Bigelow Lab marine algae accelerator to break ground

[USA] Groundbreaking will begin this spring and early summer on a roughly 3,000-square-foot pilot-scale production greenhouse, called the Maine Algal Research and Innovation Accelerator, on the East Boothbay campus of the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences.

The Boothbay Register reports that the Maine Technology Institute provided $5,000 in seed money for research that provided the basis for constructing the facility. The Maine Community Foundation’s Farms, Fisheries and Food Fund subsequently awarded a $300,000 loan for construction, supplemented by a federal grant of about $100,000.

The facility will grow algae to explore new commercial algal-based products and develop universal algal standards.

“My hope is that the greenhouse will serve as a flywheel that drives innovation. It will accelerate the process of taking ideas for natural products created using micro and macro algae and turning them into concepts,” Mike Lomas, Director of the National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota at Bigelow Laboratory, told the Register.

In recent months, Bigelow Lab also received a $3.1 million award from the Harold Alfond Foundation to build a 15,000-square-foot, 32-bed student and visiting scientist residence on its East Boothbay campus. An anonymous donor matched the award.

Bigelow Lab also launched two new centers for venture research that will apply business and project management techniques to its ocean-related research projects to get them into public use more quickly. One center will focus on research in the Arctic while the other will specialize in seafood security.


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