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Blogs under tag Algae Research

Latest Researches on Botryococcus braunii Posted by Mathumitha on Wed April 28 2010 03:43:48 AM 41

Botryococcus is a genus of green algae. Botryococcus braunii species has gained lots of interest among the scientific community and biofuel industries due to its ability to synthesize and accumulate huge amount of lipids. Many researches had demonstrated that the biodiesel produced using the oil extracted from these microalgae is identical to diesel fuel. I have summarized some of the latest algae biofuel researches using Botryococcus braunii.

Researchers at Tsukuba University, Japan, have studied the oil yield of algae using Botryococcus algae. They have found that Botryococcus can produce fuel that is almost identical to diesel. They have achieved a production target of 1,000 metric tons per hectare a year in a laboratory experiment. They have planned to reproduce that outcome at a 1.5 billion-yen ($16 million) open-air pilot project starting in September, 2010.

Korean researchers have done a project on "selection of microalgae for lipid production under high levels carbon dioxide" using Botryococcus braunii, Chlorella vulgaris, and Scenedesmus sp. The results of the project suggested that Scenedesmus sp. is appropriate for mitigating CO2, due to its high biomass productivity and C-fixation ability, whereas B. braunii is appropriate for producing biodiesel, due to its high lipid content and oleic acid proportion (nearly 55%).

University of Bologna, Italy, had proposed a new procedure to extract hydrocarbons from dried and water-suspended samples of the microalga Botryococcus braunii by using switchable-polarity solvents (SPS) based on 1,8-diazabicyclo-[5.4.0]-undec-7-ene (DBU) and an alcohol. The high affinity of the non-ionic form of DBU/alcohol SPS towards non-polar compounds was exploited to extract hydrocarbons from algae, while the ionic character of the DBU-alkyl carbonate form, obtained by the addition of CO2, was used to recover hydrocarbons from the SPS. DBU/alcohol exhibited the highest yields of extracted hydrocarbons from both freeze-dried and liquid algal samples (16% and 8.2% respectively against 7.8% and 5.6% with n-hexane).

Genetically Engineered Algae for Biodiesel Production Posted by Mathumitha on Mon April 19 2010 02:57:15 AM 4

Researchers at the Purdue School of Chemical Engineering along with Iowa State University got a federal fund recently to create genetically engineered algae that would produce environment- friendly biodiesel.The researchers are growing algae in a ?bioreactor' to study specific pathways that would lead to lipid storage. Accumulated lipids will be turned into biodiesel later.

The researchers planned to create a flux map (a method to study Steady-state metabolic flux analysis (MFA)) that would reveal the speed of reactions along many ?metabolic pathways' inside the algae. The researchers will also be developing algae that thrive in higher temperatures which natural algae cannot tolerate, for decontamination purposes. In addition, studies on ?carbon assimilation' which will lead to lipid storage will be conducted.

See the story for details at http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/100413MorganAlgae.html

Stanford Researchers Produce Electricity from Green Algae Posted by Mathumitha on Mon April 19 2010 02:49:37 AM 2

On April 13, Stanford University, California announced that its scientists have generated electricity from green algae in an environmentally friendly process.The study was conducted by WonHyoung Ryu in the lab of Professor Fritz Prinz. The researchers hope that one day this clean method of producing energy could replace the burning of fossil fuels.

The technology behind this invention involves trapping the algal cells with very thin gold needles--on the order of nanometer thickness (one-millionth of a millimeter). The cell membranes of the algae simply close around the gold needles. The algae produces electricity via photosynthesis, and the gold needles transmits the electricity to an external device that records the electricity.

Though the electricity generation from algae seems interesting, there is a long way to go before algae can replace fossil fuels. The research hasn?t satisfied the expectation for algae as an effective replacement for fossil fuels. The algae produced a miniscule amount of electricity--one picoampere per cell per hour. To put that in perspective, you would need a trillion cells in an hour just to produce the energy equivalent to one double-A battery. Therefore, the scientists need to generate more electricity in less time. Furthermore, the algae died shortly after the experiment, so scientists need to figure out how to generate electricity continuously without killing the algae.

Note: You can read the formal scientific paper in the March issue of Nano Letters.

See more: http://www.examiner.com/x-44013-Science-News-Examiner~y2010m4d14-Stanford-Researchers-Produce-Electricity-from-Green-Algae