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Targeted Growth Increases Algae Oil Content by 400%; Partnering with UOP on Algal Biojet

Bioscience firm Targeted Growth (TGI) says it has developed a method to increase the lipid content of algae by approximately 400%, thereby increasing oil yield per acre and decreasing the cost of algae production.

TGI molecular biologists and their collaborators have identified and tested every active gene in sequenced cyanobacteria genomes and made breakthroughs in both adding new genes and manipulating their functions to create a high oil-yielding algae strain. The company has filed multiple patent applications on these innovations.

There’s no way that algae are sustainable as a feedstock for fuel or energy unless you can dramatically increase the yield per acre and optimize the strain for use as an energy source. Any type of modification requires intricate understanding of and experience with molecular biology as well as significant testing. Our decade of working at the molecular level on other photosynthetic organisms has given us a significant advantage in working with cyanobacteria.

—Tom Todaro, CEO of Targeted Growth

In addition to developing algae strains for use as a feedstock for conventional diesel, TGI is also testing algae’s ability to be converted to biojet fuel through a partnership with refining technology developer UOP LLC, a Honeywell company. UOP’s renewable jet fuel process technology has produced renewable fuels from various oil-based feedstocks, including algae, for use in three separate airplane test flights in the past year.

Targeted Growth’s expansion into algae is an extension of the company’s experience and success in agricultural bioscience. Its initial breakthrough came in the field of yield enhancement, when its scientists discovered a way to produce double-digit yield increases in certain row crops through regulating the cell division cycle. The company has since licensed this technology to a major seed company. In 2007, the company introduced a non-transgenic version of camelina sativa, an oilseed crop that grows in rotation with wheat. In January, 2009, a Japan Airlines Boeing 747 conducted a test flight powered in part by camelina oil processed into bio-jet fuel by UOP.

Comments

sulleny

Good. They should be aware that there are more players entering this field all the time. There are wide open areas for development in strain, reproductive process and extraction. And there is almost nobody working in ocean based algal farming we're aware of (tell me I'm wrong.)

ejj

Ocean based algae farming produces all kinds of leasing/royalty and permitting problems that don't exist on private land or even public (dry) land...probably one of the reasons why it's not being explored so much (or at all).

SJC

Exxon has started doing commercial ads on TV talking about their algae advances. People will see those ads and start to think that it is here now. They still have a long way to go yet before you can fill your tank with it.

sulleny

Better than nothing that Exxon is doing it - but hey, where's the kick for the little guy? Algae should be a great ticket for the entrepreneur. And don't they work out territory with fish farms? You got these huge salmon farms all over the place now - someone's figured out how to license the ocean for commerce.

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