NREL bioreactor uncovers how to get maximum fuel from algae

[USA] A bioeractor designed to simulate climate precise climates is helping a team of scientists find ideal locations for farms to produce algae for fuel.

The Simulated Algal Growth Environment (SAGE) reactor, located at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s campus in Golden, Colo., so precisely controls light, temperature and delivery of carbon dioxide that it can mimic conditions anywhere. The research aims to help algae someday compete with renewable diesel, cellulosic ethanol and other petroleum alternatives as transportation fuel.

A team of scientists have nearly doubled the fuel from the same amount of biomass using the bioreactor, according to NREL.

Three so-called champion strains of algae grow in the bioreactor, which allows about five times the culture volume of other commercially available controlled-environment reactors, the NREL says.

The NREL is working with Arizona State University to study how these champion strains of algae convert sunlight into biomass, keep nutrients viable, and respond to light energy.


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