and algae research, as well as a smaller lab for algae incubation and microbiology research. It also includes administrative offices and office space for researchers.
CRAFT incorporates the research of 10 research faculty, three full-time research assistants, four graduate assistants and as many as 12 undergraduate students from fields such as agriculture, biology, chemistry and economics.
One of CRAF's main focuses is the cellulosic-derived biofuel initiative, which converts biomass, such as switchgrass, into usable transportation fuels.
Sugars from the biomass can be fed to specialized algae that produce large quantities of oil for conversion to biodiesel and jet fuel.

All of us wake up in a country that depends on cheap oil from foreign countries that are located in regions of the world that can only be described as unstable, Chandler said. 
The $4-a-gallon gas prices we saw in 2008 could become the norm. Research being done here at Eastern could become critical to our nation?s security.
EKU and CRAFT are at the forefront of groundbreaking research that will allow Kentucky to prosper as a leader, he said.
We can create thousands of new jobs right here in Kentucky and those will be jobs that cannot be exported, Chandler said.
The CRAFT facility is a symbol of EKU?s devotion to the development of alternative energy, said Harry Moberly, EKU executive vice president for administration.
This effort we're making to make ourselves energy independent is of paramount importance to our country, Moberly said.   
EKU wants to be part of that opportunity. We recognize that is what the future is going to be about if we're going to be successful in creating jobs.
Kentucky's rich agriculture gives the state an advantage when it comes to developing alternative energy, said Rep. Rocky Adkins, 99th District.
We are an agriculture state and a coal state, he said. I think it is unbelievable what this field of energy can do for us.
Kentucky can use these advantages to attract energy companies while at the same time reduce dependency on foreign oil.
It is not acceptable for our U.S. military to be the single biggest user of foreign oil in the world, he said. We can do better, and today is proof of that. We can make sure that from this, we can grow a strong economy.
Ronica Shannon can be reached at rshannon@
richmondregister.com or 624-6608.
Mon November 01 2010 02:31:46 PM by Jacintha Easter Kentucky university  |  algae biofuel  |  dark fermentation 3122 views

Comments - 2

  • Duncan wrote:
    Mon November 01 2010 11:11:56 PM

    MRI launches algae research center
    By Anna Austin

    This is another research center set up recently.?

    Kansas-based Midwest Research Institute, an independent, non-profit, contract research organization has formed a new integrated algal research center, which will provide research and development, process engineering, consulting and lifecycle cost analysis services of algae and its uses to address energy and environmental challenges, primarily for biofuel purposes.

    The Center for Integrated Algal Research, located in Kansas City, Mo., will focus on research and technology developments associated with identifying and optimizing algal species for carbon dioxide uptake and biofuel production.

    Specific areas described by the MRI include the modification of algal species using molecular tools, developing and validating harvesting approaches, as well as devising and integrating processing technologies.

    An area that shows great promise regarding energy and the environment is the use of algae as both a mechanism for sequestering carbon dioxide emissions and as a viable source of biofuel, said Michael Helmstetter, MRI senior vice president and director of research operations.?

    In addition to the new facility, the MRI announced that Stanley Bull has been appointed director of energy programs, a newly created position at MRI. Previously Bull was associate director for science and technology at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and vice president of MRI.

    Bull has extensive experience in leading and managing research and development programs in renewable energy and energy efficiency. For more than 20 years he provided leadership for NREL's biofuels program, including the aquatic species program.

    The MRI recently confirmed biodiesel producer Green Star Products Inc.?s Montana Micronutrient Booster growth formula is capable of increasing the total biomass quantity in a harvest algae growth cycle by more than 100 percent.

    The test results, which were achieved by MRI Principal Scientist John Lednicky, demonstrate the same findings as a previous test conducted by Biotech Research Inc., a consortium partner of GSPI?s, at its lab facility at UABC University in Ensenada, Mexico.


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  • Duncan wrote:
    Mon November 01 2010 11:14:42 PM

    A new research facility at Eastern Kentucky University ?will help Kentucky lead the way in the development of new, alternative forms of energy,? Sixth District Congressman Ben Chandler said at dedication ceremonies for the Center for Renewable and Alternative Fuel Technologies (CRAFT).

    The event, on Oct. 28, celebrated a ?state-of-the-art? research facility that boasts two large laboratories for biomass analysis and algae research, as well as a smaller lab for algae incubation and microbiology research. Located adjacent to the Carter Building, home of EKU?s Department of Agriculture, the building also houses administrative officers and office space for researchers.

    Established in December 2008, CRAFT has grown from a concept into a viable research center dedicated to fostering interdisciplinary research to develop a regional biofuels industry. Two federal grants totaling $6 million from the Defense Logistics Agency are helping the Center research, developing and demonstrate technologies to break down biomass materials such as switchgrass into sugars useable by microorganisms that produce oil for biodiesel and JP8 jet fuel.

    Developing renewable energy resources is critical to our nation?s future, not only from an environmental standpoint, but also from an economic one,? Chandler said. ?I am thrilled to have been able to assist in getting this state-of-the-art research facility off the ground. It will truly represent a new way forward in renewable and sustainable energy, and it holds so much promise for EKU and the people of Kentucky.

    CRAFT incorporates the research of 10 research faculty, three full-time research assistants, four graduate assistants and as many as 12 undergraduate students from fields such as agriculture, biology, chemistry and economics. Additional students have been engaged through the incorporation of bio-energy concepts in course content.

    The building and the lab equipment are only as good as the faculty and researchers, Center Director Dr. Bruce Pratt said. Let me reassure you we have created a research team with the capabilities, creativity and vision to move the program forward.

    Calling the dedication a signature event in the history of Eastern Kentucky University,? State Rep. Harry Moberly, executive vice president for administration at EKU, said the building is a tangible symbol of our devotion to the development of energy alternatives. We?re on the frontier of an effort to make ourselves energy independent.

    The EKU initiative includes numerous partnerships with private industries, government agencies, local governments and other universities. Those partners include General Atomics, City of Winchester, Clark County, Madison County, Governor?s Office of Ag Policy, Kentucky Cabinet for Energy and Environment, Appalachian Regional Commission, University of Kentucky, Kentucky State University and Green Earth Biofuels of Irvine. Additional discussions have been held with LexTran (as an end user of the biodiesel), East Kentucky Power and Purdue University.

    This public-private partnership is an excellent thing for Kentucky, said 99th District State Rep. Rocky Adkins, House majority floor leader. This is a special day, not only for EKU but also the Commonwealth.

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