Florida Tech explores microalgae for biofuel

April 26, 2007

Florida Tech Explores Microalgae for Biofuel MELBOURNE, FLA. -- Responding to the urgent need for alternative energy, Florida Tech Professor of Biological Science, Junda Lin, has received a $430,000 contract from Aurora Biofuels for large-scale production of microalgae. Successful microalgae production for fuel so far is in small-scale cultivation.

Lin will cultivate the energy source at the university's Vero Beach Marine Laboratory. His work is to test conditions that will optimize large-volume cultures of microalgae in outdoor, open settings. Cultures in outdoor systems are difficult due to the openness to light, temperature and potential contamination. Lin will manipulate dependent variables such as salinity, nutrient concentrations, pH and carbon dioxide to test optimum conditions for growth. "Alternative energy is desperately needed for sustaining the economy, national security and to respond to environmental concerns. Microalgae cultivation is an attractive alternative and the warm Florida climate makes large-scale production a possibility," said Lin.
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Aurora Biofuels is a California-based renewable energy company exploring new sources of biofuels, especially microalgae. Algae grow quickly, produce more bio-oil per acre than traditional biodiesel crops such as soy or canola and remove carbon dioxide from the air as it grows.

Florida Institute of Technology

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