Grant to Explore Algae as Fuel

A raceway pond used to cultivate microalgae (JanB46, en.wikipedia.org). 

A raceway pond used to cultivate microalgae (JanB46, en.wikipedia.org). 

     The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $5.2 million to the Marine Algae Industrialization Consortium. The consortium, led by principal investigator Zackary Johnson, Arthur P. Kaupe assistant professor of molecular biology in marine science at Duke University, aims to identify algal proteins that can be used in protein-based nutritional products in order to make algae farming more cost-efficient. 

     "The goal of the research is to drive down the cost of algae biofuel by increasing the values of proteins within algae," said Johnson. 

     And using algae as a food and fuel source has its benefits; it grows fast (populations can roughly double in a 24 hour period) and doesn't require fresh water.

     "A question that I often get is, 'will algae be the solution to our energy problems?' The answer is no, but it will be part of the solution," said Johnson. "I see wind, solar and biofuels as being part of the complete solution." 

     Check out the full article from the student-run Duke Chronicle here, or through the link available below.