We are working to solve the greatest challenges to civilization in human history: warming due to an increase of heat-trapping gasses in the atmosphere and ocean acidification. The technologies we develop will not solve the problem during our lifetime; however, they are essential to implementing a global infrastructure to solve the problem before the end of the 21st century. While finding a solution to the global climate change problem, we are also addressing important societal issues including energy, food, and freshwater security.
impact statement issue
Society needs an alternative to fossil fuels, and we are pursuing the most viable biofuel alternative: marine algae. In comparison with biofuels from terrestrial energy crops, our process: does not require addition of freshwater, is much more efficient with nutrients, does not require good agricultural land, and is an order of magnitude more productive per hectare.
impact statement response
We have developed a pilot scale facility and are at the forefront of this area of research, reporting the highest productivities of any group funded by the DOE. We are now planning and seeking support to construct a multi-hundred million dollar commercial facility.
impact statement summary
We are developing algal bioenergy as both an alternative to fossil fuels and a source of energy for powering systems that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, thus reducing the concentrations of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere and decreasing ocean acidification. We are also investigating protein by-products as potential nutritional supplement in animal feeds. In tis regard, our findings indicate that algae can meet much of the global protein demand by mid-century. Algae are likely to be the basis for the next revolution in global agriculture.