SBIR Phase I:Application of Pulsed Electric Fields to the Extraction of Oil From Algae
This SBIR Phase I project will develop a device for pretreatment of algal cells with a pulsed electric field to facilitate oil extraction. The innovation is the optimization of a pulsed electric field to an algal culture. The main activities of the Phase 1 project will be to develop the pulsed electric field device, optimize the parameters, and assess cost effectiveness. The long term goal is to integrate the optimized pulsed electric field system with the algal bio-fuel industry.
The broader/commercial impact of the project will be that successful development of the proposed pulsed electric field system and its integration with the algal bio-fuel system will have a positive impact on the algae-derived bio-fuel industry, if proven cost effective. The benefits of PEF processing in biofuel production are simple and straightforward. If PEF pretreatment can reduce the costs of producing biofuels, these renewable energy sources become more competitive with petroleum products. The resulting increased demand for biofuels reduces the demand for imported oil, and keeps energy dollars in the US economy. As the oil price spike last summer demonstrated, adoption of alternative, renewable fuels will happen extremely rapidly once they are less costly than oil.
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