By reconfiguring a device her lab originally developed for use with bacteria, Lin should be able to screen more than a million algal species combinations. A $60,000 grant from MCubed, U-M's one-of-a-kind seed grant program, funded a collaboration between Lin and Cardinale that yielded vital preliminary data that was included in the National Science Foundation proposal.
"If, as we propose, it is possible to engineer naturally diverse communities of algae to enhance the efficiency, yield and stability of yields, then the development of multispecies photosynthetic biorefineries would indeed represent a 'win-win' scenario for biodiversity conservation and energy production in the next century," Lin said.
UC-Santa Barbara's Oakley is an evolutionary biologist who analyzes differences in gene expression among species, and the functional differences that result. He will lead the effort to use high-throughput sequencing technologies to quantify every expressed gene in the various algal combinations. That will enable the researchers to determine how the production of biocrude correlates with the expression of any known gene.
The four-year project will culminate in a conceptual design followed by a life-cycle assessment. The conceptual design will examine all aspects of a multispecies algal biorefinery, from algae cultivation to biocrude production. It will determine the size needed for the facility and will estimate the capital and operating costs, which in turn will show the conditions required to make the biorefinery profitable.
The life-cycle assessment will measure the various environmental impacts attributable to all act
|Contact: Jim Erickson|
University of Michigan