The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has awarded a $415,000 grant to a Florida Tech project for the production of biofuels and animal feed from microalgae. The University is collaborating with Aurora Biofuels Inc. of Alameda, CA., at Florida Tech’s Vero Beach Marine Laboratory.
Aurora will also provide $507,419 toward the project. The company began working with Florida Tech in 2007. The Florida Tech-Aurora Biofuels research focuses on developing biofuel with co-products to enhance animal feed as a means to improve the economics of the fuel-production process.
A key goal is to produce algae biomass with a high content of triglycerides suitable for conversion to biodiesel and with a high content of valuable omega-3 fatty acids and carotenoids, which can augment animal feeds.
We will work with Aurora to develop and test algal strains for their long-term outdoor production viability. We also want to harvest the alga by a low-cost sedimentation process for biofuel.—Junda Lin, Florida Tech director of the Institute for Marine Research
The researchers will enrich, isolate, screen and select algal strains with high oil content; test the performance of selected strains in outdoor ponds; demonstrate mass cultivation of the most promising strains; harvest the cells to yield a concentrated biomass content; and process the biomass to recover valuable co-products.
The new state grant is one of 12 awarded through a $25 million package of renewable energy grants funded by the Florida Legislature.