Sandia researchers are seeking an economical conversion of whole turf algae to biofuels by addressing current challenges including:
- Maximizing fuel production for all the non-ash biomass constituents (proteins, carbohydrates and lipids)
- Reducing the ash content of the produced and harvested biomass
- Increasing the overall biomass productivity for higher yields
- Techno-economics of integrated systems at scale
Sandia, in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, HydroMentia, and Texas A&M/Corpus Christi is pursuing the affordable, scalable and sustainable production of biofuels from benthic algal polyculture turf biomass. The highly productive, easily harvested and dewatered algae is a promising new alternative approach for achieving higher and more reliable biofuel productivity at reduced costs. Infrastructure and operations also resemble conventional open field agriculture allowing for the use of mechanical farm equipment that reduces the energy input required for harvesting and dewatering.
In comparison to monoculture planktonic algae, grown in open pond raceways, the infrastructure and operations of polyculture turf algae resemble conventional open field agriculture, allowing for the use of mechanical farm equipment that reduces the energy output required for harvesting and dewatering.
The production and conversion of whole turf algae polyculture maximizes fuels, chemicals and nutrients.
Using technologies developed by the Smithsonian Institution and licensed by HydroMentia, Sandia is developing a dual use model that impacts water purification and energy generation.