WSU Accelerates Algae Growth With New Research

July, 24 / 2017

One Pacific Northwest university is doing their best to innovate the algae industry. According to a Washington State University article by Tina Hilding, the school has developed a new method to grow algae more efficiently, taking only days instead of weeks.

Saving Time and Money

By accelerating growth rates, WSU’s research aims to open up the uses of algae to more industries. The research, led by graduate student Sandra Rincon and her professor Haluk Beyenal, created a “unique biofilm reactor that recycles gasses and uses less water and lower light than typical reactors. The algae produced was full of the fats that make it suitable for biodiesel production and ‘fatter’ than other biofilm reactors have produced. Because of a removable membrane, it was also easier to harvest than typical systems.”

The innovation doesn’t stop there, as the system also allows the algae to feed off of unsavory byproducts created during biodiesel production such as glycerol, as well as urea— a cheap chemical that provides the algae much-needed nitrogen.

Now, the researchers have applied to patent the technology and optimize the method.

Read more about the research at WSU’s news page.

Cutting edge research like this will be featured at the 2017 Algae Biomass Summit in Salt Lake City from October 29 through November 1. Make sure to sign up now, as the early bird rates expire on August 1.