SBIR Phase I:Magnetic technologies for improved microalgal biofuels production
National Science Foundation
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51 Alpha Park, Highland Heights, OH, 44143
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AbstractThis SBIR Phase I project will develop a system for magnetic separation from growth media and cell disruption of algae to improve the efficiency of harvesting algae for bio-fuels production. The use of magnetic technologies has the potential to improve the energy efficiency of removing algae from growth media. The use of a magnetic separation technology introduces an energy efficient means by which algae can be dewatered and converted into bio-fuels in an integrated bio-refinery. Using algal strains modified to overproduce ferritin (a magnetically susceptible bio-particle) enables the removal of algae from contaminating biomass as well. The broader/commercial impact of the project will be magnetic harvesting and dewatering of algal product which could lead to higher efficiencies of oil production. This will enable the use of low cost open pond culturing systems for the production of biofuels using microalgae. The development of technologies using magnetically responsive algae (either direct, or through association with magnetically responsive particles) to either separate them from growth media and contaminants or to induce cell lysis and aide in oil extraction. The project targets the two highest cost factors in algal oil production, namely dewatering and extraction. As such, advances in these two areas can drive algal based biofuels technology to be cost competitive with petroleum sources.
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