SBIR Phase I:Physics Based Modeling, Design, and Optimization of Microalgae Growth Systems

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1013939
Agency Tracking Number: 1013939
Amount: $149,994.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: BC
Solicitation Number: NSF 09-609
Solicitation Year: 2010
Award Year: 2010
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
DUNS: 185169620
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Ashok Gidwani
 (256) 726-4800
Business Contact
 Ashok Gidwani
Title: PhD
Phone: (256) 726-4800
Research Institution
This SBIR Phase I project will develop software for comprehensive evaluation of algal production systems. Standard models from literature for fluid flow (mass, turbulence, momentum), energy, light distribution, photosynthesis, algae growth and concentration, gas transfer, and heat transfer will be incorporated into the software. The innovative component of this proposal is the integration of existing models into one software package for analysis of algal systems. The broader/commercial impact of the project will be to provide a model based performance prediction tool for evaluation of potential algal production system designs. Algae based biofuels can increase national energy independence and security by reducing the dependence on foreign oil and also result in reduced global green house gas emissions (because algae consume CO2 during growth). The production and use of algae based biofuels has been proven and tested, however, the problem is that the production costs for algae oil are too high. Open ponds are the least expensive way to grow algae but suffer from contamination and control issues. Closed photobioreactors are the most productive and best controlled but are costly to design, manufacture, and operate. This project will produce the computational tools necessary to have early stage impact on the design and development of open pond or photobioreactor based algae growth systems.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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