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Project TitleUltracompact Photobioreactor for Efficient Biofuel Production
Track Code6147
Short Description

A compact, integrated photobioreactor was developed that, unlike conventional algae ponds, is expected to lead to increased areal efficiency of current photobioreactor systems while dramatically reducing water and energy consumption.

Abstract

A compact, integrated photobioreactor was developed that, unlike conventional algae ponds, is expected to lead to increased areal efficiency of current photobioreactor systems while dramatically reducing water and energy consumption.  Microalgae can be between 100 and 800 times more efficient in terms of oil yield per hectare than current biofuel crops. Unfortunately, the photobiorefineries that are used to produce microalgae have a series of well-documented weaknesses that limit their economic viability, including poor distribution of light within the reactor, low organism concentrations, high water and energy consumption, and inefficiencies associated with harvesting and product extraction.

 

This invention addresses the above limitations with a new type of photobioreactor that incorporates waveguides for the effective delivery of light, and porous fibers for delivery of chemical reactant (CO2) to promote algae growth and for product extraction. Furthermore, the new “optofluidic reactor” is designed to harness the natural process of photosynthesis by directly converting carbon dioxide to biofuels using blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), which are metabolically engineered to secrete valuable biofuel precursors. This has the advantage of eliminating the requirement to harvest and post-process algal biomass, which is one of the most energy and water demanding processes in biodiesel production.

 

Advantages

  • Increased area efficiency
  • Reduced water usage
  • Low energy consumption
 
Tagsalternative & green energy, biofuel, cleantech, Optics & Photonics, physical science
 
Posted DateOct 16, 2013 1:05 PM

Researcher

Name
David Erickson
Largus Angenent
Erica Jung
Michael Kalontarov
Devin Doud

Additional Information

Licensing Contact

Martin Teschl
mt439@cornell.edu
(607) 254-4454