Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

Ecology Department Core Capability - Algae Green Tech

The Algae GreenTech research group of the Berkeley Lab Earth Sciences Division Ecology Department is developing technology that will lead to large-scale cultivation and harvesting of algae followed by its conversion to various biofuels. Many companies and research teams in the U.S. and abroad have recently entered the field of algae biofuels but with limited expertise and experience. Many rely on optimistic assumptions dating from the late 1980s. Our research team is developing some of the core capability that will be needed to overcome some of the current biological, technological, engineering, energy balance, and environmental contraints to commercial algae-based biofuel production. Current research projects include: (a) biotechnology to achieve high algal productivity, (b) improved engineering design of large algal mass culture systems, (c) harvesting of the algal biomass, and (d) algal biofuel production techniques. In addition to the biotechnological aspects, engineering, resource, economic, and regulatory issues are active areas of applied research.

Scientists and engineers
  • Nigel W.T. Quinn, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, LBNL, Ecology
    • Algal systems technology, reusable resources management
  • Christer G. Jansson, PhD, LBNL, Ecology
    • Plant and algal biochemistry, metabolic engineering, photosynthesis
  • Rolf J. Mehlhorn, PhD,  LBNL, Life Sciences
    • Algal biotechnology, oil recovery technology
  • Trent Northen, PhD,  LBNL, Life Sciences
    • Algal biochemistry, genomics, metabolomics
  • Cheryl Kerfeld, PhD, LBNL, Life Sciences; UCB Dept. of Plant and Microbial Biology
    • Cyanobacterial genomics, bioinformatics, structural biology, CO2 fixation
  • Tryg J. Lundquist, Ph.D., P.E., Cal Poly & LBNL, Ecology
    • Wastewater treatment, engineering practice
  • Ian Woertz, Cal Poly, Civil Engineering
    • Economic analysis, facility modeling
  • John R. Benemann, Ph.D., Benemann Associates
    • Algae biofuel research, technical evaluation
  • Robert Dibble, Ph.D., U.C. Berkeley, Mech. Eng.
    • Combustion, biofuels development, performance analysis

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