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2020 Techical Track Session Abstracts



Sessions listed in chronological order



Engineering & Analysis

Integrated BioRefinery Systems Towards Commerical and Economic Viability
14-Sep-20       10:00 a.m. CT

Tozser, Bela Ferenc
Envihorizont LLC&Envirosan DC&EABA

High Efficiency, Sustainable and Safe Bioindustrial Microalgae Cultivation Complexes for Circular Economical Sustainable  Multisectorial Development
 Béla Ferenc Tőzsér1, Bettina Szabó2, Marianna Percsics3

1 Envihorizont LLC & Envirosan DC, Szekszard. Hungary,

2 Envihorizont LLC, Szekszard. Hungary

3 University of Pécs, Faculty of Sciences, Pécs

Abstract:  Algae play an important role in modern economy as multifunctional options for increasing of high added value bioenergetical and biotechnological products in consumer friendly, environment- climate protection, natural resources management and circular bioeconomical   modes. Corresponding of the above needs the developed  integrated intensive industrial cultivation and biorefinery high efficiency, secure, sustainable system characterized by minimal land use, zero carbon emissions, low water footprint based  on circular bioeconomical criterions  with adaptability to specific geographical conditions and specific needs of products represent novel approaches for facilities, processes and products,  The aims of realization of above  kind of  facilities  fulfilling sustainability, smart energy and bio-economic conditions is in conformity of the UN, OECD, EU and several country-programs, SDGs and roadmaps (2030, 2050). This poster present  the steps of development of dynamic photocatalytic bioreactors and their integration in industrial complexes and biorefineries which can allows the sustainable production microalgae cultivation , bioenergy and biotechnological products manufacturing  for the multisectorial purposes as well as auxiliar activities. 

Drabold, Edward
Ohio University

Process Economics for Algal Carbon Capture with Novel Integration: Hydrothermal Carbonization
• Edward Drabold, Ohio University

• Kyle McGaughy, Florida Institute of Technology

• Joel Agner, Honda R&D Americas, Inc.

• Rick Johnson, Applied Environmental Solutions

• Dr. Toufiq Reza, Florida Institute of Technology

• Dr. David Bayless, Ohio University

Abstract: This work presents follow-up results from a public-private partnership between Honda R&D Americas Inc. and the Ohio Water Development Authority. The goal was to recycle CO2 emissions using an engineered algal system. Preliminary results were previously reported at the 2018 ABO summit. Additional analyses indicated that while the field results were promising, barriers remain to reaching the desired $100/ton CO2 target. Nutrient costs were identified as the most pressing barrier to economic carbon capture from industrial flue gas using algal systems.   To address the high cost of nutrients, hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) was investigated as a technique to produce a low-cost and readily available nutrient supply. HTC rapidly decomposes wet organic wastes under subcritical conditions (180-260 Celsius) into burnable char and a process liquid that is rich in soluble nutrients. Lab-scale research indicated that microalgae readily grow in media blended with HTC process water. Using the HTC and engineered algal system field results, a techno-economic analysis was performed to examine the costs of algal carbon capture with and without HTC integration using the Honda Marysville Ohio facility as the host site. The analysis included a small onsite power plant using HTC solids to provide electricity and CO2 for the algae system. TEA results indicated that HTC integration could decrease total operating costs by 17% and carbon capture costs by 11%. Additionally, results indicated the HTC system could contribute nearly 50% of key (C, P, N and electricity) cost inputs.   A poster presentation is intended to update the algal community on this research.

Cookson, Natalie
Quantitative BioSciences, Inc.

An Algae and Biomethane Co-production Facility
Michael Ferry, QBI

Abstract: As California faces increasing strains on both our limited water supplies and finite energy resources, the “farm of the future” will need to maximize its resources by setting up a fully integrated operation, which will clean its own water, grow its own animal feed, generate its own electricity and fuel, and produce valuable co-products that can be sold for additional revenue.  We are partnering with a dairy in Modesto, CA, which uses anaerobic digestion to produce biogas from their farm waste, and we are constructing an algae bioremediation and biofuel production plant that will employ a membrane-based biogas upgrading system to purify the biomethane into a low-carbon fuel and to redirect the carbon dioxide stream to high-rate algae ponds to enhance the biomass growth rate.  Capitalizing on this process, we will divert carbon into the growth of Spirulina for animal feed, which is 22 times more productive than soybean in terms of protein per acre, while also producing a high-value natural dye, phycocyanin.  Our system will use algae for several benefits:  1) to produce high-protein feed for livestock; 2) to remediate water by removing excess nutrients for improved crop irrigation; 3) to consume the carbon dioxide stream of the biogas for increased growth rate; and 4) and to produce a high value co-product that can be used to generate supplemental revenue.  The pilot-scale project is funded by the California Energy Commission and will produce 150,000 DGE of low carbon fuel (compressed biomethane) per year as well as 10,000 metric tons of high-protein feed per year.  We are also exploring the economic viability of phycocyanin production in this context.  We will present results from this pilot scale project as well as plans to scale up to a commercial operation. 

Oatley-Radcliffe, Darren
Swansea University

A Circular Economy Centered on Microalgae: Economic Commercial Scale Recycling of Industrial, Agricultural and Domestic Waste for a Sustainable Environment
Darren L. Oatley-Radcliffe1*, Andrew R. Barron1, Alla Silkina2 1 Energy Safety Research Institute, Swansea University, Bay Campus, Swansea, SA1 8EN, Wales, UK 2 Algae Wales Research Group, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK

Abstract: Algal technologies have offered a great deal of promise over the last decade or so and products derived from algal materials are now emerging in more plentiful numbers. The major drawback for algal technologies is usually cost of production. This is inherently linked to the fact that most producers focus on large scale cultivation of a single species for a single product. A biorefinery approach that increases the mass efficiency of the process to near 100% offers the availability of multiple products of differing value. In this way, all value from the algae can be realised generating a near zero waste sustainable process. This paper will highlight the technology used, typical yields, products generated, purity achieved, capital and operating costs of our demonstration facility at near commercial scale collocated at an industrial nickel refinery (Vale Europe Ltd., Clydach UK). The algal facility is capable of producing a protein rich extract, a lipid rich extract, and a carbohydrate rich extract all capable of being transformed into animal feeds and bulk chemicals. In addition, a range of high value pigments have been isolated at both food grade and further refined to analytical grade from Spirulina and Porphyridium species. The raw feedstock for the plant is obtained from waste materials from the nickel refinery and adjacent local businesses. Thus, in our synergistic process, we are generating a circular economy that creates value by recycling waste materials resulting in new products in a cost-effective and sustainable process.

Santos, Edgar
A4F – Algae for Future

ALGATEC Eco Business Park: Progress Towards Europe’s Largest Microalgae Biomass Production and Biorefining Facility in Integration with Neighboring Industrial Activities
Edgar Santos(1), Luís Costa(1), Manuel Gil Antunes(1), Vítor Verdelho(1), Nuno Coelho(1), Luís Vieira da Silva(2)  (1) A4F – Algae for Future, Campus do Lumiar, Estrada do Paço do Lumiar, Ed. E, R/C, 1649-038 Lisbon, Portugal

(2) LusoAmoreiras, S.A, Rua Eng. Clément Dumoulin, Business Park – Ed. P, 1⁰ Piso, 2625-106 Póvoa de Santa Iria, Portugal

Abstract: The ALGATEC Eco Business Park, promoted by A4F in collaboration with LusoAmoreiras and Solvay, envisions the installation of a 14.2 ha integrated platform with microalgae production, processing and biorefining units, in Portugal. The proximity to academia allows the development of a cluster to support entrepreneurs and investors in the process of knowledge-transfer between applied research, industrial production, product development and commercialization.

Several projects are being implemented or planned:

1) BIOFAT.PT – consequence of the FP7 project BIOFAT, this project targets the production of microalgae biomass and high added-value products (EPA, protein). The 10 ha unit, with 16,5 M€ investment and 8 M€/year estimated sales volume, focused during 2019 on deploying the cultivation production systems. The dedicated microalgae biorefinery has started the implementation phase.

2) Pagarete Microalgae Solutions – private investment on low-cost micro-farming unit for multi-species production for different applications with 1 year of continuous production.

3) ARA.Farm – demonstration project of pre-industrial production of the omega-6 PUFA, arachidonic acid for incorporation in infant formulas. Following early trials in 2018/19, the demonstration trials in cultivation and biorefining will initiate in 2020.

4) CoLAB BIOREF – recently founded Portuguese Collaborative Laboratory for Biorefineries with 19 partners, including A4F, Solvay, Galp and TAP, will have 1 of 4 locations at ALGATEC, dedicated to microalgae biorefining and integration with industrial activities.

5) Other opportunities relating to biorefining, fermentation, biofuels and integration with neighboring industries are under development.


Completing ALGATEC in 2020 will strengthen circular economy based on sustainable technological development in its environmental, economic and social aspects.




Cultivation Practices and Strategies
14-Sep-20       11:45 a.m. CT

McGowen, John
Arizona State University - AzCATI

The State of Technology: Demonstrating Year Over Year Improvement in Algae Biomass Productivity
John McGowen, Arizona State University Jessica Forrester, Arizona State University Madison Clar, Arizona State University Laura Marshal, Arizona Sate University

Abstract: The Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) has a long and successful history of funding an algae R&D portfolio driving progress towards affordable and renewable energy and co-products from algae biomass. A core capability established by BETO was the support of testbed facilities including those established under the Algae Testbed Public Private Partnership (ATP3) led by Arizona State University (ASU) and its Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (AzCATI). ATP3 established the experimental and operational framework to carry out long term cultivation trials to assess the State of Technology (SOT) for algal biomass productivity and conducted such trails thru the ending of the six year program in Spring 2018, and demonstrated steady progress increasing annual average biomass yields from 8.5 to 11.7 g/m2-day - a 38% increase from 2015 to 2018. Since the summer of 2018, the SOT framework established under ATP3 continues under another BETO funded lab-led consortium called DISCOVR "Development of Integrated Screening, Cultivar Optimization, and Verification Research." The DISCOVR team constitutes a powerful partnership among four of the DOE's seventeen national laboratories: Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (DISCOVR lead institution), and Sandia National Laboratories. With ASU's AzCATI, they have joined forces to investigate algae strains that could lead to sustainable and clean algal biofuel and continue to generate open and transparent cultivation data sets for use by the algae biotechnology R&D community. In this talk, we present the latest SOT results from DISCOVR with recent results from almost two full years of SOT cultivation under DISCOVR. With our recent advancements utilizing better cultivars verified thru DISCOVR's pipeline, better crop protection and improved operational conditions, the combined effect was a further improvement in annual average productivity and reliability, leading to a year over year improvement in annual productivity from the 2018 baseline of 11.7 g/m2-day (generated across a total of 219 cultivation days) to 15.9 g/m2-day (326 cultivation days) a 36% improvement for 2019. We are on track for similar gains for FY20 and will present on the latest full year results (Fall 2019 thru Summer 2020).

Spierling, Ruth
MicroBio Engineering

Large-scale Algal Cultivation Strategies for Value Added Animal Feeds
Ruth Spierling (1,2,3), Natasha Thomson (1), Jesse Conklin (1), John Benemann (1), Tryg Lundquist (1,2)  (1) MicroBio Engineering Inc (2) California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo  (3) University of Central Florida 

Abstract: For algal biomass to be cultivated inexpensively, recycled nutrients, water and CO2, must be used. Cultivation practices affect the composition and quality of the end products, biomass productivity, ease of harvesting and culture robustness. Robustness is indicated by the amount of time the algal cultures avoid predation, disease, and invasion by weed species. Eight 3.4-3.5 m2, and three 43 m2 raceway ponds, located at a coal-fired power plant in Orlando, Florida, were used to test the effect of hydraulic residence time (HRT) on areal productivity, culture composition and culture robustness. The ponds were operated in duplicate in semi-batch, batch and semi-continuous mode with 4-day HRTs, and semi-continuous with 2-day HRT. Ponds were inoculated with filamentous algal species, which can be easily harvested by simple screening. The cultures in the 2-day HRT ponds were of variable in culture composition, dominated by several filamentous algae, Hydrodictyon sp. Stigeoclonium sp., Vaucheria sp. and Botrydium sp. The 4-day HRT cultures were a dominated (>85%) by a single Oedogonium sp. The filamentous algae tended to accumulated in the ponds resulting in a large difference between HRT (hydraulic residence time) and SRT (solid retention times). Biomass productivity, measured as the total amount of biomass leaving the pond as mass of ash free dry weight (g AFDW)/m2-day, was highest for the shorter 2-day semi-continuous HRT ponds, at 9.2 ± 0.3 g/m2-day and just over half this (5.4 +± 0.3 g/m2-day) in the longer 4-day HRT ponds during late fall and into winter (11/2/19 - 12/29/19). SRTs in the 2-day and 4 day semi-continuous ponds were calculated at 5 and 25 days, respectively, by comparing in pond biomass AFDW to pond effluent AFDW. These results highlight the importance of dilution and solids retention on culture stability and productivity for filamentous algae production.

Yan, Hongxiang
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Real Time Ensemble Microalgae Growth Forecasting with Data Assimilation
Hongxiang Yan, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Mark S. Wigmosta, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Ning Sun, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Abstract: Accurate short-range (e.g., 7-day) microalgae growth forecasts will be beneficial for both production and harvesting of microalgae. This study developed an operational microalgae growth forecasting system with ensemble data assimilation (DA). The forecasting system was validated against observed Monoraphidium minutum 26B-AM growth at two outdoor pond cultures located in Mesa, Arizona, U.S. We first examined the relative roles of uncertainty in the meteorological forecast and initial conditions (i.e., algal concentration at the time of forecast) on the microalgae 7-day forecast and found initial conditions dominated the microalgae forecasting skill, suggesting the importance of implementing DA to improve initial condition characterization. To correct the systematic bias in biomass simulations, we developed a particle filter with bias estimation (PFBE) DA method to estimate biases and correct the model forecast. We found the DA forecasting system could improve the 7-day microalgae forecasting skill by about 85% on average compared to forecasts without DA. These results suggest the potential accuracy of biomass forecasts may be sufficient to inform real time operational decisions for commercial-scale microalgae production.

Burzell, Cynthia
Aequor, Inc.

Aequor Offers Analogs of Natural Chemicals that our Founder Discovered in the Ocean that can be Added to any Algae Production Systems to Boost Biomass of Common Algae Strains up to 40% in Half the Time.
Cynthia K. Burzell, Ph.D. - Founder and CSO of Aequor, Inc. holds a Ph.D. in Marine and Medical Microbiology and is a recognized authority in the development of “green” and sustainable alternatives to toxic biocides. She discovered and named a new genus and several new species of marine microbes that produce novel “green” chemicals that remove biofilm/fouling in minutes and prevent its formation for days. She discovered and patented a suite of synthesized analogs, for which she won awards TechAmerica Researcher of the Year, NASA’s iTech award, and other honors. She manages Aequor’s lab at JLabs-San Diego and pilot projects (currently with the DOE under the DISCOVR program and with a major oil and gas company). She creates the optimal formulation to overcome the challenges of profitable biomass production in the customers’ cultivation system. She offers subscription services for on-going antifouling and antimicrobial testing, as well and consulting and training.

Abstract: Aequor’s formulates its products using “green” chemical compounds approved under the EPA Toxic Substances Control Act as non-toxic and validated by the USDA and NASA as highly effective in surface cleaners and water treatments to remove bacterial biofilm in minutes and prevent its formation for days. Under DOE grants and awards and pilot projets with private companies, Aequor is consistently demonstrating system decontamination and antifouling of common algae strains in open ponds and bioreactors, notably eliminating “clumping,” which blocks light and prevents the availability of CO2 and nutrients, requires that the production system be shut down, the biomass harvested, and the system cleaned out, disinfected, and re-seeded for the next batch. By eliminating clumping, fouling, and bacterial contamination, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory validated that Aequor’s formulas increased algae biomass up to 40 percent in half the time.

This performance improves the profitability of algae cultivation, reducing the costs of labor, energy, downtime, need for additional engineered strains, equipment, enzymes, or accelerants. Aequor’s formulas also eliminate the need for antimicrobials in the cultivation process that persist and accumulate in some end-use products, incur costs for hazardous material protocols, and contribute to the emergence of antimicrobial resistant pathogens – the Superbugs.

Since microalgae biomass is rich in carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins, requires less water, land, labor and energy to cultivate and harvest than land-based agricultural feedstocks, and can be cultivated relatively inexpensively anywhere, including in the desert, in outdoor or indoor ponds or in bioreactors, it can become the feedstock of choice for sustainable biobased-products --biofuels, biofertilizers, fish and livestock feed, nutraceuticals, food, chemicals and plastics. With improved profitability, the algae industry can attract investments, create jobs, and scale up production to meet the global demands of the Bioeconomy.

Greene, Jonah
Colorado State University

Utilizing Dynamic Growth Modeling to Add Temporal and Regional Resolution to Techno-economic and Life-cycle Models of Microalgae Biofuel Systems
Jonah M. Greene(1) , Sam Compton(1) , Jason C. Quinn(1)*  (1) - Colorado State University

Abstract: There are many existing studies that examine the techno-economic performance and life cycle impacts of microalgae biofuel systems. Unfortunately, the majority limit the assessment to a specific growth architecture and processing technology resulting in a number of high-impact assumptions for the upstream and downstream processes and limitation in terms of comparing technologies. Furthermore, the assumptions made in these studies are often static, lacking any temporal or regional resolution. In an effort to quantify these important fluctuations in algae productivity and understand their impact on the final minimum fuel selling price of a given system, a dynamic growth model was constructed integrated with meteorological data and coupled with a detailed fuel conversion and upgrading model. The growth model tracks seven different heat fluxes on an hourly basis using TMY3 regional weather data and is capable of determining the hourly temperature and incident solar energy of an open raceway pond and the corresponding hourly algal productivity for 1019 locations across the United States. Furthermore, the growth model can be used to indicate when harvesting or freezing events occur, provide data on average harvesting concentrations, predict CO2 and nutrient consumption, and predict the amount of biomass that should be dried in the summer months to provide a constant year-round feed-rate to the conversion facility. Results from the integrated model show large variations between favorable and unfavorable cultivation locations. For example, production in Scottsdale, AZ results in an annual average productivity of 14 g m-2 day-1 corresponding to a biomass production cost of $760 per dry metric ton (DMT) and a minimum fuel selling price of $5.57 per gallon of gasoline equivalent (GGE). On the opposite end of the spectrum, production in Fargo, ND results in an annual average productivity of 5.4 g m-2 day-1, a biomass production cost of $1814 per DMT and a minimum fuel selling price of $12.73 per GGE. Results from the work include a heat map of the minimum fuel selling price and biomass production cost across the US on an annual average. Further, the work includes presenting results from determining operational days based on freezing, seasonal and regional variability and productivity deltas as a function of strain characteristics with these impacts on system costs.



Products & Markets

15-Sep-20       10:00 a.m. CT

Yarish, Charles
University of Connecticut

An Update on Common Garden Studies and Phenotypic Analyses for Selectively Bred Saccharina latissima sporophytes from New England for Food, Animal Feed and Biofuel
Charles Yarish1, Schery Umanzor1, Michael Marty-Rivera1, Simona Augyte1,5 David Bailey2, Mao Huang3, Jean Luc Jannink3,4, Scott Lindell2 1University of Connecticut, USA 2Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA 3USDA-ARS, NAA, USA 4Cornell University, Ithaca, USA 5 Symbrosia, INC, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740 USA

Abstract: Kelp aquaculture is an emerging industry in the western world, with growing interest in producing biomass for food, feeds, chemical compounds, and biofuels. As part of ARPA-E’s (DOE) MARINER program, our project is pursuing a selective breeding project to improve kelp strains suitable for large-scale farms in the offshore environment. To reach this goal, we have added to the UCONN germplasm collection of gametophyte cultures of kelp from the Northwest Atlantic, additional germplasm in 2018. We collected 216 reproductive Saccharina latissima sporophytes from 18 locations from two distinct regions in the northwest Atlantic Ocean: Southern New England (SNE) and the Gulf of Maine (GOM). Previous collections and ecophysiological work showed that there are distinct differences between The GOM and SNE populations over the latitudinal gradient. As part of this breeding program, our team has continued to isolate and vegetatively propagate over 700 clonal male and female gametophytes from 14 locations to produce enough biomass for the crossing design in the 2019-2020 field season. Two hundred gametophyte crosses (including self, within-location, and between-location crosses) were made for the 2018-2019 farm season in the GOM, from which we collected phenotypic data from over 2500 harvested (farmed?) sporophytes. We compared phenotypic traits between the initial collection of (wild?) parental sporophytes and farm-crossed sporophytes to determine if and to what extent phenotypical traits of the parents are expressed in the F1 offspring generation. Our main goals were to identify highly productive offspring derived from the gametophyte germplasm and the heritability of key phenotypic traits including blade, stipe and dry weight characteristics. The crossing efforts of the germplasm from the GOM during the 2019 harvest had a 75% success rate for producing sporophytes. Our data indicate differences in the viability and heritability between crosses during each of the field seasons for dry weight yield within and between populations from the GOM and SNE.  One of our goals is to develop methods to predict offspring (sporophyte) performance based upon genotype and breeding values of the parents (gametophytes). Ultimately, we will select sugar kelp for farm environments with improved composition for use as food and bioenergy feedstock.

Stekoll, Michael
University of Alaska

Scalable Coastal Kelp Farming in Alaska for Biofuel
Michael Stekoll, Juneau Center, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks Scott Lindell, Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Charles Yarish*, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut Hauke Kite-Powell, Marine Policy Center, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Clifford Goudey, C.A. Goudey & Associates  Loretta Roberson, Marine Biological Laboratory, University of Chicago Julie Decker, Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation Beau Perry, Blue Evolution David Bailey, Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Alf Pryor, Dead Humpy Creations Tobias Dewhurst, Maine Marine Composites

Abstract: The United States Department of Energy has a program designated MARINER (Macroalgae Research Inspiring Novel Energy Resources) under their ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy) Division. The MARINER program has funded several projects to assess the feasibility of large-scale offshore seaweed farms for eventual biofuel production with the goal of keeping the cost below $80 USD per dry metric tonne of kelp.   Our project’s goal is to look at how sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) could be grown in the Gulf of Alaska to reach that goal. There are three major aspects of the research: determining how to efficiently seed longlines with S. latissima, designing an economical outplanting structure and developing methods to efficiently harvest the product.   We have assembled a team of experts in seaweed aquaculture, marine engineers, economic modelers, and representatives from commercial seaweed farms. Farm system structures have been designed for Alaska oceanic conditions based around catenary arrays of longlines.   The first demonstration array was installed in Kodiak, Alaska in November 2019.  Lines were seeded with S. latissima and growth occurred over the winter and early spring.  Biomass (kg per meter) and other growth attributes will be assessed during harvest in the late spring of 2020.    In addition to developing the farm array, we are looking at enhanced methods to attach the plants to longlines apart from the standard method of releasing spores from fertile fronds onto cremona-like string. We are researching “direct seeding” on string and on longlines. With direct seeding, we initially mass culture male and female kelp gametophytes in the lab. At specific points in the life cycle, we apply the mixed cultures of gametophyte or juvenile sporophytes directly on the longline using various binders to help the plants adhere. This method will be especially useful for growing selected kelp strains that will be uniquely suited for the Gulf of Alaska.

Kite-Powell, Hauke
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Cost Drivers in Open-ocean Macro-algae Farming
Hauke Kite-Powell, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Abstract: Results from a techno-economic analysis of large-scale open-ocean farming of kelp and tropical seaweed suggest that it should be possible to aggregate harvested wet seaweed biomass at the farm gate at a cost point below $150 per dry tonne, using large arrays of horizontal grow ropes that are seeded/planted and harvested by mechanized vessels handling multiple lines at once.  Critical parameters to achieve low production cost include the biological performance of the crop, the length and spacing of individual grow ropes that can be sustained by the farm array structure, the performance of planting and harvesting machinery, and labor costs.  Operating paradigms are distinctly different for kelp farms, which typically have one harvest per year, and tropical seaweed farms where crops are harvested a replanted six to eight times per year.  To achieve costs below $100 per dry tonne, it will be necessary to further optimize crop biology (growth rates, dry content of harvested product) and reduce nursery cost for kelp seed string production.

Kraai, Joseph
Oregon State University

Intensified Cultivation of Clonal Shoot Tissues Derived from Two Red Macroalgae on Mesh Panels
Joseph Kraai, Oregon State University Chris Langdon, Oregon State University Gregory Rorrer, Oregon State University

Abstract: Macroalgae (seaweed) have significant potential for sustainable production of food, energy, and high-value chemical commodities. However, the scalability of traditional seaweed aquaculture suffers from high aeration requirements in land-based tumble cultivation, and labor-intensive manual inoculation processes for open water rope-line cultivation. The overall goal of this study was to develop a platform for simplified inoculation and intensified cultivation of red macroalgae clonal shoot tissues immobilized on modular algae panels. The growth of red macroalgae shoot tissues on panels could enable greater scalability by uncoupling aeration from mixing, and by simplification of the inoculation process. A pressurized inoculation device enabled the direct injection of red macroalgae plantlet shoot tissues onto 10 x 10 cm fiberglass mesh panels with controllable inoculation density. Highly-branched shoot tissues of the temperate red macroalga Gracilaria textorii self assembled onto 10 x 10 cm polypropylene mesh panels. Panels were vertically mounted on modular support frames and deployed in well-mixed tanks containing artificial seawater medium supplemented with a modified Guillard’s f/2 nutrient enrichment at 22 ˚C. The cultivation tank was equipped with overhead illumination, fine bubble aeration, and fed-batch nutrient addition. Plantlets were also grown in tumble culture control experiments. Ochtodes plantlets in tumbler and panel culture possessed nearly identical growth rates of 15% per day, and shoot tissues exhibited similar morphology and viability. Gracilaria shoot tissues proliferated on 10 cm panels at specific growth rates of 10-15% per day, leading to 20 g fresh weight per panel after 28 days. Findings from this study suggest the promise of macroalgae panel cultivation as a new platform for seaweed aquaculture with simplified inoculation and biomass intensification compared with traditional seaweed aquaculture techniques.

Huang , Mao
Cornell University

After Two Years of Breeding Sugar Kelp (Saccharina latissima), Where Should we be Heading Next?
Mao Huang1, Jean-Luc Jannink1,2,  Kelly Robbins1, Scott Lindell3, Charles Yarish4 , David Bailey3, Yaoguang Li4, Schery Umanzor4, Michael Marty-Rivera4   1Section on Plant Breeding and Genetics, School of Integrative Plant Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853 2United States Department of Agriculture - Agriculture Research Service, Ithaca, NY 14853 3Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543 4Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, Stamford CT 06901

Abstract: The domestication process of sugar kelp in northeast U.S. has been initiated via selective breeding for two years. In this study, we will 1) present our current efforts for sugar kelp breeding and 2) demonstrate how obstacles for accelerated genetic gain can be assessed using simulation approaches that inform resource allocation decisions in a breeding program. Approximately 216 wild sporophytes (SPs) were sampled from northern Gulf of Maine (GOM) to southern New England (SNE). Gametophytes (GPs) were obtained and over 600 unique crosses were made using SPs collected from different locations while respecting a natural geographic barrier separating GOM and SNE. The biphasic life cycle of kelp gives a great advantage in selective breeding as we can potentially select both on the SPs and GPs. However, several challenges exist, such as the amount of time it takes to complete a breeding cycle, the number of GPs that can be maintained in the lab, and whether or not positive selection could be conducted on farm tested SPs. Using the GOM population characteristics, we simulated a founder population of 800 individuals and evaluated the effects of overcoming these challenges in terms of accelerated gain. Our results showed that key factors to improve current genetic gain rely mainly on our ability to induce reproduction of the best farm-tested SPs, and to accelerate the clonal vegetative growth of released GPs so that enough GP biomass is ready for making crosses in the next growing season. If we are to overcome these challenges, we could improve genetic gain more than two-fold over 5 years. Future research should focus on conditions favorable for inducing spring and early summer reproduction, and increasing the amount of GP tissue available in time to make fall crosses.




Engineering & Analysis

Carbon as Pollutant and Critical Feedstock
15-Sep-20       11:45 a.m. CT

Eustance, Everett
Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology

Utilizing Membrane Carbonation with Synthetic Flue Gas and Biogas in Outdoor Raceways
Everett Eustance1, Sean Lai1, Justin Flory2, John McGowen3, Bruce Rittmann1 1Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, 85287 2Biodesign Center for Applied Structural Discovery, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, 85287 3Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation, Arizona State University, Mesa, AZ, 85212

Abstract: Increasing CO2 transfer and utilization efficiency in algal cultures is critical to reducing the minimum biomass selling price.  Membrane carbonation (MC) utilizes non-porous hollow fiber membranes for bubbleless transfer of CO2 into the culture media ensuring high transfer efficiency.  Previous research from our group has shown that with 100% CO2, the increase in carbon transfer efficiency and carbon utilization efficiency is up to 3-fold higher than sparging pure CO2.  The current work that will be presented will be updated research from current indoor trials and outdoor trials this summer at AzCATI for our existing DoE ECUAS funding.  Research is focused on extending the ability of MC to work with industrial gases that have various CO2 concentrations including flue gas (coal derived CO2 concentrations) and biogas. The premise behind utilizing biogas is to use algal growth to strip out CO2 and increasing the purity of the methane in biogas.  Abiotic indoor results show the ability to transfer greater than 90% of the CO2 into solution.  Outdoor trials will evaluate CO2 transfer and utilization efficiency and biomass productivity in 4-m2 raceways. Using mass flow controllers, CO2 sensors, and TOC analysis, the outdoor trials will close the mass balance and compare current sparging techniques at AzCATI with MC.

Beattie, Audrey
Colorado State University

Economic Evaluation of Multiple Carbon Delivery Technologies for Enhanced Algal Productivity
Audrey Beattie, Colorado State University  Al Darzins, Nano Gas Technologies, Inc.  Wim Vermaas, Arizona State University  David Nielsen, Arizona State University  Jason C. Quinn, Colorado State University

Abstract: Carbon dioxide is a primary feedstock for algal production, and the utilization of carbon dioxide has become an important sustainability target. Algal uptake of carbon dioxide is limited by utilization efficiency—the amount of carbon dioxide taken up compared to that which was supplied. While pathways toward higher utilization efficiency through both genetic and mechanical mechanisms are being explored, the economic feasibility of these solutions remains under-investigated. Techno-economic assessment is a critical tool that can be used to identify performance targets within the larger algal process such that technology adoption is optimized on a systems level. This work presents an algal cultivation system that directly compares nanobubbles, a novel carbon dioxide delivery system, with a traditional sparging system. The results of this work show a significant cost trade-off between carbon utilization and the cost associated with carbon dioxide delivery. On a per-metric-tonne-basis, the model has shown that the integration of nanobubble technology requires more energy for carbon dioxide delivery compared to a simple sparge system. Operating costs for the respective systems ranged from $13 to $30/MT, dependent on operating conditions, compared to $0.87/MT for a sparge system. These costs are predicated on a $0/MT cost for the carbon dioxide. The model predicts several cross-over points at which the operating cost of the nanobubble delivery system and sparging are equivalent, should there be a cost for carbon dioxide. Environmental trade-offs exist as well—increased utilization rates result in lower greenhouse gas emissions and higher carbon credits for the system. These economic and environmental impacts will be illustrated in context with the completed system assessment for several different scenarios, ultimately targeting a cost-effective system that also sees increased carbon sequestration rates. Future work includes a sensitivity analysis that will be performed to refine the model’s fidelity. Overall, this work highlights the importance of conducting feasibility studies, particularly economic and environmental assessments, concurrently with development of new processes.

Coleman, Andre
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

An Assessment of Next-Generation CO2 Capture, Transport, and Utilization for Algal Cultivation
Andre Coleman (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) Mark Wigmosta (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) Cindy Rakowski (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) Shon Zimmerman (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) Tao Fu (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) Timothy Seiple (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Abstract: The integrated use of industrial waste streams co-located with microalgae cultivation facilities has the potential to reduce operational costs, contribute to industry remediation, and help reduce the life cycle impacts of algal cultivation.  With an estimated 3.3 billion tons of CO2 emissions per year from facility-level point sources in the United States alone, there is significant potential for waste CO2 utilization. There are several promising next-generation carbon capture technologies in various stages of development and testing and include pre- and post-combustion methods using membranes, sorbents, solvents, and novel systems such as the oxy-fuel based Allam cycle. We use the PNNL Biomass Assessment Tool (BAT)  to conduct and compare next-generation point-source carbon capture technologies in CONUS-wide simulations of potential co-located open pond algal cultivation sites. This work builds on a CONUS-wide inventory and validation of point-source CO2 and temporal disaggregation of annual CO2 supply data to capture diurnal and intra-annual supply variations. These supply variations are explicitly considered in a carbon budgeting model that includes both the temporal CO2 supply and biophysically-based microalgae growth model to estimate demand. CO2 transport modeling from point-source to cultivation site is performed using a location-allocation/supply-demand model to economically route pipes from CO2 sources to pond targets and ensure the waste resource is used for the greatest benefit. The associated capture and transport economics and the associated biomass production potential for the various next-generation CO2 capture technologies will be summarized and compared.

Banerjee, Sudhanya
Argonne National Lab

Assessment of the Energy Use, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Water Stress Associated with Growing Algae Using High-Purity Carbon Dioxide Sources in the Midwest and Along the Gulf Coast of the United States
Sudhanya Banerjee - Systems Assessment Center, Energy Systems Division, Argonne National Laboratory

Longwen Ou - Systems Assessment Center, Energy Systems Division, Argonne National Laboratory

Hui Xu - Systems Assessment Center, Energy Systems Division, Argonne National Laboratory

André M. Coleman - Hydrology Technical Group, Earth Systems Science Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Hao Cai - Systems Assessment Center, Energy Systems Division, Argonne National Laboratory

Uisung Lee - Systems Assessment Center, Energy Systems Division, Argonne National Laboratory

Mark Wigmosta - Hydrology Technical Group, Earth Systems Science Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Troy Hawkins - Systems Assessment Center, Energy Systems Division, Argonne National Laboratory


Hydrology Technical Group, Earth Systems Sci

Abstract: High-purity carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from industrial sources provide an attractive opportunity for use in algae cultivation as they can be used directly following compression avoiding additional costly step [1]. Previous studies have shown that there exist significant high purity CO2 sources in the United States which can be further utilized for manufacturing of different products [2]. In this study, we provide a life cycle assessment of the energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and life cycle water consumption implications of using high-purity CO2 for freshwater microalgae cultivation in different regions of the U.S. Specifically, we consider the potential of using high-purity CO2 available from corn ethanol production in the Midwest for algae cultivation, and we provide a comparison to cases for growing microalgae near Gulf Coast industrial areas in Texas and Louisiana and in northern Florida. The Gulf Coast locations are primarily characterized by the availability of high-purity CO2 from ammonia production and steam methane reforming as well as high microalgae productivity, and northern Florida is identified as a suitable location in our previous study [3] owing to high algae productivity and low water stress. We find that while algae productivity in the Midwest can be comparable to the more southern locations during the summer months, decreased productivity in the winter and shoulder seasons has an adverse effect on all metrics for the Midwest locations. Algae farms in the Midwest are negatively impacted by lower utilization rates for their capital infrastructure. The quantitative results presented here help put the tradeoffs associated with the use of high-purity CO2 in these different locations in context to inform continued research and development into sustainable algae cultivation schemes.  Reference: 1. Somers, M. D.; Quinn, J. C., Sustainability of carbon delivery to an algal biorefinery: A techno-economic and life-cycle assessment. Journal of CO2 Utilization 2019, 30, 193-204. 2. Supekar, S. D.; Skerlos, S. J., Market-Driven Emissions from Recovery of Carbon dioxide Gas. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2014, 48 (24), 14615-14623. 3. Xu, H. et al., Balancing Water Sustainability and Productivity Objectives in Microalgae Cultivation: Siting Open Ponds by Considering Seasonal Water-Stress Impact Using AWARE-US. Environ. Sci. Technol. (Article ASAP)

Benemann, John
MicroBio Engineering Inc.

Microalgae Biomass Production for Utilization of CO2 and Mitigation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Tryg Lundquist, MicroBio Engineering Inc. and Cal Poly Ian Woertz, MicroBio Engineering Inc. Ruth Spierling, MicroBio Engineering Inc. Braden Crowe, MicroBio Engineering Inc. 

Abstract:  Microalgal cultivation processes for production of foods, feeds, fuels, fertilizers and other bioproducts and wastewater treatment are being considered for reducing CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions  [1]. Major differences between microalgae and higher plant cultivation include the potential for much higher productivities, higher content of major (N-P-K) and minor nutrients, and the challenge of harvesting such microscopic plants. Most critical, microalgal mass cultures, unlike higher plants, currently require fertilization with concentrated sources of CO2. As practically all of the C fixed into algal biomass will be re-emitted into the atmosphere in short order, algae processes do not sequester carbon. Their potential for CO2 emissions reductions must thus be based on comparisons with current technologies for the production of competing products, such as biofuels or animal feeds, or in wastewater treatment. Further, due to economic limitations to flue gas transport (3 to 12 % CO2), as well as highly variable diurnal and seasonal CO2 utilization and limited land and water availability near most CO2 sources, only a small fraction of waste CO2 emissions will be directly utilizable for microalgae biomass production. However, for long-distance transport, flue gas CO2 capture by chemical processes would greatly increase the costs of flue gas utilization. More concentrated sources of CO2 from refineries, fertilizer, chemical plants and fermentation processes are available, but are limited relative to the quantities required for commodity production. To maximize the potential for algae biomass production and CO2 utilization, direct capture of CO2 from air will be required. This could be accomplished with the algal cultivation process itself in large open-raceway ponds, through chemical and biological enhancements of CO2 transfer into algal cultures. The relative productivities, economics, greenhouse gas balances, and resource potentials of these alternative CO2 sources for large-scale production of microalgae will be reviewed.   [1] Benemann, J., Woertz, I., Lundquist, T. (2018). Autotrophic Microalgae Biomass Production: From Niche Markets to Commodities. Industrial Biotechnology, 14, 3-10



Predators and Parasites: Controlling and Tracking Culture Health and Crashes
16-Sep-20       10:00 a.m. CT

Kempkes, Michael
Diversified Technologies, Inc.

Controlling Algal Predators in Open Raceway Ponds Using Pulsed Electric Fields
Michael Kempkes*, Ian Roth, Diversified Technologies, Inc., Bedford, MA, USA Henri Gerken*, John McGowen*, Arizona State University, AzCATI, Mesa, AZ, USA 

Abstract: Algal predators are typically microorganisms populating the same growth media.  These predators are responsible for crop losses up to 30% in open pond systems, representing a huge cost for commercial algae growers. Existing crop protection methods, such as chemical treatment, are expensive, and can be difficult to apply without damaging the algae or downstream products. Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) treatment of algae predators appears to be a cost effective, chemical-free approach, which can be applied without damage to the microalgae itself. PEF processing uses short, high voltage electrical pulses to disrupt cell membranes. The difference in size and structure of typical predators, when compared to algae cells, provides a treatment window where the predators are killed without impacting the algae.  Diversified Technologies, Inc. (DTI) is investigating the application of PEF for predator control in cooperation with the Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (AzCATI) at Arizona State University (ASU). Our initial, lab-scale results indicated that PEF treatment successfully killed rotifers, ciliates, amoeba and Poteriochromonas, at field strengths that were non-lethal to algae strains.  In July, 2019 DTI installed a PEF system at AzCATI for long term assessment of its ability to control predators in open ponds in both continuous and intermittent applications, and this paper will summarize the results of those initial trials on outdoor ponds. We were able to successfully treat a pond of Micractinium crashing due to an amoeba infestation, which allowed the Micractinium to return to an active growth state.   Our experience in treating outdoor ponds shows that PEF is a very promising technique for both preventing and remediating contaminated algal cultures at scale. The operation of PEF units on pre-commercial scale, open-raceway ponds at AzCATI provides realistic data on the costs and effectiveness of PEF predator control in real-world conditions for scaling to larger ponds.   This effort is funded by USDA NIFA Phase II SBIR Grant 2017-33610-27016.

Lane, Todd
Sandia National Laboratories

Chemical and Genetic Detection Systems for Early Warning of Pond Crashes
Todd W. Lane; Sandia National Laboratories Carolyn D. Fisher; Sandia National Laboratories Kristina M. Mahan: Sandia National Laboratories Kristen L. Reese; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Pamela D. Lane;  Sandia National Laboratories Marion Russell: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory  Matthew Moorman; Sandia National Laboratories Randy Maddalena; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory  Matthias Frank; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Abstract: Algal production systems are prone to unpredictable crashes resulting in biomass loss and reduction in annualized productivity.  Many, but not all, of the etiological agents responsible for such crashes are biological in nature. Research at Sandia National Laboratories has focused on three elements of crop protection critical to preventing or mitigating the effects of pond crashes: 1, the identification of the agents and the conditions under which they cause crashes 2, the development of technologies for the rapid detection of crash agents and 3, the development of pond operational strategies and countermeasures to prevent crashes.  As part of this effort, we are identifying chemical and genetic signatures of microbial communities that are either indicative of pond health or the presence of algal grazers, parasites and pathogens with a goal of early detection and mitigation of pond crashes.  Towards this end, we have used both solid-phase microextraction (SPME)  and thermal desorption (TD) coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to survey the production of algal volatile organic compounds (AVOCs) by several strains of microalgae in the presence and absence of algal grazers and other deleterious species and stress conditions. The addition of B. plicatilis to healthy cultures of M. salina decreased algal cell numbers relative to uninfected controls concurrent with emissions of the carotenoid degradation products, trans-Î2-ionone and Î2-cyclocitral. The abundance of these carotenoid-derived AVOCs increased with rotifer consumption of algae. In addition to carotenoid breakdown products we have identified AVOCs signature that are indicative of grazer activity or cell disruption in algal mass cultures.  Our results indicate that specific AVOCs may be early indicators of grazing or other algal disruption providing a useful tool to monitor algal biomass production and prevent pond crashes.   In addition, we have developed loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assays for the detection and partial quantification of deleterious species in pond samples.This technology is capable of detecting deleterious agents in dense algal algal cultures in 30 minutes, is capable of multiplexed analysis of either different samples or detection of multiple analytes in a single samples. This system  has been demonstrated on samples derived from algal raceways.

Sauer, Jonathan
University of California, San Diego

Application of Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometry for Rapid Multivessel Monitoring of Algal Health and Grazer Infection State
Sauer, Jon; Simkovski, Ryan; Moore, Alexia; Prather, Kimberly; Pomeroy, Robert

Abstract: Algae cultivation in outdoor open raceways is considered the economically viable method for producing high yields of biomass for biofuels and other chemical products. Unfortunately, one of the primary challenges for open raceway ponds is the loss of biomass due to unwanted grazers. Grazer infections rapidly diminish biomass in timescales where high frequency, high sensitivity observations would be better suited for the identification. Here the application of a chemical ionization time of flight mass spectrometer is demonstrated for the detection of grazer infections in multiple simultaneously cultured and infected vessels. Volatiles of consistent production from freshwater Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942 were identified during healthy exponential growth periods. After the introduction of a field isolated ciliate grazer, Tetrahymena, multiple consistent volatile species were identified from the infected media after a latent period, with definitive diagnoses within 48 hours at a per cell concentration of <1/mL. Grazer detection by CI-TOFMS was significantly faster than both microscopy and continuous fluorescence which detected significant changes (>10%) 40 hrs and 64 hours later than mass spectrometry, respectively. We discuss the future of algal monitoring by this technique and the development of field-ready instrumentation for the next generation of grazer identification strategies.

Gonzalez, Mauricio
Arizona State University - AzCATI

Development of a 96-Well Plate Culture-Health Diagnostics Workflow for Production Monitoring in Algae Cultivation
Mauricio Gonzalez, John McGowen, Jessica Forrester, Madison Clar, Mark Seger, and Taylor Weiss. Arizona State University

Abstract: Monoraphidium minutum & Scenedesmus obliquus grown outside of a closed system are at constant risk of exposure to parasites and pathogenic organisms that thrive in the local biome. In order to circumvent the cascading effects these organisms cause while inhabiting the same system with the algae, it is prudent to produce a steadfast assay to track the state of infection across each pond and the overall cultivation site to determine the appropriate actions needed to maintain the viability of each pond. Amoeboaphelidium Occidentale, is a contaminant that had originally been identified by Sapphire at their Las Cruces, New Mexico testbed as “a” an invasive parasitoid fungal agent that led to decreases in productivity, as well as complete culture collapse (Letcher, et al, 2013/2017).  We have identified that this same parasitoid fungal isolate (FD01) is also active at the Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (AzCATI) at Arizona State University's (ASU), Mesa, AZ testbed and is host compatible with two of our most productive production strains utilized within the DOE funded, and national lab led, DISCOVR Consortium's  State of Technology (SOT) cultivation trails. We will present on the method development and application of our workflow in a high throughput 96-well plate format, for tracking the fungal isolate and its infection in production ponds and the application of this workflow for satellite culture investigation of crop protection strategies to mitigate the impact of this devastating pest on algal productivity and robustness. This multi-step assay workflow involving three instruments for fluorescent detection: Plate Reader (SoftMax Pro), Flow Cytometer (Guava HT Incyte), and automated inverted microscopy (XLS) along with traditional microscopy, is being used to develop benchmarks for routine monitoring of culture health and development of signal thresholds for intervention(s) (fungicide application, harvest, etc.).

Cookson, Natalie
Quantitative Biosciences

Using Living Bacteria to Create Low Cost Suites of Sensors for Monitoring and Controlling Algae Growth Systems
Natalie Cookson - Quantitative Biosciences Michael Ferry - Quantitative Biosciences Albert Vitale - Commercial Algae Professionals

Abstract: This presentation focuses on the use of living bacteria to monitor and data log up to 50 parameters real time in growth systems. These systems replace  both test strips, reagents and other sensors to reduce cost and to monitor and measure with greater accuracy. In addition these sensors can monitor in real time other parameters that were either not possible or at such extreme costs that they were not feasible. (i.e Nitrogen, Nitrate, and Nitrite in saline media)  We are developing the first customizable in-line biosensor platform that will use a microfluidic device to house many different “sensor strains, each with the ability to detect a different water parameter on a continuous basis.  Our platform uses engineered bacteria as living sensors that fluoresce when their specific target (e.g. a contaminant or media component) is present in the water.  The platform can currently detect a suite of heavy metals and nutrients (nitrate, nitrite, ammonium, and phosphate), and we have engineered a customized optics and image processing platform that translates these cell signals into a quantitative information about the level of each target present.  A single microfluidic cartridge can take continuous data for at least a month with no intervention, and data can be transmitted remotely to a user-friendly interface.  Beyond the ability to detect many different targets with a single in-line sensor, which is highly unique, the customizability and expandability of our platform is transformative.  That is, using our synthetic biology expertise, we have the ability to develop new strains for new targets of interest via genetic engineering.  This technology can impact the industry by allowing automation and control of previously unmeasurable parameters to optimize growth and productivity.  We will provide an overview of our technology as well as data from a trial deployment at an outdoor algae facility.  The presentation will include information on the history of sensors, the current state of development and the future direction of this technology.  With 50 relevant markers on the typical system measurements of media, nutrients, and even high value components in specific algae are possible with real time information and datalogging.  These technologies can revolutionize the industry and allow automation and control of previously unmeasurable parameters.



Products & Markets

Alternative Products
16-Sep-20       11:45 a.m. CT

Gao, Fengzheng
Wageningen University & Research

Maximum Fucoxanthin and Lipid Production by Tisochrysis lutea at Lab and Pilot Scale
Fengzheng Gao 1, Iago Teles (Cabanelas, ITD) 1, René Wijffels 1,2, Maria Barbosa 1


1 Wageningen University, Bioprocess Engineering, AlgaePARC, P.O. Box 16, 6700 AA, Wageningen, Netherlands

2 Faculty Biosciences and Aquaculture, Nord University, N-8049 Bodø, Norway

Abstract: Tisochrysis lutea (previously reported as Isochrysis galbana T-ISO) has been widely used in aquaculture as a source of fucoxanthin and long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (namely, DHA). The current production yields of fucoxanthin and DHA are still too low to make Tisochrysis lutea a competitive feedstock for these products. Our goal was to improve the productivities of these components in Tisochrysis lutea by both process optimization and selection of cells with the desired phenotype, i.e higher product yields.

Batch and continuous experiments were done in 400 mL photobioreactors under different conditions to determine the optimal process parameters for fucoxanthin and DHA production. Semi-continuous experiments were done outdoors in 40 L flat panel photobioreactors at AlgaePARC ( to optimize fucoxanthin and lipid production. The maximum contents of fucoxanthin (2.7% DW) and lipids (33.9% DW) were achieved by process

Srubar, Wil
University of Colorado Boulder

Photosynthetic Engineered Living Materials for Construction
WV Srubar III, CM Heveran, SL Williams, J Qiu, J Artier, M Hubler, SM Cook, JC Cameron.

Abstract: Conventional building materials, like concrete and steel, are both resource- and emissions-intensive to manufacture. More than 11% of global CO2 emissions are attributable to the manufacture, use, and disposal of conventional materials used in construction. To demonstrate the potential for utilizing (vs. emitting) CO2 to manufacture building materials, photosynthetic living building materials (LBMs) were engineered to exhibit both biological and structural function. LBMs were created by inoculating an inert structural sand-hydrogel scaffold with Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002, a photosynthetic cyanobacterium. The scaffold provided structural support for Synechococcus, which toughened the hydrogel matrix via calcium carbonate biomineralization. Temperature and humidity switches were utilized to regulate the metabolic activity of the microorganisms and achieve three successive regenerations of viable LBMs from one parent generation. Microbial viability in LBMs maintained in at least 50% relative humidity for 30 days was 9%–14%, which far exceeded literature values of microorganisms encapsulated in cementitious materials for similar timeframes (0.1%–0.4%). Despite this tradeoff in biological-structural function, LBMs represent a platform technology that leverages biology to impart novel sensing, responsive, and regenerative multifunctionality to structural materials for the built environment -- all while sequestering non-trivial sums of CO2.

Tsoupeis, Dean
Culturing Solutions

Algae to Electricity
Dean Tsoupeis, CEO, Culturing Solutions, LLC

Abstract: Waste to Electricity by means of algal production.




The scope of the project is to produce Electricity in a Combined Cycle Power Generator that is fueled by BioMethane which is produced by anaerobic digestion of microalgae and other biomass. Culturing Solutions Corporation is to develop an innovative new technology for the production of renewable natural gas (RNG), by combining a unique strain of cyanobacteria (i.e. blue-green algae), with a new high efficiency culture system and an anaerobic digester technology. The overall system is designed to address three critical challenges facing the successful application of algal feedstocks for biofuels production: 1) The availability of species capable of sustained biomass production over a wide range of environmental conditions, 2) A culture system capable of significantly elevating solar energy conversion efficiencies above standard technologies, and 3) A pathway for converting algal feedstocks to biofuels which avoids costly harvesting and processing procedures. All of these factors are critical elements in the development of an economically viable biofuels production technology, and can present significant barriers to success. This system overcomes those barriers.




The core of the proposed system is the availability of an organism capable of producing high concentrations of carbohydrates convertible to RNG. The selected cyanobacterium meets this essential requirement. The system is a three stage RNG production stream which; 1) Begins with a newly developed high rate bioreactor (Culturing Solutions, Phyta-System) for the generation of algal biomass, The nutrient source for the algae should be dark water from a municipal facility or could be used in run off from agriculture, phosphate mining and any other waste stream high in NPK 2) The biomass is then transferred to open re-circulating ponds, where carbohydrate concentrations are enhanced, and 3) The concentrated algal and carbohydrate solution is then fed directly (with or without co-feedstock like manure) into anaerobic digesters for the generation of methane gas. The methane gas will then be converted to electrical power and some of the byproducts of the digestion used as value-added materials (e.g. fertilizer, feed and biochemicals) and other byproducts re-cycled to enhance biomass production (i.e. carbon dioxide and nutrients) This system’s

Kim, Jongrae
Hanyang University

Development of Natural Variant of Chlorella vulgaris Using Random Mutagenesis for the Natural Production of Violaxanthin
Jongrae Kim, Minjae Kim, and EonSeon Jin  Department of Life Science,  Hanyang University, Seoul 04763, Republic of Korea

Abstract: Recently, the industrial attention of natural violaxanthin with anticancer properties (anti-proliferation and anti-inflammatory effect) and with anti-skin aging (ultraviolet B protection) has been expanding. According to the previous reports, According to previous reports, since violaxanthin is fragile and is consisting the xanthophyll cycle in the chloroplast, the microalgae that can produce it commercially are very limited. Accordingly, CvLD (Lutein-deficient Chlorella vulgaris), a high producer of violaxanthin, was generated by chemical random mutagenesis in this study. CvLD was containing only 15.2% lutein compared to wild type and 3.2 times higher violaxanthin than that of wild type consequently. As a reason for this phenomenon, a single point mutation (A336V) on lycopene epsilon cyclase was identified in CvLD. Consequently, the competitive metabolic pathway of the α-branch of xanthophyll synthesis was elevated. Additionally, the improvement of the growth rate in CvLD (1.3 fold higher than wild type) was observed that caused by the enhancement of photosynthesis. Because the apparatus involved in photosynthetic efficiency are diverse, and CvLD was developed through random mutagenesis, the genetic factors causing an increase in growth rate have not been identified. Finally, through the optimization of violaxanthin production, the highest amount of violaxanthin production was achieved under 100 µmol photons/m2/s with acetic acid as the carbon source. The maximum production yield was achieved by 3.70 ± 0.45 mg/g violaxanthin along with 0.45±0.03 mg/g and 0.44 ± 0.02 mg/g of antheraxanthin in CvLD respectively. These results demonstrate that CvLD can produce violaxanthin at a concentration equivalent to the highest levels previously reported in Eustigmatos cf. polyphem (0.37%), and suggesting its potential as a new violaxanthin-producing natural host.

Liao, Wei
Michigan State University

A Pilot-scale Algal Cultivation and Biomass Utilization of Polymer Production on Power Plant Flue Gas
Ashley Cutshaw, Carly Daiek, Yurui Zheng, Henry Frost, Annaliese Marks, Doug Clements, Sibel Uludag-Demirer, Yan Liu, Wei Liao, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, Michigan State University; Po-Jen Hsiao, Mitch Smith, Chemistry, Michigan State University; Ramani Narayan, Chemical Engineering, Michigan State University; Nathan Verhanovitz, T.B. Simon Power Plant, Michigan State University; William Clary, PHYCO2 LLC  Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, Michigan State Uer

Abstract: Carbon dioxide (CO2) accounts for 82% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., with electricity and power generation totaling 33% of total CO2 emissions. Power generation has become a point of interest when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas and CO2 emissions.  The search for sustainable, post-combustion carbon capture and utilization technologies has been ongoing, and microalgal cultivation continues to be a desirable solution due to its capacity for CO2 capture and downstream revenue from value-added products. An integrated system, including algal cultivation and biomass utilization for polyurethane production, was developed to efficiently capture CO2 from the power industry and obtain carbon for renewable polyurethane production. A pilot system established at the Michigan State University T.B. Simon power plant has achieved long-term continuous culture (more than 2 years) on the flue gas. A simple two-step polyurethane formation approach was used to turn the algal biomass into soft and rigid foam. A detailed techno-economic analysis on the system was conducted to determine a technically feasible and economically sound solution for the power industry.



Finance, Policy and Education

The ABC's: Algae, Biofuels and Cars
17-Sep-20       10:00 a.m. CT

Lindauer, Alicia
Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines, U.S. Department of Energy, Bioenergy Technologies Office



Nauha, Jaakko



Agner, Joel
Honda America



Kiziltas, Alper



Rowe, Ian
U.S. Department of Energy, Bioenergy Technologies Office





Engineering & Analysis

Cultivation System Design Impact on Performance
17-Sep-20       11:45 a.m. CT

Quiroz, David
Colorado State University

Economics and Optimization of Inoculum Systems Operations
David Quiroz1, John McGowen2, Taylor L. Weiss2, Mark Seger2, Peter Lammers2, Jason C. Quinn1  1Department of Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO United States 2Arizona State University Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (AzCATI), Arizona State University, Mesa, AZ United States

Abstract: Over the last decade, efforts to make microalgal derived products economically competitive have demonstrated the importance of decreasing biomass production costs. The costs associated with biomass production are directly connected to factors such as algae productivity and the capital expenses associated to the different cultivation platforms.   Challenges associated with large scale cultivation include culture stability and strain propagation.  To address these challenges and ensure high productivities while reducing capital expenses, researchers have proposed the synergistic integration of photobioreactors (PBRs), which provide rapid inoculation and high productivities, and open-raceway ponds (ORPs), offering low capital costs and large-scale production. Even though a combined or hybrid PBR-ORP system integrates the advantages of both growth architectures, the methods of operating this system dramatically impacts the minimum biomass selling price (MBSP). Two common methods of ORP operations are: batch mode production, which increases algae yields but increases the number of PBRs required, and semi-continuous mode production, in which less ORPs are needed, but the crashing probability increases. This study evaluates the economic implications of different operational strategies for a combined PBR-ORP system. These implications are informed by an experimentally validated systems model that includes the biomass production and dewatering processes. A techno-economic analysis leveraged the systems model to determine the minimum biomass selling price (MBSP) for the different growth architectures and multiple operational scenarios. Preliminary results indicate that a combined mode operation of batch and semi-continuous mode proves to be more economical than a batch mode only strategy, reducing the MBSP by 77%. In addition, different methods to provide crop insurance will be analyzed and the impact of pond crashing on the economics of this system will be studied using a Monte Carlo approach.

Cao, Song
Tsinghua University

Immobilized Microalgae Membrane Bioreactor (iMBR) on Wastewater Treatment and Biomass Accumulation: Prospects and Limitations
S. Cao*, Y. Tao**, F. Teng, J. Lv, X. Li, T. Wang, Q. Zhang * Guangdong Provincial Engineering Research Center for Urban Water Recycling and Environmental Safety, Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen 518055, P.R. China; Email: ** Key Laboratory of Microorganism Application and Risk Control (MARC) of Shenzhen, Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen 518055, P.R. China; Email:

Abstract: Immobilized microalgae have been proved to be able to remove nutrients in wastewater, and convenient biomass harvesting. This study concerns the development of immobilized microalgae MBR (iMBR) and evaluates the prospective efficiency of nutrients removal ability, biomass accumulation and induction, biomass harvesting and dewatering in continuous treatment, along with the limitation of microalgae growth in iMBR. The nutrients removal ability was tested in continuous membrane bioreactor with the balanced adjustment of biomass, the amounts of immobilized algae, and HRT. Microalgae beads were transferred into induction tank after the treatment in iMBR for 2-3 days, and the in-situ observation by confocal microscopy, TEM visualized the ideal microalgae bioproducts such as lipid and starch. After that, settleability and dewatering ability were assessed in harvesting process. Furthermore, the limitation of microalgae growth inside the beads was also discussed in this study. 

Davila, Javier
Universidad de Sevilla

Efficient Mixing System to Increase Productivity of High Rate Algal Ponds with Low Investment and Operation Costs
Javier Davila ( and A. Fenandez-Morales

1. Universidad de Sevilla, Departamento de Ingenieria Aeroespacial y Mecanica de Fluidos, E.T.S. Ingenieria, Camino de los Descubrimientos s/n, Seville, Spain. Phone: +34 954481395

2. Drops & Bubbles Tecnología S.L., C/Pablo Iglesias 7, Palomares del Río, Sevilla, Spain.

Abstract: Some of the main challenges for algae production are energy costs and mixing capacity, both closely related with algae productivity and the hydrodynamics of the culture media. We have studied the flow in open and closed photobioreactors, numerically (Computational Fluid Dynamics or CFD) and experimentally (with prototypes and pilot plant), trying to shed some light on their design, focusing on commercial scale. In order to explain the sensibility of microalgae growth to variations in the flow we have performed some CFD simulations which showed that mixing intensity is strongly reduced shortly after the impulsion devices (paddle-wheel or pumps) and curves of the ponds, typically about 10-20 m downstream. Apart from these intense mixing zones, in the rest of the tank the mixing is only due to the weak turbulence produced by the main flow. This is a very important problem in large raceways and may be also in closed photobioreactors, imposing a strong reduction in the pond depth or pipe diameter. We have designed and patented a new Stirring Blade Technology (SBTech) which produces intense and stable vortices parallel to the flow direction to increase the mixing intensity and the light-dark frequency. In our CFD simulations the mixing intensity was obtained and the vortex structures produced by paddle-wheel or SBTech blades adjusted to some well-known vortex models. Experimentally (video particle tracking) we have checked that the dynamics of the vortices generated by SBTech is in very good agreement with the CFD results. The vortex motion produced by paddles or SBTech devices is very beneficial for the growth of microalgae as it leads to an increase in the frequency of the light-dark cycles. Using an appropriate geometrical design, the SBTechs favor the presence of stable vortices, maximizing their intensity and minimizing the head loss introduced by the SBTech. The final design obtained from our analysis has been implemented in high rate algae ponds with surface areas of 500 m2. The SBTech system was installed to ensure both good mixing and low head loss, which has been confirmed by the experimental results. Data of oxygen concentration and pH are recorded continuously. The culture is also analysed periodically to quantify the productivity. Preliminary results show more than 90% increment of productivity while operational costs increase less than 10%.

Cheung, Samantha
University of Toronto

Increasing Productivity and Selective Growth of Scenedesmus obliquus and Chlorella vulgaris in a Biofilm Reactor
Samantha Cheung, Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto D. Grant Allen, Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto Steven M. Short, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto

Abstract: Growing microalgae in a biofilm instead of in suspension has the potential to decrease costs of harvesting biomass in large scale systems. Algal biofilms are inherently more dense than suspended systems and present an additional means of control by altering their attachment material. To improve the control and understanding of the mixed-community that often grows in algal biofilms, a parallel-plate air-lift biofilm reactor was used to test the effect of material, wastewater preconditioning, and inoculation/seeding strategy on the abundance of seeded algal species and biomass productivity. Molecular assays (quantitative polymerase chain reaction) were developed and used to specifically and accurately quantify absolute abundance of the microalgal species, Scenedesmus obliquus and Chlorella vulgaris, in mixed-community algal biofilms. It was found that cotton promoted more biofilm growth than polycarbonate materials, wastewater preconditioning increased biofilm growth, and target algal species can be selectively grown by inoculating directly into a cotton attachment material in the presence and absence of wastewater. This control of biofilm communities, especially in non-sterile systems, will aid in the maximization of target species, product yield, and cost efficiency of large-scale algal biofilms systems for the production of biofuels and bioproducts.

Quiroz-Arita, Carlos
Sandia National Laboratories

Turbulence Characterization of Algae and Viscous Cyanobacterial Polycultures in Open-channel Raceways: Implications in the Design of Cultivation Systems
Carlos Quiroz-Arita (a), Eric Monroe (a), Myra Blaylock (a), David Smernoff (b), Rocco Mancinelli (b), and Ryan W. Davis (a)  (a) Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, CA (b) HelioBioSys, Woodside CA

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to understand the effects of viscous cyanobacterial polycultures in the turbulent mixing characteristics relative to low viscosity algae cultures in pilot-scale open-channel raceways. Advanced fluid mechanics tools were employed to characterize the fluid properties of the baseline conditions, low viscosity, and the high viscosity experimental group, with viscosities three orders of magnitude higher than water. HelioBioSys provided the viscous cyanobacterial polycultures. The study relied on experimental viscosity and velocity measured at the raceways of Sandia National Laboratories and Colorado State University using Acoustic Doppler velocimetry (ADV). Turbulent mixing was analyzed through advanced computational toolsets from the experimental velocity data, obtaining turbulence parameters that describe the mixing characteristics of the fluid systems. Our research has demonstrated that well mixed conditions exist in low viscous fluids




Improving Algal Strain Potential Through Cultivation Strategies
21-Sep-20       10:00 a.m. CT

Huesemann, Michael
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

The Algae DISCOVR Project: Development of Integrated Screening, Cultivar Optimization, and Verification Research
Michael Huesemann, Scott Edmundson, and Song Gao, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Taraka Dale and Sangeeta Negi, Los Alamos National Laboratory Todd Lane, Jeri Timlin, Kunal Poorey, and Thomas Reichardt, Sandia National Laboratory Phil Pienkos, Lieve Laurens, Ryan Davis, and Eric Knoshaug, National Renewable Energy Laboratory John McGowen, Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation 

Abstract: The DISCOVR consortium has developed and is applying an integrated platform and workflow for standardized, deep characterization of highly productive and resilient microalgae strains. New strains are screened using three consecutive tiers in a conceptual down-selection funnel to arrive at the most promising strains. At tier I, strains are screened on gradient incubators to determine their temperature and salinity tolerance range, and to evaluate their resistance to infectious agents (e.g., chytrids). At tier II, the strains’ winter and summer season biomass productivities are quantified in Laboratory Environmental Algae Pond Simulator (LEAPS) photobioreactors, and biomass composition is determined under N-replete and N-deplete conditions. At tier III, the best winter and summer season strains are evaluated in indoor crash ponds to determine their resilience to induced infections, and strains are tested in outdoor raceway ponds to confirm high biomass productivity and culture stability. The top strains are then evaluated in seasonal SOT outdoor pond culture trials at AzCATI, the dedicated Department of Energy SOT (State of Technology) testbed.


Additional research is carried out on evaluating growth promoting molecules, reducing the impact of oxygen inhibition, optimizing pond operational conditions, measuring compositional shift dynamics, developing integrated pest management strategies, analysing culture health using 96 well-plate tools, implementing spectroradiometric monitoring and using machine learning to predict culture crashes.


Major accomplishments so far include successful execution of the DISCOVR strain down-selection pipeline starting with more than 40 initial strains and identification of strains with biomass productivity up to 34% above benchmarks. Furthermore, new high-productivity winter season strains were identified and the oxygen stress tolerance of top DISCOVR strains was determined. Most importantly, a 50% increase in annual SOT biomass productivity in 2 years (from 10.3 to 15.9 g/m2-day) was demonstrated at AzCATI, equivalent to a reduction in biomass selling price of 26%, from $909/T to $670/T.

Ribeiro, Dagon

Culture Media for the Production of Biomass of Green Microalgae (Chlorophyta) at Low Cost
Dágon Manoel Ribeiro a, Carolina R. Cereijo a, Hugo Santana a, Rodrigo C. Nascimento c, Luiz Fernando Roncaratti a, Gabriela Cunha Possa a, Lorena Costa Garcia b, Letícia Jungmann Cançado b, Thomas Christopher Rhys Williams a, Bruno dos Santos Alves Figueiredo Brasil b.


a. Universidade de Brasília, Brasília/DF – Brazil

b. Embrapa Agroenergy, Brasília/DF – Brazil;

c. Universidade Federal do Tocantins, Gurupi/TO – Brazil

Abstract: Biotechnology and biomass production are contemporary themes of great worldwide relevance. In this context, microalgae are highlighted as promising sources for the production of food, bioproducts and energy in the 21st century. However, there are different challenges to be overcome to make industrial microalgae production economically viable, including the cost of the medium. This abstract aims to present two strategies for the production of biomass from green microalgae (Chlorophyta) using low cost cultivation media. The first strategy consists of formulating a chemically defined medium that combines nitrogen sources (urea, ammonia and nitrate) with the use of fertilizers as a low-cost approach to the cultivation of Chlorella Sorokiniana. The proposed medium called "Blue Green Nitrogen Mix" (BGNIM), was able to support the growth of C. Sorokiniana at levels similar to the standard synthetic medium BG11, presenting productivity between 47 and 50 mgDW • L-1 • d-1. In addition, a large pH change was detected during the initial growth phase in BGNIM cultures, opening up opportunities for the control of pH sensitive predators during large-scale production. It is important to note that the BGNIM formulation provided a cost reduction of approximately 95% compared to the standard BG11 medium. The second strategy was to use effluent from the palm oil mill (POME) as a chemically indefinite algal culture medium. In this work, the indigenous microalgae Pseudokirchneriella sp. LBA # 52 was selected from 18 strains tested for growth in POME. Biomass productivity reached 272.13 mgDW • L-1 • d-1 during cultivation, using 15 L flat plate photobioreactors. This study highlights the potential of using microalgae in the treatment of wastewater and in the production of high added value biomass, integrated with the palm oil industry. In conclusion, it is indicated in this work, two strategies of production of biomass of green microalgae (Chlorophyta) at low costs, with chemically defined nutrients (BGNIM) and chemically undefined (POME).

Negi, Sangeeta
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Effect of phytohormones on improving biomass productivities in algal production strains
1. Sangeeta Negi, Los Alamos National Laboratory 2.Carrol Kay Carr, Los Alamos National Laboratory 3. Bridget Daughton, Los Alamos National Laboratory 4. John McGowen, AzCATI, Arizona State University 5. Taraka Dale, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Abstract: Photosynthetic microalgae are a strong candidate for a renewable alternative to fossil fuels and products. However, one of the major bottlenecks preventing the commercial production of algal-based biofuels is effective, scalable, and low-cost biomass production.  One way to overcome this challenge is to utilize growth promoting molecules. Growth-promoting molecules (GPMs) are signal molecules produced in plants and are known as phytohormones. Phytohormones have specific functions in the life cycle of a plant; such as regulation of growth, tissue differentiation, and eliciting stress response. They are known to regulate plant growth and development independently, as well as through cross talk with each other. These plant hormones are actively used in agriculture at scale due to their efficiency at very low concentrations, and also can be cost effective. This work, which is conducted through the BETO funded DISCOVR consortium project, examines the effect of phytohormones on top performer DISCOVR strains. In our study we are testing 4 phytohormones, Indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), naphthalene acetic acid (NAA), cytokinin (kinetin), and Gibberellic acid (GA3). These phytohormones have been shown to improve cell division, growth, and biomass in algal strains. We are conducting experiments to analyze effect of these phytohormones on three algal strains Monoraphidium minutum, Scenedesmus obliquus, and Chlorella sorokiniana. We have screened a range of individual phytohormone concentrations, and combinations of these phytohormones, in well-plate experiments. We will present the effect of these phytohormones on algal cell morphology, growth, and biomass. These results will improve our understanding of phytohormones, and their role in modulation of microalgal growth and metabolism.

Franks, Dylan
Oklahoma State University

Maintaining Nitrogen-limited Balanced-growth States in a Cyclo-turbidostat:  Lipid Accumulation Under Ultradian Growth
Dylan Franks*, Anthony Sabella, and William Henley Oklahoma State University

Abstract: Commercial scale production of algal biofuel depends on high growth rate and concomitant lipid accumulation. Nitrogen (N) deprivation decreases growth rate resulting in no net increase in lipid productivity. However, insufficient N supply decreases flux through N assimilation leading to the uncoupling of N and carbon metabolism. In this state, healthy cells may accumulate starch and lipid without incurring significant damage. Thus, supplying sub-optimal levels of N to cultures in a balanced-growth state may yield near-maximum growth rate with elevated lipid content.

We grew Picochlorum oklahomense in automated cyclo-turbidostats (n=8) and altered nitrate supply rate by changing [NO3] in the influent media. Cultures were maintained in 2.0% artificial seawater, sparged with 1% CO2, and subjected to a square-wave 14:10 hr light-dark cycle.

Nitrate step-down trials identified an influent [NO3] of 300μM as replete and 250μM as the limited condition, where cultures hang on the edge of nitrogen limitation. In accordance with turbidostat theory, cell density and dry weight remain relatively constant at different nitrate supply levels, and residual [NO3] in the media is near zero when cultures are in a balanced growth state.

In subsequent trials, growth rate slowed by 16.9% and electron transport rate, but not quantum yield, was attenuated when cultures were switched from replete to limited. Next, when cultures were initially cycled in the replete or limited condition (n=4), growth rate slowed by 12.8% over a 5-day period from 1.64±0.13 to 1.42±0.11 (means ±SD) with specific nitrate supply rates of 6.47±1.01 and 5.11±0.55 pmol cell-1, respectively. While electron transport rate, and to a lesser degree quantum yield, were initially attenuated in limited cultures, they recovered to replete levels despite the sustained difference in growth rate. Finally, high-throughput phenotyping via flow cytometry revealed that lipid content in limited cultures at mid-day was more than double that in replete cultures.

This shows that elevated lipid content and ultradian growth are not mutually exclusive, and that population dynamics and life history traits play an influential role in determining the bulk properties of algal cultures. What’s more, we show that lipid yield can be manipulated without the use of metabolic engineering, using simple low-cost agronomic practices.

Crowe, Braden
MicroBio Engineering Inc

Growth of Chlorella sp. Under Low CO2 and High pH
Braden Crowe (1), Erik Hoffnagle (1), Maria Reyna (1), John Benemann (1), and Joseph Weissman (2)  (1) MicroBio Engineering Inc (2) ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company 

Abstract: In order to attain sustainable large-scale biofuels production from algae at a low carbon footprint, it may be necessary to obtain the carbon required for growth from atmospheric carbon dioxide. Without chemical enhancement, air-CO2 exchange rates are low, supporting assimilation rates of 1 g C/m2-day or less, well below the very high carbon utilization rates needed to economically produce biofuels from algae. Chemical enhancement of the air-CO2 flux, via the reaction of dissolved CO2 with hydroxide ions, is being explored as a possible route to increase the air-CO2 transfer rate. However, for hydroxide to be the chemical reactant, the pH must be above 11 to achieve the required levels of enhancement.   Here, we present results from both the theoretical analysis of OH enhancement of CO2 transfer into seawater-type media, as well as from growth experiments of a Chlorella sp. under both high and low CO2 and at neutral and high pH. We have found that algal productivity, in the strain we have tested, is reduced 80-90% at such high pH, compared to growth under low pH, high CO2 conditions. If we could operate at pH below 10, the reduction in productivity is only 20-30%. At the lower pH, enzymatic enhancement might, given sufficiently high reaction rates, increase the air-CO2 mass-transfer rate to achieve the levels of enhancement required.



Products & Markets

Harvesting, Dewatering and Packaging
21-Sep-20       11:45 a.m. CT

Boelens, Pieter

Title: New LiqoVibro Membrane Technology Could Replace Centrifuges  Summary: LiqoVibro is the Perfect Filtration Solution for Algae Concentration up to High Concentrations Where Low Energy, Sanitary Function and Gentle Filtration are Key
Liqoflux - Herre Hoekstra

Abstract: Summary: LiqoVibro is the perfect filtration solution for algae concentration up to high concentrations (~ 150 gr/l) where low energy consumption, sanitary function and gentle filtration are key. LiqoVibro systems deliver low fouling continuous filtration, where the filter is kept clean by vibration shear.  Liqoflux is already very successful in algae pre-concentration and water/media recycling. Liqoflux has units in operation in multiple countries (Australia, NZ, Vietnam, India, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Morocco, Belgium, Germany and recently also in the US) working with different algae strains and delivering excellent performance. It's our objective to deliver the most energy efficient algae harvesting.  This year, Liqoflux introduced a new membrane technology as a second harvesting step up to ~ 150 gr/l. This new LiqoVibro membrane technology could replace centrifuges at multiple algae production facilities. This is an important step to reduce the Capex and Opex of the algae harvesting process.  The new LiqoVibro membrane technology delivers continuous low fouling filtration where the filter is kept clean by vibration shear. The membrane module vibrates vertically while the technology makes the algae media inside the module stationary. The relative vibration of the algae media and membrane creates turbulence on the membrane surface and thereby keeps the fouling layer at a minimum. The turbulence is only created at vertical surfaces. Thus, the energy required to create the turbulence at the membrane surfaces is minimized. Due to the open design of the LiqoVibro Free Flow Plate membrane Module, the LiqoVibro membrane modules can handle algae cultures with high concentrations up to ~ 150 gr/l.   The LiqoVibro membrane technology handles the feed solution very gently as no circulation pump is needed. By eliminating the circulation pump LiqoVibro is algae product gentle and very energy efficient (Significant energy reduction compared to centrifuges!). The elimination of the circulation pump also creates a uniform trans membrane pressures (TMP) throughout the unit which results in very sharp membrane cut-offs.  Liqoflux will present how the innovative LiqoVibro membrane technology works and will present client data to show results both in high algae concentrations achieved and energy consumption.  

Liu, Wei
Molecule Works Inc.

A Versatile Membrane Filter for Micro-algae Harvesting and Product Separation
Wei Liu, Molecule Works Inc. Anirudh Balram, Molecule Works Inc. Mitch Odinak, Molecule Works Inc.

Abstract: Harvesting and product separation are major cost factors to produce micro-algae-based fuels and/or products. A mini-channel membrane filter device comprising thin ceramic/metal flat sheet membranes will be introduced to enable research, development, and commercialization of microalgae-based products. The membrane filter provides straight flow channels in the order of millimeter for solid/fluid mixtures to pass through at low pressure drops. The 50micrometer thinness of the ceramic/metal sheet membrane provides high permeance and mechanical rigidity for effective cleaning of the membrane surface by back flushing. The membrane filter can be used to concentrate and/or harvest micro-algae from cultures solutions and can also be used to separate the solid from algal oil extracts. By use of the membrane of appropriate pore size, 100 % of micro-algae can be collected regardless of its species. The membrane filtration is an energy efficient solid/fluid separation technology and does not introduce strange chemicals or matters. Membrane fouling has been a major issue. Chemical and biological resistance of the  ceramic/metal materials such as zirconia/nickel alloy make the membrane filtration become a more viable tool for the microalgal community.  The membrane filter is a modular device. The filtration processes demonstrated at small or laboratory scales can be scaled up to pilot or commercial processes by increasing the membrane area and filter size. The versatility and scale-up feasibility of this new filter technology will be shown with various experimental examples.

Thoresen, Lars
Nofima AS

An Oxidative Stability Study:  Freeze-dried, Bead-mill-disrupted and Intact Phaeodactylum tricornutum and Nannochloropsis gaditana, Stored for 12 Months at 5 and 25°C, with Various Antioxidants.
Lars H. Thoresen, Nofima AS, Bergen, Norway Katerina Kousoulaki, Nofima AS, Bergen, Norway

Abstract: Microalgae biomass with high PUFA concentrations is easily oxidized. Cell disruption increases the bioavailability and extractability of n-3-PUFA and other nutrients but increases susceptibility to oxidation. Bead-mill-disrupted and intact (not milled) microalgea (Phaeodactylum tricornutum and Nannochloropsis gaditana) were treated with antioxidants (ethoxyquin, 250 ppm; BHA, 250 ppm; mixed tocopherols, 250 and 500 ppm; rosemary extract, 500 ppm; salmon protein hydrolysate, 1000 ppm or no antioxidant) then freeze-dried. The dried microalgae were stored in the dark for 12 months at 5 or 25 °C and samples were analyzed for lipid oxidation (oxipres, free fatty acids, TBA-reactive substances) and antioxidant concentrations at 0, 3, 6, and 12 months. The antioxidants performed differently in the various assays. While 250 ppm ethoxyquin was superior in the oxipres assay, no single antioxidant stood out in the TBA-reactive substances measurements. In general, the bead-mill-disrupted microalgae exhibited greater oxidation parameters than those of intact cells, regardless of antioxidant used.

Hazlebeck, David
Global Algae Innovations

Universally Applicable, Low Energy Algae Harvesting
David Hazlebeck, Global Algae Innovations Bill Rickman, TSD Management Associates

Abstract: Low energy, high efficiency harvesting has been demonstrated using the Zobi Harvester®. This technology is a dead-end, hollow-fiber filtration system that separates pond-concentration algae slurry into a crystal-clear recycled media and a 10% to 20% solids concentration algae paste. Results on the range species harvested and energy use are presented along with a comparison to other harvesting technologies.

Balram, Anirudh
Molecule Works Inc

Thin Microporous Metal Sheet Membrane Filters for Microalgae Harvesting and Processing
Anirudh Balram, Wei Liu, Mitch Odinak - Molecule Works Inc.    Zackary Johnson - Duke University  Braden Crowe, John Coyne, Tryg Lundquist - MicroBio Engineering Inc.

Abstract: A new type of filtration membrane and versatile filter units will be introduced in this talk. Approximately 50µm-thin porous nickel alloy membrane sheets of sub micrometer pore sizes have been developed by Molecule Works Inc. to concentrate and/or harvest microalgae. The surface smoothness and pore openings of the thin metal sheet can be further tailored with an ultra-thin coating of ceramic oxide materials such as zirconia. Such membranes enable 100 % filtration of microalgae and particulates down to 50 nm at high flux and low energy consumption. The ceramic/metal membrane is resistant to bacteria, solvent, and oil. Due to its thinness and smooth surface texture, the membrane can be periodically cleaned in-situ by backflushing and surface rinsing. Membrane filtration is a simple and efficient tool for solid/fluid separation to the microalgal and biofuel community. Two types of filtration units are developed by Molecule Works in collaboration with algae cultivation teams. Molecule Works™ laboratory-scale filter, trademarked as MemXcel, is developed for small-scale filtration applications at flow rates of a few liters per hour. The compact filter unit provides the user a lot of flexibility with respect to membrane coupon choice and operating conditions to meet specific application needs.  A pilot filter unit on a mobile skid is being developed for on-site harvesting at flow rates in the order of 1 cubic meter per hour. The pilot unit is equipped with in-situ cleaning functions for sustainable operation. Detailed performance features of these two types of filters will be presented.



Engineering & Analysis

Pathways to Cheaper Carbon Dioxide
22-Sep-20       10:00 a.m. CT

Dombrowski, Katherine



Lucas, Matt
New Energy Risk

Financing Carbon Capture and Algae: Lessons from Project Financing of Novel Technologies
Matt Lucas, New Energy Risk

Abstract: As startups transition from technology development funded by venture capital, they must transition to new capital sources as they build projects and infrastructure. Yet the risk-reward profile of project financing poses new challenges to novel cleantech projects. Using examples from the $2B+ in financings that New Energy Risk has enabled in first-of-a-kind cleantech projects, we'll review how key lessons learned that can be applied to algae and carbon capture as they move from the lab to commercial-scale projects.

McCoy, Sean
University of Calgary



Knipe, Jennifer



Lundquist, Tryg
MicroBio Engineering






Genetic Modification: A Key to Improving Algae Feasibility?
22-Sep-20       11:45 a.m. CT

Davis, Aubrey
MicroBio Engineering

Improved Strains for Combined Phycoremediation and Biofuels Production
Aubrey Davis1,2*, Ruth Spierling1,2, Nahel Ali2, Ryan Anderson2, Allison Shoemaker1,2, Sara Leader1,2, Carly Lesne1,2, Catherine Field1,2, Arnaud Bizouarne2, Timothee Beillevaire2, Isalyne Gatheron2, Tryg Lundquist1,2 John Benemann1*  Affiliations: 1MicroBio Engineering Inc; 2California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Abstract: Cultivation of microalgae can be applied to the dual purpose of remediating wastewaters (phycoremediation) and producing biomass for conversion to biofuels. To meet the aggressive goals set forth by the US DOE to demonstrate, at the pre-pilot-scale, a yield of 3,700 gallons or equivalent of biofuels intermediates per acre per year, will require the development and application of novel strains in large-scale open ponds. Such novel strains could be created by Adaptive Laboratory Evolution (ALE) of already existing strains that have proven to be robust outdoors by applying random mutagenesis followed by selection for faster growth rate and higher biomass productivity. Alternatively, novel strains could be identified by targeted bioprospecting for high-productivity wild-type strains. As environmental conditions in specific geographic areas can significantly influence the performance of algae, phycoprospecting for local strains is desirable where outdoor cultivation is required. Additionally, both approaches can be combined by coupling of the isolation of indigenous strains with further improvements through genetic manipulation for increased productivity of total and specific biomass components (lipids, carbohydrates, proteins). Out of laboratory and field trials, two species, Scenedesmus obliquus and Tribonema minus, emerged as promising candidates: S. obliquus was a pre-existing strain that had come out of a previous general bioprospecting project and T. minus was newly isolated by specific bioprospecting from wastewater ponds. Cultigens with improved growth characteristics were then tested in outdoor wastewater ponds over extended periods. Results will be presented.  This project is supported by US Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) Advanced Algal Systems Program, for Algal Biomass Yield Phase 2 (ABY2), Award DE-EE0007691 to MicroBio Engineering Inc.

Douchi, Damien
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Increasing Algal Biomass Productivity in Nannochloropsis oceanica CCAP84/910 by Increasing Inorganic Carbon Availability and Uptake Rates
Damien Douchi (NREL, Golden, Colorado) Foteini Davrazou (NREL, Golden, Colorado) Nicholas Sweeney (NREL, Golden, Colorado) Lieve Laurens* (NREL, Golden, Colorado)

Abstract: The economic feasibility of micro-algae cultivation at large scale depends on the cultivation yields. Elemental analyses of algae ash free dry weight reveal a carbon content of about half, suggesting a carbon metabolism in algae as a major target for improvement. Published research demonstrates that the assimilation of inorganic carbon (Ci) to produce biomass is dependent on its availability. The capacity of the cell to concentrate and fix to organic molecules, therefore relies on the efficacy of the metabolism to accept the photo assimilates (and regenerate substrates) as well as harvesting the energy needed for drive the photosynthesis dark reactions. For example, our recent work showed that the overexpression of a native Fructose bis-phosphate aldolase in Synechocystis led to a 14% increase of both Ci uptake and fixation and up to a 20% increase in oxygen evolution. The interdependency of the light reactions, metabolism and CO2 uptake is at the center of our current projects in eukaryotic algae and appear crucial to the sustainability of cultivations. We oriented our work toward investigating the influence of culture methods and Ci chemistry on improving Ci utilization and storage by algae. Highly productive cultivars of Nannochloropsis oceanica, a good oil producer in seawater, were selected to thrive in high Ci environments, created by the presence of highly active novel Carbonic Anhydrase enzyme variants. Investigating the response of our model strain to different Ci concentrations drove engineering efforts to monitor and replenish in real time the CO2 consumption while using sinusoidal light and temperature programs. This work has led to the production of a mutant bank with improved Ci utilization and biomass productivity. This will ultimately lead to an innovative and integrated process operation to effectively delivery waste CO2 to algae cultivation.

Simkovsky, Ryan
University of California San Diego

Engineering Cyanobacteria for Production and Secretion of Diacids and Diols
Ryan Simkovsky*, Kerry Kizer*, and Danielle Bisbee*  *University of California, San Diego

Abstract: For algae-derived biofuels to be cost-competitive with fossil fuels, the algae industry is investing in the production of secondary high-value products and markets, including algae-based polymers. A number of the building block chemicals for polymers are ideally suited for production in cyanobacteria or algae, which naturally accumulate hydrocarbons. We have generated baseline strains of Synechococcus elongatus and other industrially-relevant cyanobacterial strains capable of producing and secreting into their media measurable quantities of diacids or diols, the chemical precursors to polyester polyurethanes. From these baseline strains, we have generated more efficient production strains through advances in synthetic biology, metabolic engineering based on metabolic modeling, and high-throughput screening technologies. We have further optimized the production media in order to enhance secretion and production. Working closely with industry partners, we have tested the growth and chemical yields of our strains at 100-L scales while also developing technologies for extraction and purification of the chemical precursors at these larger scales.

Kuzminov, Fedor
Synthetic Genomics

 Genetic Engineering of Algae with High Biomass and Lipid Productivity
Fedor Kuzminov, Eric Moellering, Nicholas Bauman, Randor Radakovits, Roberto Spreafico, Imad Ajjawi, Saheed Imam, Andrew Schultz, Kathleen Kwok, Moena Aqui, Jennifer Nominati, John Verruto, Jessica Greiner, June Pais, William Lambert, Shaun Bailey  all - Synthetic Genomics

Abstract: Engineering photosynthetic organisms with improved biomass and lipid productivities is a long-standing goal of algal biologists. Here we describe mutant photosynthetic organisms that have an attenuated CheY- like gene (CheY) encoding a two-component regulatory system with Regulator Receiver domain and myb-like DNA binding domain. The mutant organism with attenuated CheY-like gene exhibits a higher biomass productivity as a result of improved light harvesting, faster photosynthetic electron transport, and increased carbon fixation. These mutants are also characterized by ~20% increase in protein per TOC, which could yield an increase of 40-60% in areal protein productivity, when compounding increased percentage of protein with the increased biomass productivity. Under N- batch growth the mutants outperformed the wild type in both the biomass and lipid (FAME) accumulation (with up to 50% higher FAME production). Overall, mutants with attenuated CheY provide a genetic means of increasing biomass, protein, and lipid content in photosynthetic organisms contributing towards the ongoing efforts towards more sustainable production of foods and chemicals.

Kufryk, Galyna
Grand Canyon University

Improvement of Hydrogen Production by Deletion of Uptake Hydrogenase in Cyanobacterial Strains
Galyna Kufryk College of Science, Engineering and Technology  Grand Canyon University Phoenix, Arizona, 85017

Abstract: Cyanobacteria are a diverse group of photoautotrophic prokaryotes that are found in a variety of environments, and can be grown in the laboratory. With genomic information available for more than 130 cyanobacterial strains, many can be engineered to enhance hydrogen production. Cyanobacteria are ideal cell factories for hydrogen production because they have low nutrient requirements and are capable of using light to generate biomass from water and CO2.  Cyanobacteria produce hydrogen through two key enzymes, nitrogenase and bidirectional hydrogenase, and oxidize molecular hydrogen by uptake hydrogenase.  The main role of uptake hydrogenase is to protect nitrogenase from oxidative damage, and prevent feedback inhibition of both nitrogenase and bidirectional hydrogenase, which reduces the net gain of H2. Inhibition of the hydrogen-oxidizing activity is important for increasing hydrogen yield from cyanobacterial cultures.  Uptake hydrogenase has two subunits; the small subunit directs electron transport to the large subunit, which has an active site that binds H2. These subunits are encoded by hupS and hupL genes, respectively, that can be genetically modified to reduce activity of the uptake hydrogenase and increase hydrogen production.  Genetic deletion of uptake hydrogenase in cyanobacteria affects strains in various ways. In Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 it increased hydrogen production by 4-7 fold while in Anabaena variabilis ATCC 29413 it reached a 5-fold improvement, compared to the wild type strain. Uptake hydrogenase deletion strains can be the starting point for further genetic modifications for the purpose of enhancement of their hydrogen-producing capacity.   Hydrogen production makes cyanobacteria promising for renewable fuel. Accumulation of biomass by cyanobacteria is linked to carbon dioxide sequestering. This reduces the carbon footprint by producing polymers of carbon. The ability to reduce carbon dioxide pollution as well as produce energy dense hydrogen makes cyanobacteria significant in biofuel research.



Products & Markets

Algae-Based Food Ingredients and Nutraceuticals:  Production to Markets
23-Sep-20       10:00 a.m. CT

Fenner, Rick
Qualitas Health

Traceability Within a Supply Chain Positively Impacts Quality Assurance
Rick Fenner, VP Supply Chain, Qualitas Health

Abstract: Today’s consumer is very mindful of what goes into their bodies. They want to know the source, country of origin, non-GMO certification, heavy metal content, whether pesticides/or similar chemicals were used, and most importantly, is there anything in this product that is harmful.

Manufacturers have an obligation to fully understand what is in the finished product. Not knowing could have major implications if there is an FDA audit, product recall or a major consumer complaint.

Creating full traceability within a supply chain network is imperative to quality assurance and minimizing risk. Traceability is the ability to verify the history, location, or application of an item. This simple definition takes discipline, resources, and organization.

The business of growing algae, producing an ingredient, and making a finished product is unique. Using Qualitas Health as a case study, this presentation will show how traceability from farm to family positively impacts quality assurance and how it transforms to a data driven supply chain.

Qualitas Health, Inc. is the Houston, Texas based maker of iwi (pronounced “ee-wee”), a line of algae based nutrition products. Their first line of products are omega3s, and they farm Nannochloropsis in the Southwestern United States.

Successful traceability programs start with a leader. Knowing how to set up, who are the team members, what data is tracked, where does the data reside and how does the data become information are critical to a successful program. These questions help define the objective and goals. Working the steps backwards shapes and establishes processes to achieve the objectives.

Fields, Frank
University of California San Diego

Effects of the Microalgae Chlamydomonas on Gastrointestinal Health
The California Center for Algae Biotechnology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA; Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA; Center for Microbiome Innovation, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA; Triton Algae Innovations, 11558 Sorrento Valley Road, Suite 3, San Diego, CA, USA; Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA; Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA; Department of Computer Science, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA; Department of Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA

Abstract: The effects of consuming whole-cell biomass of the green algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii on gastrointestinal health in mice and humans was examined. A 14-day murine model of acute colitis revealed significantly less weight loss in mice that received C. reinhardtii biomass by oral gavage. Based on this result, human volunteers with varying gastrointestinal symptoms were asked to consume 1 or 3 g of C. reinhardtii daily for 30 days. Participants reported changes in their gastrointestinal health through a questionnaire and provided stool samples to analyze the composition of their gut microbiome. Those who typically experience frequent gastrointestinal symptoms reported significantly less bowel discomfort or diarrhea, significantly less gas or bloating, more regular bowel movements, and better stool consistency when regularly consuming C. reinhardtii. Analysis of participant stool samples suggested the gut microbiome composition in all groups remained complex, and no signs of dysbiosis or adverse effect on microbial composition were observed.

Griffiths, Hywel

Industrialisation of Galdieria sulphuraria as a Source of Nutritional Biomass and Phycocyanin.
Olivier Cagnac - Fermentalg Axel Athane - Fermentalg Adeline LeMonnier - Fermentalg Matthieu Courbalay - Fermentalg Nicolas Roques - Fermentalg Hywel Griffiths - Fermentalg

Abstract: The red algae Galdieria sulphuraria has long been a scientific curiosity due to its ability to grow in extreme environments, its capacity to utilize numerous types of organic substrates and its production of phycobilliproteins. Fermentalg has developed processes for the production of this organism via fermentation that allow the commercial production of both the biomass as a superfood and alternative protein source, and a phycocyanin-rich extract for use as a dietary pigment.  The result is a highly nutritional biomass with over 50% protein, a complete profile of essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals. With its high digestibility this is ideally suited for use in sports nutrition and healthy aging. This biomass can be produced either rich in pigment, or in neutral form depending on the intended use. The phycocyanin extracted from the pigment-rich biomass can be purified and formulated as a dietary pigment that can replace synthetic blues in a number of food applications. The presentation will include discussion of the challenges faced in designing processes that are applicable at industrial scale, regulatory challenges to putting new products on the market, and a brief insight into the nutritional properties and technical advantages of the biomass and phycocyanin products. 

Robin, Annie-Laure
Leatherhead Food Research

Leatherhead Food Research Outlines the Critical Steps That Ingredient Suppliers May Need to Address When Launching a New Ingredient/Product onto the Global Market
Annie-Laure Robin, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs SEnior Consultant, Leatherhead Food Research

Abstract: Consumers and food & beverage manufacturers are now demanding ingredients that meet their requirements, which are for examples:  ‘natural’, with health and nutrition benefits, sustainable,  or new protein source for vegan. As a result, the ingredient suppliers are constantly looking at the novel and emerging food processing technologies that will enable them to deliver in line with the above-mentioned trends. Examples of such technologies can include introduction of exotic foods, new chemical structure, new botanical, animal, mineral, microorganisms, fungi or algae sources, new vitamins, minerals or substances used for food supplement/fortification/for special groups, bio-fortification, controlled chemical treatments, enzyme treatments, ozone treatment and nanotechnologies, all of which demonstrate exciting prospects. However, in parallel with technological progress, there needs to be a strong vigilant awareness of the regulatory requirements, when launching these novel ingredients onto the global market.  With significant advances made in technologies to develop new ingredients/products, there is therefore a need to understand the global regulatory landscape to access markets which may require pre-market safety approval, especially when there is no records of previous history of consumption of the new ingredient/additive/flavouring in the market of interest.   Leatherhead Food Research outlines the critical steps that ingredient suppliers may need to address when launching a new ingredient/product onto the global market.



Engineering & Analysis

Algae Wastewater Treatment for Nutrient Recovery and Run-off Mitigation
23-Sep-20       11:45 a.m. CT

Johnson, Daniel

Case study: Using Algal Biofilms to Meet Stringent CBOD5, Ammonia, and TP Limits in a Full Scale Municipal Wastewater Treatment Facility.
Daniel B Johnson PhD, OneWater Inc

Abstract: This study demonstrates the biological rationale to use algal treatment to increase operational stability and reduce costs for small communities confronted with stringent water quality permit limits, including CBOD, ammonia and TP.  A rotating algal biofilm system was installed in Uniondale, Indiana and became operational in January 2019.  The system replaces a constructed wetland with a daily average flow of 87m3  (23,000 gallons).  It is fed by a septic tank effluent collection system.  The wetland was retained for use in the design as an excess flow basin.  The Algal system is designed to meet a 10 CBOD5-12 TSS-1 NH3-N discharge limits.  With the new water quality permit the plant will also have to comply with a new total phosphorus limit (TP).  The algae system provides a unique microbial community which leverages oxygen production and the luxury uptake of phosphorus by algae.  The result is effective secondary treatment for CBOD and ammonia and a higher TP removal rate.  This reduces the use of coagulants needed to precipitate the remaining TP.  The system start-up in January lasted 6 weeks and the system is in compliance with all water quality permit requirements and is discharging a monthly average water quality of 5 mg L-1 CBOD5, 7 mg L-1 TSS, 0.2 mg L-1 NH3-N and 3 mg L-1 TP.  This presentation will show operational data including, flow and contaminant concentrations to demonstrate the system efficacy, operational ease, cost savings, and reduction on carbon footprint.

Lam, Ka Yee (Shirley)
University of Toronto

Transformation of Triclosan by the Green Alga Euglena gracilis
Ka Yee (Shirley) Lam (1) Dr. Elodie Passeport (1,2) 1 - University of Toronto, Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, Toronto, Canada 2 - University of Toronto, Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering, Toronto, Canada 

Abstract: Triclosan is an antimicrobial agent that is incorporated into many household products, such as soaps, detergents, and toothpaste. Triclosan is ubiquitously found in the aquatic environment, potentially toxic, and readily bioaccumulated. Passive water treatment systems, such as wetlands, have shown potential to reduce triclosan pollution. A fraction of the triclosan pollution that reaches sewage treatment plants remains uncaptured and is then released into the aquatic environment where it can be further transformed into toxic products. Algae ponds are an effective removal treatment system for emerging contaminants, nutrients, and metals. However, few studies have isolated and quantified the individual removal mechanisms for emerging contaminants in wetlands. This study uses the green alga Euglena gracilis to quantify the removal of triclosan in wetland water, autoclaved wetland water, Euglena medium, and in Milli-Q water. The study was done in 1-L Erlenmeyer flasks containing 600 mL of algae spiked with triclosan. Samples were taken 0, 3, 7, 11, 17, and 25 days following the start of the experiment to quantify the concentration of triclosan and its transformation products. The alga was also subjected to three different light conditions: white, red, and absence of light. Triclosan and its transformation products were quantified in the aqueous solution and in the alga with an ultra-high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) coupled with a diode array detector (DAD) and by high resolution mass spectrometry. The results showed that the highest percent removal of triclosan occurred in reactors that contained both algae and microbes, in white light. This is promising for triclosan elimination in wetlands as these conditions were the closest to real field conditions. Further, the average algae and microbial uptake were 48 ± 6% and 38 ± 6%, respectively, demonstrated the key role of microorganisms for water treatment using wetland systems. The pseudo first-order kinetic constants were not statistically different between reactors with red light and no light, suggesting that the energy provided by the red LEDs that were used to provide the red light, provided the same amount of energy needed for phagocytosis in dark reactors. In conclusions, these results suggest that the complex microbial environment of wetlands has the potential to reduce triclosan pollution.

Gross, Martin
Gross - Wen Technologies

Algae-based Secondary Treatment with Nutrient Removal: Evaluating a Revolving Algal Biofilm Treatment System at Full-Scale in Slater, IA
Dr. Martin Gross, Gross - Wen Technologies Dr. Xuefei Zhao, Gross - Wen Technologies Max Gangestad, Gross - Wen Technologies

Abstract: GWT is commercializing the Revolving Algal Biofilm (RAB) technology which is one of the leading algae technologies being implemented in wastewater treatment ( The RAB system is well suited to be located after primary sedimentation when Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), Ammonia (NH3), Total Nitrogen (TN), and/or Total Phosphorus (TP) treatment are needed. When the BOD concentration is higher, the RAB  system will grow a mixed culture of both bacteria and algae, which can simultaneously remove COD, ammonia, TN, TP and TDS. In this presentation, the ammonia, COD, TN, TP, TDS, treatment results from this 9-month demonstration in Slater, IA will be presented.  The demonstration facility is designed to treat the entire cities flow (AWW design flow 0.92MGD).

Quinn, Jason
Colorado State University

Algae as a Service: Economic Viability of Using Attached Algae Growth Systems to Proactively Prevent Large Harmful Algal Blooms
DeRose, K.1, Banks, A.1, Monroe, E.2, Davis, R.W.2, Quinn, J.C.1 1 Colorado State University 2 Sandia National Laboratories

Abstract: Water bodies around the world are suffering from large, unrestricted growths of cyanobacteria, also called Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) caused by nutrient contaminated waters. Attached algae growth systems provide a potential novel biological solution to reduce nutrients from non-point sources by removing dilute nutrients from waterways before they can collect en masse downstream proactively mitigating the HABs.


To test the economic viability of this bioremediation-based solution for Lake Erie, we created a model which dynamically compares the damages felt by communities before and after employing attached algae growth systems. The model estimates the severity of potential HAB’s based on nutrient loadings to Lake Erie. HAB severity is then tied to different economic damages through consequential economic modeling that includes things like real estate values and tourism revenues. We can then understand the economic feasibility of proactive nutrient control though attached algal systems that are used to reduce HAB. A direct comparison of the costs associated with deployment of attached growth systems to the consequential economic loss of HAB. The algal based system was also compared to more traditional nutrient remediation solutions such as wastewater treatment.


Estimates show that Lake Erie communities are currently losing around $300 million a year due to HABs. The algae system showed nutrient loading reductions of 40%, reducing economic damages by $100 million per year at a cost of $120 million per year, with the potential for economic improvements with the implementation of bio-based revenue streams. Wastewater treatment was able to reduce nutrient loading by 9%, reducing annual economic damages by $20 million at a cost of $100 million per year. The model also allows us to investigate the required levels of deployment to reduce HAB severity and minimize economic impacts for surrounding communities. Using this work, we identified which variables have the most significant impact on our analysis with results highlighting the potential for strategic investment in research and improvements to reduce costs and labor burdens of attached growth infrastructure.

Levy , Dan

Harmful Algal Blooms Environmental and Economic Impacts  
Daniel J. Levy, PG, Vice President AECOM Environmental Group, Fort Lauderdale, Florida   Bill Colona, PG - Senior Project Geologist - AECOM Environmental Group, Tallahassee, Florida   David Pinelli, Senior Scientist - AECOM Environmental Group, AECOM, Asheville, North Carolina 

Abstract: Nutrient pollution and Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) continue to threaten our national water supplies and costs an estimated $1Billion each year due to their impacts on tourism, health, industry and ecosystems. HABs occur all over the world naturally, and despite implementation of multiple strategies to reduce nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) accumulation in surface waters, blooms are occurring more frequently, lasting longer and geographically expanding across the globe, likely exacerbated by warming waters. The most common group of HABs in freshwater systems have been cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). In the United States, as of 2007, cyanobacteria have been documented in 43 of the 48 continental states. Cyanobacteria blooms (CyanoHABs) are of serious concern because of their ability to produce highly potent toxins.


Following the 2018 environmental HAB crisis in Florida, which resulted in devastating losses on both of Florida’s coastlines, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) authorized the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) to implement a 5-year harmful algal bloom technology development demonstration research program to identify, test, and demonstrate technologies that can be scaled up to meet the needs of harmful-algal-bloom-related events. An algae harvesting technology was selected to support ERDC’s Harmful Algal Bloom Interception and Transformation System (HABITATS) research project. The algae harvesting technology used in the HABITATS project, physically separates and removes intact algae cells from the water column. By physically removing the algae cells, the key nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) that fuel algal growth, as well as the cyanotoxins are removed. This groundbreaking research has the potential to valorize the recovered algae biomass as a biofuel, thereby converting a waste into a commercially usable feedstock to help offset the cost of HAB mitigation. The technology is scalable and can help mitigate and prevent HABs.



Finance, Policy and Education

Overcoming Barriers to Commercialization
24-Sep-20       10:00 a.m. CT

Jackman, Peter
Sternbe Kessler Goldstein & Fox

Understanding the Critical Issues and Best Practices for Your Patent Portfolio
Peter A. Jackman, Esq. Director Sterne Kessler Goldstein & Fox PLLC

Abstract: Can secret sales of your commercial product before filing a patent application covering the product preclude patent protection?  Are certain aspects your algal technologies even eligible for patent protection?  Do you have freedom to operate in view of third party patents?  There have been significant Supreme Court, Federal Circuit and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office updates regarding the on-sale bar, patent eligibility guidelines and Inter Partes Reviews that significantly impact these issues.  The presentation will discuss these recent updates as well as best practices to minimize the risk of patent eligibility or invalidation and to maximize enforcement strategies. 

Drage, James
Algaculture Project

Getting Funding for Algae Based Businesses in 2020
James Drage  Algal Ventures

Abstract: This has become something of an annual presentation (7 of the past 8 ABO Summits since 2011). Each year I talk about the basics that never change as well as the newest trends, tips and tricks to raising funding from investors. The focus is on venture capital and venture debt but we also touch on angel, strategic, and foreign investors, public markets, etc. Each year many attendees, including almost all small companies, confirm that lack of investor funding in algae start-up and early stage businesses is still a major problem - more than a decade after algae supposedly became an industry. There is still too much dependence on large government grants and tax credits, which while important, shouldn't be required for this great industry. In 2020 the presentation will focus on helping participants understand that mainstream professional investment capital is the fuel that every industry requires if it is ever going to become a mainstream professional investment and with case study comparisons to plant-based "meat". There are "must haves" that all professional investors look for and the presentation will present them and discuss how algae entrepreneurs and founders can impress them and improve the odds of getting funding. We will go quickly through the basics right through to advanced techniques to get funding and participants will leave with practical ideas to put into use.  

Marrapese, Martha
Wiley LLP

TSCA Microorganism Submissions:  Facts and Fiction
Martha Marrapese, Esq. Partner Wiley LLP

Abstract: Industrial platforms that rely on the use of biotechnology are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Since 2016, there are been many changes in the process for reviewing new chemical submissions. More detail than ever is needed for submissions for new transgenic microorganisms.


Over the last decade, the use of biotechnology has gone well beyond traditional enzyme and ethanol manufacture to enable a host of industrial products – butanol, succinic acid, polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), polylactic acid (PLA), fragrances, lubricants, and fuels. The use of microbes in agriculture and their classification as pesticides, plant growth regulators, or fertilizers is coming to the forefront as product development in this area matures. In the future, products such as cowless leather and bioluminescent microbes may be developed for consumer uses and these would be subject to EPA’s jurisdiction under TSCA.


Listeners will walk away from this presentation with a current and clear understanding of what is happening in Washington, DC on these topics and what they need to plan for to go to market.

Ten Eyck, Richard
Association of American Feed Control Officials

Streamlined AAFCO Feed Ingredient Definition Requests
Richard Ten Eyck, Chair of AAFCO ingredient definitions committee, AAFCO

Abstract: See the recent revisions to the safety data package requirements for new animal food ingredients. We'll also provide updates on the process including the results to shorten timelines in the Official adoption process. Finally we'll demonstrate the new validation software to evaluate ingredient lists on labeling. AAFCO is an association of regulatory agencies tasked with oversight of the animal food industry. We strive to be the trusted leader, building collaboration and regulatory uniformity, to safeguard animal feed.

Laurens, Lieve
National Renewable Energy Laboratory / ABO Technical Standards Chair






Organic Substrates: Incorporating Waste Carbon for Increased Productivity and Remediation
24-Sep-20       11:45 a.m. CT

Barry, Amanda
Sandia National Laboratory

Turning Over a New Leaf: Cultivation of Multiple Algae Strains for Biofuels and Bioproducts with Plant Waste
Amanda N. Barry (Los Alamos National Lab); Jenna Schambach (Los Alamos National Lab); Anna Finck (Los Alamos National Lab); Christopher Hunt (U.S. Forest Service)

Abstract: Improving productivity and lipid concentration in microalgae is important for the economical success of both biofuels and algae products. Building upon our discovery that some algae can both improve growth and increase lipid content with mixotrophic cultivation on plant substrates (Vogler et al. 2018), we examined the growth and lipid productivity of five algae strains with four different plant substrates, including yard waste, at multiple scales. Algae strains were selected for industrial relevance to both biofuels and bioproducts, in collaboration with industrial partners. We discovered that at flask scale, four of the five strains demonstrated improved biomass and lipid production with the addition of plant waste. These studies were performed in flasks with and without CO2 addition and scaled up to outdoor minipond raceways. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transcriptomic analyses yield clues to possible mechanisms of algae attachment to plant residues and substrate utilization. The results of these studies and future plans of the DOE-funded Leveraging Algae Traits for Fuels (LEAF) project will be presented.

Pflucker, Steven

High Productivity Mixotrophic Culturing of Scenedesmus obliquus on Wastewater/Waste Carbon for Biofuel Production
Steven Pflucker - Heliae Development*

Abstract: Algae offer a promising alternative to fossil fuels due to their ability to convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into organic molecules that can then be converted into conventional fuels and energy. Unfortunately, the growth rates of purely phototrophic algal cultures are substantially lower than what is achieved in the fermentation of heterotrophic microorganisms and the requirement of shallow ponds to facilitate proper light penetration into cultures results in the need for significant land investment to achieve relevant production volumes. Some algae are also capable of mixotrophy, the combination of phototrophic and heterotrophic growth, which can shift algal culturing closer to the growth rates seen in fermentation, while also requiring lower land usage as ponds can be made deeper to increase production volume. Here we describe the efforts to quantify the contributions of phototrophic and heterotrophic growth in mixotrophic cultures of Scenedesmus obliquus (DOE0152z) and expand from axenic cultures grown in lab conditions to outdoor raceway ponds. Furthermore, we explore the use of municipal wastewater as a media source and various waste sources for the organic carbon substrate. The results of which show a potentially robust process that could significantly increase outdoor growth rates, increase lipid concentration, and allow for the cultivation of a mixotrophic pond with multiple partial harvests for 28 days in outdoor conditions.

Arora, Neha
University of South Florida

Mixotrophic Cultivation of C. vulgaris Using Sweet Sorghum Bagasse to Reduce Cost and Enhance Sustainability
1. Dr. Neha Arora Patel College of Global Sustainability, University of South Florida (USF) Tampa, FL 2. Ms. Enlin Lo Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, University of South Florida (USF), Tampa, FL 3.Dr. George P. Philippidis Patel College of Global Sustainability, University of South Florida (USF), Tampa, FL

Abstract: A few microalgal strains can simultaneously assimilate CO2 and organic carbon sources resulting in higher biomass yield and lipid content that may reduce cost and enhance sustainability of algal products. In the present investigation a low-cost medium was developed from sweet sorghum bagasse (SSB) for cultivation of Chlorella vulgaris under mixotrophic conditions. Critical process parameters, including initial cell density (cells/mL), amount of SSB hydrolysate (%), and salinity (ppt), were optimized using response surface methodology (RSM) to increase lipid productivity. The temporal changes in the biochemical composition (lipid, carbohydrate, protein, and photosynthetic pigments) and nutrient uptake (nitrogen, phosphate and sugars) of C. vulgaris indicated a shift of carbon flux from carbohydrate to lipid production during early stationary phase. The fatty acid profile and projected biodiesel properties were compatible with international fuel standards. Moreover, analysis of intracellular lipid peroxidation, reactive oxygen species formation, and esterase and antioxidant activity elucidated the metabolic flexibility of C. vulgaris in SSB hydrolysate as compared to pure sugars (glucose + xylose). The results indicate that inexpensive SSB hydrolysate could be used as a sustainable feedstock for cultivating microalgae.

Sambusiti, Cecilia
TOTAL SA - PERL – Pôle D’Etudes et de Recherche de Lacq

Cultivation of Nannochloropsis oculata in Saline Oil & Gas Wastewater Supplemented With Anaerobic Digestion Effluent as a Nutrient Source
Cecilia Sambusiti1*, Aurélien Parsy1, Patrick Baldoni-Andrey1, Thomas Elan2, Frédéric Périé2  1TOTAL SA, PERL – Pôle d’Etudes et de Recherche de Lacq, Pôle Economique 2, BP 47 – RD 817, 64170 Lacq (France)  2 TOTAL SA, Avenue Larribau 64018 Pau Cedex (France)

* Corresponding author:

Abstract: This work investigates the feasibility of growing marine microalgae Nannochloropsis oculata in a mix of seawater and saline produced water (i.e. from petroleum extraction), supplemented with liquid digestate (i.e. the organic waste from biogas production) as source of organic carbon and nutrients. Three-stage cultures were conducted by varying the produced water loading in the culture medium (from 0 up to 50% v/v), supplemented with 5% v/v of liquid digestate and seawater. Growth parameters (i.e. growth rate and microalgae concentration) as well as nitrogen (N-NH4 or N-NO3) and organic carbon (COD) removal efficiencies were monitored. Results revealed that the growth of Nannochloropsis oculata on produced water and liquid digestate is feasible (for salinity < 60 g.L-1), preventing the consumption of fresh water for microalgae growth. Diluted digestate is a rich source of nutrients and allow similar growth than synthetic medium, preventing the consumption of chemical sources of nutrients. Acclimatization of microalgae had a positive effect on the final microalgae concentration, but it does not seem to positively influence their kinetic growth. A dissolved organic carbon removal up to 70% was observed, in part due to the competition with native bacteria and due to the volatilization of some compounds as volatile fatty acids and/or BTEX present in digestate and produced water, respectively. Microalgae were also able to uptake nitrogen (N-NH4 or N-NO3) and some metals (i.e. Fe), suggesting their bioremediation ability.

Torres-Tiji, Yasin
University of California San Diego

Advancing the Green Dream - Production and Secretion of a Human Recombinant Protein by Chlamydomonas reinhardtii Grown in a Heterotrophic Bioreactor
Yasin Torres-Tiji - UCSD, Cal-CAB Francis J. Fields - UCSD, Cal-CAB Stephen P. Mayfield - UCSD, Cal-CAB

Abstract: Microalgae have been proven to be a fantastic resource of bioproducts, ranging from cheap commodities like biofuels, feed and food to expensive high-value products like nutraceuticals and recombinant therapeutic proteins. Traditional biotechnological hosts such as Escherichia coli, Saccharomyces cerevisae and CHO cells have dominated the market of recombinant proteins, but with novel research it is becoming more evident that microalgae are a very appealing alternative. Microalgae combine several of the advantages of the different traditional hosts: capability to express and correctly fold complex recombinant proteins, efficiently post-translationally modify proteins, no hyperglycosylation of proteins, very low production cost and Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) status. To prove the potential of microalgae as recombinant protein biofactories we engineered a complex human recombinant protein to be synthesized by the alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The recombinant protein was then targeted for secretion to the extracellular media, thus greatly simplifying purification costs as well as ensuring that the correct PTMs would be present. This recombinant strain of C. reinhardtii was grown heterotrophically in a bioreactor to achieve high cell density cultures. Concomitantly, growing the microalgae at high cell concentration yielded the highest to date recombinant protein yields, thus proving that this system could be economically viable for the production of certain recombinant proteins.



Products & Markets

Soil Amendments and Biofertilizers
28-Sep-20       10:00 a.m. CT

Goemann, Hannah
Montana State University

Plant Growth, Nutrient Cycling, and Microbial Community Response to Cyanobacterial Biofertilizer in a Bionenergy Cropping System
Hannah Goemann, Montana State University Brent Peyton, Montana State University Rebecca Mueller, Montana State University Justin Gay, Montana State University

Abstract: Interest in biofertilizers as sustainable alternatives to chemical fertilizers has developed in recent years as the negative environmental impacts of chemical fertilization such as groundwater contamination and decreased soil quality are becoming increasingly evident. Nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria are promising biofertilizers as they provide both nitrogen and carbon to the soil, and if successfully established, may reduce long-term fertilizer inputs. However, the effect of biofertilizers on the soil microbiome is largely unknown and unexplored, despite the vital roles soil microorganisms play in driving major soil nutrient cycles. Therefore, we sought to understand how a nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterial biofertilizer (CBF) affected crop growth, nutrient cycling, and the soil microbiome over a three-year field study with perennial bioenergy crops switchgrass and tall wheatgrass. Results suggest that CBF can compete with chemical fertilization in crop growth while minimally affecting soil nutrient cycling. Phylogenetic analysis of the soil microbial community indicates that fungi were more sensitive to changes in fertilization than bacteria and that CBF boosted fungal diversity compared to chemical fertilization. These results indicate that CBF has the potential to improve agricultural sustainability by reducing dependence on chemical fertilizers and may have a dynamic relationship with the soil microbiome that warrants further investigation to understand the effects of CBF on long-term soil ecosystem functioning.

Alvarez De la Hoz, Adriana
University of Minnesota

Soil Mineralization of Microalgal Biomass: An Incubation Experiment on Nitrogen and Phosphorus Release in an Arable Soil
Full names of authors:  Alvarez D., Adriana *1; Weyers, Sharon L.2; Gardner, Robert D (deceased).1.   Institutions for all authors:  1Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN. 2USDA ARS North Central Soil Conservation Laboratory, Morris, MN.

Abstract: Agriculture needs to increase productivity and minimize the environmental footprint. Microalgae provide a promising platform to improve soil fertility while protecting the soil resource base. Unlike chemical fertilizers, microalgae are as a source of carbon and enhance soil health. Mineralization of microalgal biomass into plant available forms of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) was compared to chemical fertilizers (urea and triple superphosphate, TSP) in aerobic incubations conducted at 25°C for 42 days. The cyanobacteria Anabaena cylindrica (1611) and a local green alga (SLS1) were grown in bag reactors and the biomass was harvested, washed and mixed with soil (arable mollisol). Treatments for N mineralization used a fixed N application rate of 0.78 g N·kg soil-1, treatments for P mineralization reflected algal-P. Treatments were: (T1) unfertilized control; (T2) 100% urea-N; (T3) 75% urea-N + 25% 1611-N at 0.02 g algal-P·kg soil-1; (T4) 75% urea-N + 25% SLS1-N at 0.07 g algal-P·kg soil-1; (T5) 100% 1611-N at 0.09 g algal-P·kg soil-1; (T6) 100% SLS1-N at 0.28 g algal-P·kg soil-1; (T7) 75% 1611-N + 25% SLS1-N at 0.14 algal-P·kg soil-1; (T8) 0.09 g TSP-P kg soil-1; (T9) 0.28 g TSP-P·kg soil-1; and (T10) 0.09 g SLS1-P·kg soil-1. Net N mineralized was greatest at day 3 and declined over time for most treatments. It was highest in treatments with urea (T2, T3 and T4) than with algae only, and higher with the cyanobacteria (T5) than with the green alga (T6 and T7). For all treatments, N mineralization started with active ammonification in days 3-7, followed by gradual nitrification. At day 42, 71%, 50% and 39% of the total applied N in T2, T5 and T6, respectively, was mineralized, illustrating a slower rate of mineralization for algal N. Soil available P decreased over time for most treatments indicating an increased biological demand. Treatments T6 and T9 showed the greatest P availability at the end of the incubation period (90-96 mg·kg soil-1). Available P was higher for TSP (T9) than for the green alga (T6) in the first 21 days which may translate into lower P losses from soil fertilized with the green alga. Available P from algal treatments of a lower P fertilization rate (T5 and T10) did not differ from TSP (T8) during the incubation period. These results advance our knowledge for future developments of algae-based agricultural solutions.

Kumar, Sandeep
Old Dominion University

Protein Extraction by Flash Hydrolysis for Biostimulants Production
Sforza Eleonora1, Borella Lisa1,  Thakkar Anuj3, Bertucco Alberto1, Pituello Chiara 2, Neresini Massimo 2, Kumar Sandeep3 1 Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Padova, Italy 2 SICIT GROUP S.p.A., Italy 3 Civil & Environmental Engineering Dept., Old Dominion University, Virginia, USA

Abstract: Nowadays many different sources of biostimulants are investigated, ranging from the well studied humic substances to food waste. Among them, microalgae are promising raw materials as they have a high protein content and produce phytohormones and hormone-like compounds. Moreover, microalgae can be cultivated in large-scale plants showing high productivities, with less cultivation and harvesting problem compared to seaweeds. Even though many research projects have shown good biostimulation activity of microalgal biomass on several cultivars, it is not clear yet how the downstream processing of the biomass produced may affect its applicability.  Flash hydrolysis (FH) is a hydrothermal treatment process that operates under subcritical water medium and it was already used to successfully fractionate proteins from microalgae. In a previous work, it was demonstrated that these proteins can be extracted from wet algae within 10 s of residence time in a continuous flow process, without the use of any chemicals. Accordingly, this technique is suitable for application in agriculture, thus avoiding the addition of other substances that can affect the plants metabolism. The study also showed that the nitrogen extraction on dry basis ranged from 30% to 66% depending on temperature, with the highest value measured at 280 °C. It was also shown that the extracted protein was present mainly as water-soluble peptides and free amino acids.  In this work, a filamentous cyanobacteria belonging to Oscillatoria genus was cultivated in continuous photobioreactor, with biomass productivity up to 2.55±0.25 g L-1d-1 and a protein content up to 68%.  The biomass obtained was then subjected to FH to evaluate the efficiency of the protein recovery. This protein-rich fraction was then subjected to biostimulations tests. Absence of phytotoxicity was verified based on germination tests, and hormone-like activity bioassays were performed. Finally, the biostimulating activity of the protein extract was compared to that of the untreated biomass, and a preliminary evaluation of the technical feasibility of the process at industrial scale was assessed.  

Azzarella, Steve



Ramjohn, David
AlgEternal Technologies

Microalgal Soil Amendment Anecdotal Results with Suggested Future Research Areas
David Ramjohn, CEO, AlgEternal Technologies, LLC

Abstract: AlgEternal Technologies, LLC, has been producing and commercializing a microalgal polyculture, trade name "ElixEarth"_, since early 2018. Since then, AlgEternal has received anecdotal feedback from users of the product, which indicate successful applications on a wide range of plants and soil types. Grasses for fodder/pasture, lawns, row crops, seasonal vegetables, ornamentals, have all been treated successfully, with reported reduction in synthetic fertilizers and increase in quality/taste. Here we present the raw images and accompanying testimonials from users of ElixEarth. No claims are made by AlgEternal on the veracity of what was reported to us and we do not offer these as independent, scientific evidence for the efficacy of the product.  However, we present these as indicators of areas for independent research and testable hypotheses on the benefits of microalgal soil amendments and possible mechanisms/functions of algal bioactivity in soil health.



Engineering & Analysis

Advances in Extraction, Processing and Conversion of Algae
28-Sep-20       11:45 a.m. CT

Crocker, Mark
University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research

Comparison of Biomass Processing Schemes for the Production of Algae-based Bioplastics
Ashton Zeller, Algix LLC  Stephanie Kesner, University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research  Robert Pace, University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research and Department of Chemistry Mark Crocker, University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research and Department of Chemistry

Abstract: Large-scale microalgae cultivation represents one approach for the capture and re-use of industrial CO2 emissions. For this approach to be economically viable, it is necessary to process the algal biomass produced into valuable products. Examples of such products include nutraceuticals, specialty chemicals and human food additives. Unfortunately, many of these higher value products also have very limited markets, which have the potential to saturate when scaling algae production facilities to multi-acre scales. In this respect, bioplastics appear to be hold considerable promise, representing a significant (and growing) market, while commanding higher prices for the biomass feedstock than other bulk applications such as fuels and animal feed. Algae-based bioplastics represent a drop-in replacement for many everyday products, including flexible foams, synthetic fibers, food packaging films and even 3-D printing filament. Given that protein is the most desirable component of the algal biomass in bioplastic production, the removal of lipids and carbohydrate from algal biomass should yield a highly proteinaceous solid − suitable for use as a feedstock for bioplastics production − while facilitating the co-production of lipid- and sugar-based products (e.g., chemicals, nutraceuticals, fuels, etc). Moreover, concentrating the protein in this manner may be beneficial for the properties of the resulting bioplastics.


In this contribution, we report on a comparison of the use of whole-cell Scenedesmus acutus biomass with the use of proteinaceous feedstock produced Scenedesmus fractionation for the production of poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT). In the field of bioplastics PBAT is of particular interest, since it can be marketed as a biodegradable alternative to low-density polyethylene, having many similar properties, including flexibility and resilience, that allow its use in a variety of products such as plastic bags and wraps. Results obtained from mechanical testing show an overall improvement in properties for the PBAT-algae bioplastic prepared from the proteinaceous solid obtained by fractionation compared to the whole biomass. These results have the potential to open up new applications for algae-based bioplastics.

Chen, Peter
Colorado State University

Heat Integration and Optimization of Hydrothermal Liquefaction and Combined Algal Processing
Peter Chen (1), Ryan Davis (2), Lieve Laurens (2), and Jason C. Quinn (1) (1) Department of Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA (2) National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, USA

Abstract: Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) is a thermochemical conversion technology well-suited for algae biofuels due to its ability to process whole wet biomass and relative agnosticism to feed composition. Though HTL offers technical advantages over some conventional downstream processes, the high temperatures (250 to 350 °C) and pressures required for HTL still create a nontrivial demand for fossil energy input. Current economic and sustainability assessments of HTL have been limited to a specific operating temperature of 350 °C. Furthermore, there is a highly non-linear relationship between temperature and the thermochemical properties of subcritical water at HTL operating conditions, and it is unknown how current studies estimate these properties. Recent work at National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has shown it is possible to achieve optimal product yields at temperatures below 350 °C, which could improve the sustainability metrics of HTL. The process has opportunities to decrease energy demand through heat integration of feed and product streams, which can be optimized through pinch analysis techniques. This work leverages an Aspen Plus HTL model to evaluate the impact of different property estimation methods and optimization of heat integration at a wider range of operating conditions than reported in literature. It is expected that decreasing the HTL reaction temperature will highlight a trade-off between life-cycle metrics (global warming potential, net energy ratio) and fuel selling price relative to baseline conditions found in HTL literature. Optimization results are also compared between suitable property estimation methods, including the non-random two-liquid (NRTL) model, the Peng-Robinson equation of state, and modified steam tables. Preliminary results show that with heat integration optimized for a 320 °C reaction, the biocrude selling price can vary between $4.04 and $4.20 GGE-1 based on different property estimation methods alone.

Greene, Jonah
Colorado State University

Driving Down the Cost of Renewable Fuel Production through Co-hydrothermal Liquefaction of Microalgae and Crude Glycerol
Jonah M. Greene(1), Zheng Cui(2), Feng Cheng(3), Catherine E. Brewer(2), Umakanta Jena(2), Jason C. Quinn(1)*  (1) - Colorado State University (2) - New Mexico State University (3) - Worcestar Polytechnic Institute

Abstract: Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) is a proven technology used for the conversion of wet algae into upgradable biocrude. However, due to the high viscosity and dispersion of oil and solids in the liquid phase, the process can require the use of solvents to separate the final biocrude product. Furthermore, the high capital costs and potentially low biocrude yields associated with hydrothermal liquefaction of lipid-poor biomass can limit the economic feasibility of the process at scale ($10-20 per gallon of gasoline equivalent). There is an opportunity to synergistically couple algae with fatty acid-dense feedstocks to improve the economic viability. Crude glycerol is the main by-product from biodiesel production and a recent increase in global glycerol production has dramatically dropped the market value. Furthermore, the high energy density and low viscosity of glycerol make it a suitable candidate for co-hydrothermal liquefaction with microalgae. Experimental work performed at New Mexico State University has shown biocrude yields up to 58.8±0.8 wt% through co-hydrothermal liquefaction with crude glycerol, and successful phase separation without the use of solvents. Results from the experimental work have been used as inputs into the engineering process model which has served as the foundation for the techno-economic analysis used to evaluate the economic feasibility of co-HTL. Results from the modeling work show dramatic economic improvements compared to traditional HTL systems with a minimum fuel selling price as low as $1.45 per gallon of gasoline equivalent. The results from the modeling work, backed by experimental data, highlight the potential of co-HTL as a promising method to dramatically improve process economics and simultaneously utilize a by-product from the biodiesel industry.

Kempkes, Michael
Diversified Technologies, Inc.

Pulsed Electric Field Technology Assisted Extraction from Microalgae
Michael Kempkes*, Ian Roth, Diversified Technologies, Inc., Bedford, MA, USA Henri Gerken*, Arizona State University, AzCATI, Mesa, AZ, USA  Thomas Dempster*, Biofuels Center of Excellence, Santa Fe Community College, Santa Fe, NM, USA Arunas Stirke,, Center for Physical Sciences and Technology, Vilnius, Lithuania

Abstract: Recent work has driven the use of pulsed electric fields (PEF) to the forefront of extraction research for low cost extraction of oils from microalgae with promise observed primarily in microalgae with weak or compromised cell walls.  This research has led to significant success in the extraction of compounds such as phycoerythrin (PE), phycocyanin (PC), and lipids from different microalgae strains.  To test the efficacy of using pulsed electric fields to extract PE, we pulse treated freshwater-adapted Porphoridium purpurem at field strengths ranging from 0-39 kV/ A spectral scan of the supernatant after PEF treatment indicated that PE was released quite efficiently at field strengths above 20 kV/cm, while chlorophyll remained in the cells.  Microscopic analysis of PEF treated cells illustrated removal of phycoerythrin without cell disruption as cells changed from red to green while staying fully intact.  A similar approach was used to test the ability to extract PC from Spirulina platensis cells, with PC being liberated from cells after treatment with voltages above 10 kV/cm.  Though the extraction of PC was efficient, it required a short incubation period after application of the PEF treatment to see enhanced release of PC.  Finally, our initial tests indicated that PEF treatments above 10kV/cm altered the permeability of Chlorella vulgaris, as measured by staining with Sytox We then analyzed the effect of PEF treatment on lipid extraction from Chlorella vulgaris high oil biomass, where PEF treatment was applied prior to freeze drying. We measured a four-fold increase in extracted lipids with hexane after PEF treatment compared to untreated samples, and saw a similar four-fold increase with ethanol extracted lipids. Our results indicated that PEF treatment is a promising, low cost option for extracting pigments, proteins and lipids from microalgae.  This effort is funded by USDA NIFA Phase II SBIR Grant 2017-33610-27016.

Wendt, Lynn
Idaho National Laboratory

Utilization of Post-harvest Storage to Increase Value of Algae Biomass
Lynn Wendt, Idaho National Laboratory Bradley Wahlen, Idaho National Laboratory

Abstract: Wet anaerobic storage has been demonstrated to be an effective approach to mitigate for seasonal variation in algae productivity. Algae biomass (20% solids) stabilized by this approach retains greater than 90% of its initial dry matter for 180 days, enabling excess biomass produced in the summer to be preserved for conversion in the winter while maintaining a consistent supply to a biorefinery. This approach has been estimated to decrease the cost of producing algae biofuels by $0.32 per gallon of gasoline equivalent. In addition to retaining carbon, wet anaerobic storage has the potential to add value to the biomass by taking advantage of the long residence (up to 180 days) to accumulate chemical and fuel intermediates in situ. Easily accessible carbohydrates are converted into lactic, acetic and butyric acid during storage by the microbial community that is present at the time of harvest. In the context of a biorefinery, these value-add products could be recovered prior to conversion of the remaining algae biomass to fuels as an additional revenue stream, effectively reducing the cost of fuel production. While a mixture of organic acids is produced without additional input, there is the potential to maximize the production of a preferred product by altering the storage conditions or by including specific inoculants. To evaluate this potential, post-harvest algae biomass was inoculated with Clostridium butyricum or Lactobacillus casei prior to storage in order to enhance the production of butyric acid and lactic acid, respectively. Economic models were then used to assess the impact of co-product formation and algae biomass degradation on the cost of biofuel production. CO2 generated as a byproduct of fermentation also has the potential to further reduce algae cultivation costs if it is captured during storage and recycled to ponds, and the potential impact of this was assessed during lactic acid or butyric acid fermentation. Overall, co-product formation in long-term wet anaerobic storage can be an effective means of adding value to algae biomass and reducing the cost of associated biofuel production.




Algae Consortia and Microbiomes: Improving Culture Health and Performance through Diversity
29-Sep-20       10:00 a.m. CT

Edwards, Bobby

Enhancing Sustainable Production of Algal Biofuels using Electromagnetic Field Energy
* Bobby Edwards, School of Environment, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida Ashvini Chauhan, School of Environment, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida John  Ericsson, President and CEO of AlgaStar, LLC Gulf Breeze, Florida 

Abstract: In this study, we compared the increase of biomass and lipid productivity of 10 previously isolated consortiums that are native to Tallahassee’s municipal wastewater holding tank. A preliminary taxonomic analysis of the 10 consortiums revealed that these are a mix of microalgae, cyanobacteria, bacteria and fungi. We are in the process of further evaluating this diversity of this microorganism mixture using metagenomics because there is a strong possibility of a beneficial symbiotic association between the above stated microorganisms for both- wastewater remediation and production of lipids. We also studied Nannochloropsis oculata as a Florida native marine alga in the same growth media. When a comparison was drawn between the abilities of these strains to produce lipids, we found that consortia 4 and consortia 9 were the most efficient when grown in synthetic BG11 media. Our next goal was to compare the consortia’s C4 and C9 alga group and native Nannochloropsis oculata growth efficiencies in chlorinated influent wastewater with electromagnetic field biostimulation (EMF) since excessive nutrients in wastewater is known to inhibit efficient lipid productivity. Towards this end, exposing algae to low energy levels of EMF provided by the BioStim research system, substantially increased lipid and biomass productivity. We conducted several 10-day experiments in duplicates using BioStim EMF treatments in chlorinated influent wastewater and analyzed lipid productivity by using 3 mg (dry weight biomass) by the sulfo-phospho-vanillin (SPV) method. Overall, our findings indicate that our mixed consortia (4+9) had an increase of biomass of 373% with a lipid increase of 71%, consortia 9 had an increase of biomass of 351% with a lipid increase of 217%. Nannochloropsis oculata had an increase biomass of 129% and a lipid increase of 418% respectively with BioStim EMF stimulation. As a result of these test results, we see a bright future for the production of algal biofuels and potentially to other valuable algae produced biochemical and nutraceutical products when using low energy levels of EMF.

Mayali, Xavier
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Scaling up Algal-bacterial Co-cultures to Alleviate Temperature and Light Stress
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory General Automation Lab Technologies

Abstract: One goal to improve the economic feasibility of growing algae for biomass is to alleviate inhospitable conditions during summer months in hot climates caused by heat stress combined with high photon flux (light stress). We are investigating how the algal microbiome, including microbes attached to the surface of algal cells, play a role in mediating this stress. We are using Desmodesmus strain C046 as a model alga to test this hypothesis. In order to screen a large number of microbial communities, we use a microwell system where single algal cells are deposited into 2 nanoliter microwells and incubated under high light and temperature. Any bacterial cells that were also deposited in the well also proliferate. Wells with high growth rates are subsequently transferred into 96 well plates and ultimately scaled up to larger volumes. One noteworthy finding in our work is that growth improvements at ultra-low volumes do not necessarily scale up to the next higher volume (200 microliters), and experiments further scaling up to 100 milliliters also do not correspond to growth results at lower volumes. Even with this lack of ability to scale-up results from microscale to microscale, our experiments have still yielded microbiome enrichments that enable Desmodesmus cultures to grow faster and/or increase biomass yield under high light and temperature conditions, compared to the original Desmodesmus culture which includes its original microbiome. We also demonstrate that the algal microbiome exhibits moderate changes in community structure between stress and non-stress conditions, suggesting that specific bacterial cells respond differently to such conditions.

Liao, Wei
Michigan State University

Development of a Robust Algae-bacteria Assemblage to Efficiently Accumulate Biomass on Formate
Yurui Zheng, Carly Daiek, Wei Liao, Yan (Susie) Liu, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI; Jeffrey Czajka, Yinjie Tang, Energy, Environmental, and Chemical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, MO

Abstract: Rapid growth of the world's population, along with accelerating industrialization and expanding urbanization, has led to a dramatic increase of carbon emissions that have exceeded the amount that can be taken up by natural sinks. Reducing CO2 emission is urgently needed to stabilize Earth's surface temperature and avoid catastrophic consequences in the future. Using algae to capture CO2 has attracted a lot of interests in recent years as they can simultaneously fix CO2 and generate value-added macromolecules (proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids). However, the commercial implementation of such technology to efficiently capture CO2 from fossil-derived flue gases is not yet a reality due to several major challenges associated with algae cultivation, such as low efficiency of carbon transfer to algal medium, culture instability and biological contaminants, high energy demand of algal biomass processing, and less diversified products of algal biomass. This study focused on two main challenges from this list ⬠  efficiency of carbon transfer and robust algal assemblage. Formate is used as the target CO2 intermediate compound for this study since it requires the minimum energy to reduce CO2 into a dense and liquid carbon form to overcome gas-liquid mass transfer limitations of CO2 for biological conversion. The objective of this study was to develop and optimize a robust algal assemblage to efficiently utilize formate and accumulate algal biomass. The study concluded a robust algal a

Gerlach, Robin
Montana State University

Characterization of the Microbiome of High pH-High Alkalinity Algal Cultures
Huyen Bui, Isaac Miller, Calvin Cicha, Blake Wiedenheft, Matthew Fields, Robin Gerlach

Abstract: Chlorella sorokiniana SLA-04, a green alga isolated from Soap Lake (Washington State), is capable of growing at high pH (~10.2) and high alkalinity (>50mEq). High pH-high alkalinity algal cultivation has the potential to drastically reduce the cost and increase the range of possible locations for industrial scale algal biomass production for biofuel and high value product generation. High pH-high alkalinity conditions allow for high productivity algal growth in the absence of concentrated CO2 sources since this condition promotes the effective scavenging of atmospheric CO2 and non-limiting concentrations of inorganic carbon for photosynthesis. Additionally, high pH-high alkalinity conditions appear to be inhibitory to many competing mesophilic microalgae, bacteria, archaea, viruses and predatory zooplankton, thereby resulting in a stable algal culture with a relatively low-diversity microbiome. We have begun characterizing this community using microscopic and phylogenetic approaches, which has allowed us to identify potentially beneficial and detrimental interactions between algae and other microorganisms that thrive under high pH-high alkalinity conditions.  High pH/high alkalinity cultures of Chlorella sorokiniana strain SLA-04 grown in the laboratory are associated with bacteria from three phyla while outdoor cultivation in raceway ponds recruited a fairly stable microbiome of approximately 22 bacterial phyla. We also observed the establishment of Scenedesmaceae, an invading alga, under low alkalinity conditions.  We are in the process of characterizing the physiology of strain SLA-04 and its interactions with associated microorganisms and isolated 19 bacterial strains from indoor and outdoor cultures of SLA-04. In addition, we recently established axenic cultures of SLA-04 to be used in future experiments. Algal-prokaryotic interactions are being characterized using genomic, metagenomic and metatranscriptomic sequencing in combination with activity-based and metabolomic analyses (BONCAT, NanoSIMS, and Raman confocal spectromicroscopy). These data are providing the foundation for developing a metabolic network model, which will guide both microbiome and algal genome engineering approaches (e.g. CRISPR-Cas9) for overall cultivation improvement. Our current goal is to understand and exploit the synergistic effects of algae-microbiome interactions for maxi

Cardenas, Ana
Universidad San Francisco Quito (USFQ)

Domestic Wastewater Treatment with Native Microalgal-bacterial Consortia from the Ecuadorian Amazon (NCEA) and the Galápagos Islands (NCGI)
Ana Cárdenas-Orrego1, Pascale Champagne2, Camila Estrada4, Samantha Posso3 and Valeria Ochoa-Herrera1,4*

1Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Instituto de Microbiología, Diego de Robles y Vía Interoceánica, Quito, Ecuador. 2 Queen's University, Kingston, Department of Civil Engineering, Kingston, Canada. 3Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Colegio de Ciencias Biológicas y Ambientales, Diego de Robles y Vía Interoceánica, Quito, Ecuador. 4Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Colegio de Ciencias e Ingeniería, Instituto Biósfera, Diego de Robles y Vía Interoceánica, Quito, Ecuador. 5Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA  *-Corresponding author:

Abstract: The consortia of microalgae-bacteria are considered a sustainable strategy for wastewater treatment due to their synergistic ability to assimilate nutrients such as, and degrade organic matter. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the ability of 12 native consortia of microalgae-bacteria, collected in the Ecuadorian Amazon and the Galapagos Islands to eliminate organic matter and nutrients as a viable alternative to wastewater treatment in Ecuador. Batch experiments were carried out using domestic (WW) and sterile (SWW) wastewater. Wastewater was collected as a composite sample at Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) and analyzed for its physico-chemical characteristics. Each native consortium was grown in 1L photobioreactors in WW and SWW at 23°C for 15 days, with air bubbles and 12:12 photoperiods at a light intensity of 40 molm-2s-1. Three conditions of batch photobioreactors were examined: 1) organic and nutrient removal, 2) abiotic control, and 3) non-viable microalgae cell control. Experimental results indicate that the NCEA when they were cultivated in WW reached on average higher rates of elimination of NH4+-N and PO43—P compared to the NCGI. However, COD removal rate was higher in the NCGI. Furthermore, the NCEA, and NCGI showed the highest removal efficiencies of NH4+-N, and COD 87.12.4%, and 93.80.3% (NCEA), and 76.352.06%, and 88.23.06% (NCGI), respectively. Additionally, in SWW, the elimination rates of PO43--P were higher in the NCEA 1000.1% compared to those obtained in WW. This suggests that the microbial community present in WW and the composition of the consortium generate cooperative relationships that can significantly influence the bioremediation process. Hence, treatment with NCEA and NCGI native consortia could support the feasibility of incorporating native consortiums of microalgae and bacteria in wastewater treatment processes in Ecuador. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study on the elimination of nutrients and organic matter present in raw domestic wastewater, using native consortia in Ecuador.



Products & Markets

29-Sep-20       11:45 a.m. C+I119:J123T

Vozhdayev, Georgiy
Purebiomass, Inc.

Bringing Value and Sustainability to Commercial Scale Algae Cultivation with the TriPAR System by PureBiomass.
George Vozhdayev - PureBiomass Inc. Dr. John Barrett - PureBiomass Inc. Blair Paul -  - PureBiomass Inc. Dr. Skye Thomas Hall - PureBiomass Inc.

Abstract: TriPAR stands for Triangular Prism Algae Reactor, a new algae cultivation system under development by PureBiomass, Inc., which is intended to bring greater value and sustainability to the commercial algae production industry.  At 100 feet long and 55,000-L, PureBiomass's  large-scale TriPAR system is made to be among the world's largest, closed photobioreactor systems available for commercial distribution.  Design of the system brings innovation in the following key areas that control process economics and sustainability.  These include:   1.) Crop Protection, 2.) Minimizing Process Downtime, 3.) Maximizing  Specific Productivity, 4.) Improvement of Harvest / Dewatering, 5.) Resource Efficiency (media, energy, and CO2), 6) System Automation and 7) Scalability.  In this presentation we discuss the innovative approaches taken by PureBiomass, as well as present some results of preliminary growth trials and insights gained through process modeling. 

Falco, Robert
SolarClean Fuels, LLC

Algal Growth and Biomass Yield in Game-changing, Growth Enhancing Mixing Spectrum (GEMS) Photobioreactors (PBRs)
Robert E. Falco,  SolarClean Fuels LLC Toivo Kallas, Algoma Algal Biotechnology LLC

Abstract: SolarClean Fuels (SCF) has developed a novel, patent pending PBR design that employs deeply impressed helical grooves within PBR tubes to create eddies that generate efficient, transverse fluid flows that move algae across the tube diameter at very low mean flow velocities; thus, requiring very low input energies. The resulting Growth Enhancing Mixing Spectrum (GEMS) design creates crossflows that continuously move algae between dark zones at the tube center and photic zones near the surface thus creating light/dark cycles that can maximize photosynthetic productivity and prevent photon wastage and photooxidative damage. Even at very low flow speeds, GEMS mixing causes fluid flow to continuously generate higher intensity turbulence at all scales of motion than in smooth pipes flowing at higher speeds, and thus more vigorously mixes CO2 and nutrients with algae. Moreover, GEMS PBRs can be made with low-cost, flexible tubing, have low maintenance, and require no moving parts to create the GEMS motions, enhancing sustainability. They are inherently scalable because of the fluid dynamic mechanisms employed, which will be described. We believe the GEMS design represents a potentially revolutionary advance that should enable scaleup to large diameter tubes, at much lower cost than multiple smaller tubes, operating at low flow and energy, and thus significantly lower costs and higher productivities than the best, current, open pond raceways or PBRs. Algoma Algal Biotechnology (AABT) is partnering with SCF to test the performance of fast-growing, Synechococcus cyanobacteria in GEMS relative to standard, smooth-tube PBRs. AABT has already demonstrated that UTEX 2973, the fastest-growing, known phototroph on earth, and PCC 7002 grow well on iron foundry flue-gas CO2 and wastewater. Recently discovered PCC 11901, which grows almost as fast as 2973 but to much higher densities, is also being tested. We believe the GEMS PBRs hold game-changing potential enabling economically sustainable algal production for feeds, foods, fuels, and wastewater treatment. Growth data and flow visualizations will be presented.

Vaeth, Hans
Algoliner GmbH & Co. KG

New Concept to Realize Photobioreactors by Producing the Pipes on Site
Hans Vaeth, CEO of Algoliner

Abstract: The cultivation of microalgae will play a huge role in the future to overcome climate change and global growing of population. Microalgae will play a role in the field of food, feed, cosmetic, waste water cleaning, negative emissions, pharmacy and alternative energy. Closed photo bioreactors are playing here a large role either as single source- or in combination with open pond cultivation.  Algoliner developed a method to produce the required pipes on site in any length. Hence no transport and no connecting joints are required any more. The abandonment of connecting joints allowed modifying the pipes to integrate a holding device. Hence the required raw material is less than half of common concepts, while the physical properties of the parts increased. We are using high valued acrylic glass which guaranties a life time of at least 30 years and it can be perfectly recycled. Due to the reduced costs and benefits of the layout, the cultivation companies can reduce their costs. This will provide work for our customers such as farmers and other companies who produce microalgae also in disadvantaged regions where agriculture is difficult.  Algoliner will produce their own mobile factories, designing and developing all components.  Using the concept of modular transverse matrix allows using mass produced standard elements to arrange them in various combinations to provide cultivation systems for every application from high valid pharmacy indoor cultivation with artificial light to outdoor waste water treatment and CO2 capturing in deserts. The Algoliner concept allows the realization of PBRs for about 50% of the price of conventional concepts. Beyond the price, the Algoliner concept clearly outperforms all competitors in versatility and sustainability.

Sluyters, Jeremy
Symbiotic EnviroTek Inc.

Controlling and Optimizing the Algae Growth Process
Arthur Deane Jeremy Sluyters

Abstract: By controlling all the conditions of the growth process, algae can stay in the exponential growth phase and grow at densities twenty times higher than conventional farming methods. Symbiotic’s patented algae cultivation process optimizes the conditions for growing algae under phototrophic and mixotrophic conditions. This process loses minimal water, does not crash, does not get contaminated, uses very little land, and is consistently harvested at 4-5 g/l AFDW every 4 days. Heat created by the artificial lighting is recirculated through the reactor and process building allowing for the growth of algae in any climate, especially in northern and southern regions where the harsh climates are not suitable for traditional algae farming.


By growing at this rate, the system provides a viable cost-effective option for water treatment. Household sewage water, brewing wastewater, ethanol process fermentation syrup, cow paunch juice, and tequila distillation vinasse have all been tested and proven as suitable media for growing algae mixotrophically using Symbiotic’s photobioreactor.


An 8-month pilot project in a small Alberta, Canada town treated wastewater directly from the septic system, successful meeting and exceeding all the requirements identified by Alberta Environment. The resulting biomass was converted into biocrude by the National Research Council of Canada.


Optimizing the photobioreactor for food production of Chlorella Vulgaris yields high value plant protein quickly and in large scalable quantities. The reactor is easily scalable at 2m3, 26m3, and 106m3 and can be deployed in parallel to increase capacity. A 64 module Biofield™ can conservatively produce 4000 kg of dry Chlorella vulgaris per day.


For research institutions, the ability to grow algae at an accelerated rate will open up more opportunities and developments for algae research.


The cost of Symbiotic’s ACS photobioreactor is more expensive than ponds, but less than tube-based photobioreactors. The resulting algae density and carbon dioxide consumption offsets the additional operating costs of the photobioreactor.


In this presentation, Symbiotic will share how the patented process works, providing an alternative method to algae farming that is sure to generate discussion.

Wintersteller, Fritz

The Underlying Reasons for the Growing Adoption of Tubular Glass Systems by the Algae Industry
Fritz W. Wintersteller, SCHOTT AG

Abstract: Large tubular glass photobioreactors operate profitably since 20 years and new systems are under construction today. This presentation highlights the underlying reasons for the growing adoption of tubular glass systems by the algae industry. Tubular glass systems allow cultivations at high concentrations with high volumetric productivities. Production in closed systems is predictable and sustainable because of high bio-security and no evaporation of water. Glass maintains a high light transmission over many years of UV exposure. Glass has a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) certificate by the FDA. Its smooth and hard surface almost prevents biofilm formation and allows for easy, scratch free cleaning without causing production downtime. The high price of glass is a myth and the lifetime of over 50 years results in much lower total cost of ownership than systems made of disposable polymer materials. Finally, the presentation provides insights on the crystal-clear benefits of tubular glass photobioreactors.



Engineering & Analysis

Sustainability and Resource Availability Considerations
30-Sep-20       10:00 a.m. CT

Coleman, Andre
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Resource Availability, Use, and Disposal of Saline Groundwater for Microalgae Cultivation
Andre M. Coleman (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) Mark S. Wigmosta (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) Kshitij Parajuli (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) Timothy E. Seiple (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) Hongxiang Yan (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Abstract: The use of brackish and saline groundwater for microalgae cultivation provides an alternative and generally less competitive resource, providing a consistent year-round water supply. There are, however, tradeoffs between the use of saline and non-saline water for cultivation that need to be considered, some of which are location-specific dependencies.  In general, freshwater is less expensive to access and use, whereas the access, management, and disposal of saline water introduce additional system processes that in turn, may increase capital and operational costs. The reduced evaporation rates of saline water allow for less pond refilling; however, they also limit the role of evaporative cooling for thermal management. Saline strains of microalgae are often not subject to the same contamination and pathogen-induced culture crashes that freshwater strains are exposed to, thereby reducing operational downtime, though strain-dependent salinity requirements can increase the operational complexity. Finally, in contrast to fresh water, saline groundwater exhibit a higher degree of variability in its geochemistry, and can beneficially provide many required micronutrients, but also may contain toxins that are detrimental to a culture. In this study, the resource availability of both brackish and saline groundwaters within the conterminous U.S. are presented with respect to the experimentally-defined salinity ranges of dozens of strains. In addition, several case studies are presented that represent varying conditions, with respect to groundwater resources, meteorology, and cultivation operations, to reveal the resource requirement, energetics, and costs of 1) accessing saline groundwater, 2) the volumetric water demand to maintain strain-specific optimal growth salinity targets, and 3) various blowdown/brine disposal technologies.

Wu, May
Argonne National Laboratory

Towards Zero Freshwater Stress in Algal Biomass Production: Current and Future Potentials
May Wu Argonne National Laboratory Mi-Ae Ha Argonne National Laboratory

Abstract: Recent advancement of algal process design considerations that factor in land, climate, CO2 supply, infrastructure, and water stress provided information critical to environmental sustainability. In view of substantial evaporation water loss from algae pond, alternative water resources have also been sought. Reclaimed water (treated municipal wastewater) represents an abundant alternative resource thus an opportunity for algae production without introducing freshwater stress in addition to provide nitrogen source. Nationally, 80.7% of total reclaimed water would be available on average across 3020 counties. This study aims to develop an assessment of geospatial and temporal potential of using reclaimed water for algal biomass production based on most current technology and available data for the United States. A facility level reclaimed water database was assembled to analyse current reuse and geographic availability by treatment method. The available reclaimed water flow map was layered on top of a feasible algae production sites map with 576 counties estimated from single strain growth modelling, climate, land availability and CO2 supply. Analyses were conducted to select local reclaimed water supply that matches water demand from each perspective algae facility on monthly basis at county level. We found that 455 counties, representing 79% of the feasible algae production counties, can use reclaimed water to support algae biomass production. It was estimated that these counties can provide 2695 billion litre (712 billion gallons) of reclaimed water to produce 44 million metric tons in AFDW algal biomass per year. This amount translates to a production of 8.1 billion gallon renewable diesel equivalent (RDe) without an increase of freshwater stress. We further identified counties that can fully meet the water resource demand for algae production from all feasible facilities in the county. Geospatial distribution of reclaimed water-feasible algae sites suggested wastewater infrastructure plays an important role in meeting the production demand. Findings from this work highlight feasibility of using reclaimed water as an achievable path toward sustainable and infrastructure-compatible production of fuel and products while avoid freshwater stress.

Morris, James

A New Spatial Intelligence Application for Pioneering Offshore Aquaculture Development
James A. Morris, Jr., NOAA David Stein, NOAA Mark Finkbeiner, NOAA  Christine Taylor, BOEM Kenneth L. Riley, NOAA Lisa C. Wickliffe, CSS, Inc. and Jonathan Jossart, CSS, Inc.

Abstract: Aquaculture is a pioneering offshore industry with high growth potential for both nearshore and offshore environments. To keep pace with the growth of marine aquaculture, GIS technology and spatial intelligence have become essential for coastal planning, site selection, conflict resolution, and mapping of the precise placement of aquaculture operations. NOAA’s Coastal Aquaculture Siting and Sustainability program has made significant investments in expertise and GIS technology resources to provide high-quality science-based decision support tools to local, state, and federal coastal managers. This presentation will explore how NOAA is developing and using the largest authoritative data sources to aid in the growth of the aquaculture industry while ensuring regulatory efficiency and environmental sustainability. Further, the presentation will explore the most advanced web-based geospatial tools, like OceanReports and National AquaMapper, which are now publically available a explore and identify ocean neighborhoods compatible with aquaculture development.

Awal, Sadiqul
Melbourne Polytechnic

Reclamation of Salinity Affected Unproductive Soils and Lands into Productive One and Production of Microalgae Biomass for Commercial Purposes
Sadiqul Awal Andrew Christie Melbourne Polytechnic Victoria, Australia

Abstract: The issue of salinization and salinity intrusion is one of the elevated global problems. The issue of the salinization of Australia’s inland ground water is a recurring and major environmental problem that is often the result of previous uses of the land for agricultural purposes and the use of certain irrigation practices. Inundation of land by saline water for long periods leads to its percolation into the surrounding soils, resulting in altered soil chemistry. Prolonged inundation inhibits the fixation of free nitrogen and halts mineralization, thus impairing soil fertility within a few years. The elevation of a water table that features increased salinity levels (sometimes approaching or even exceeding that of seawater) means that while the environmental ramifications are potentially massive (and include crop damage), it is true also that such waters are an untapped and largely unexplored aquatic resource. It is no doubt true that such inland areas present a wonderful opportunity to farm a variety of fish, molluscs and crustaceans (an opportunity that has thus far been realised on a relatively very small scale), but there is no doubt considerable scope to grow microalgae, which underpin the bottom of the food chain in aquatic systems and have an enormous number of potential uses. Microalgae are potentially ideal candidates for remediation of these salt affected soil and lands. Microalgae can be deployed for bioremediation at sites with highly variable salinities, without significant effects on end-product potential.

Villiers, Fanny

microTERRA: Sustainable feed ingredients from aquaculture wastewater.

Abstract: Water scarcity is directly linked to agricultural wastewater management, as it uses 70% of the freshwater in the world, and is the biggest water pollutant, due to animal manure and fertilizer runoff (Nitrogen Phosphorus) but those are also valuable nutrients. It became clear that figuring out how to take the nutrients out of the water and add value, will make a great business and a huge impact.   Microalgae is the fastest biomass on earth and can absorb those pollutants, while performing photosynthesis. In addition, certain microalgae consortia have a high percentage of protein, lipids, amino acids, as well as other high value compounds like phycocyanin and PUFA´s and MUFA´s.   We decided to start working with the aquaculture sector, since it's the biggest growing food protein, and it's expected to double in the near future. Through bold biotechnological, data science, and machine learning solutions, we see a different future for aquaculture wastewater.   microTERRA develops on-site water treatment systems using microalgae to transform aquaculture wastewater into a sustainable biomass and clean water. The biomass is then transformed to be sold as an animal feed additive and the clean water is recycled back into the fish ponds. This is a closed-loop system that solves the problem of aquaculture’s contribution to water pollution and offsets the high cost of fish feed, by making water treatment profitable.   Our Unique Value Proposition is to bring a water treatment solution on site, based on microalgae technology, that provides a second stream of income for the farmer and is cost-effective. Our technology is disruptive to the inland aquaculture industry as it provides a shift for the way we manage wastewater by turning it into a profit.   At microTERRA we see aquaculture wastewater as an opportunity to upcycle nutrients runoffs and to ensure a constant stream of clean fresh water to the farmers. This innovation not only answers to an environmental threat, wastewater discharges in downstream ecosystems, but also to a strategic challenge aquaculture farmers face everyday, maintain the water in their tanks clean and secure a constant flow. The microalgae biomass that comes out of our system after removing the nutrients is the key factor that makes the whole process profitable.




Algal Toolkits: Methods to Simplify Omics and Metabolic Regulation
30-Sep-20       11:45 a.m. CT

Mettler, Jackie
The Los Alamos National Lab

Promoter Library Generation to Improve Genetic Engineering Efforts on an Industrially-Relevant Algae Strain
Jackie Mettler*1,2, Blake Hovde*1, Raul Gonzalez1, Cassie Miller2  Institutions for all authors: 1) The Los Alamos National Laboratory  2) The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque

Abstract: In order to achieve target production levels of algal biomass and bioproducts, we need to greatly increase the amount and ease of genetically engineered strains being developed. The algal research community is currently limited by the number of useful genetic engineering tools, making the development of industrially valuable strains and the bioproducts they would produce difficult. This project aims to improve genetic engineering for algae by developing variable strength, and inducible promoter libraries in algal cell lines, allowing for more precise and reliable control over gene expression.  Multi-condition (diurnal light and temperature stress) transcriptome analysis of Scenedesmus obliquus and Nannochloropsis salina were utilized to identify candidate promoters of variable-strength that exhibit either constitutive or inducible expression. These promoters were screened via transformation of an expression vector containing each candidate promoter preceding either an mCherry or GFP marker gene. Validation of expression levels are in process, and will be complied into a rank-ordered promoter library and released to the algal research community through the Greenhouse web portal at

Li, Yaoguang
University of Connecticut

Development of Genomic Tools for Breeding Superior Sugar Kelp (Saccharina latissima) Cultivars for Food and Fuel
Yaoguang Li1, Mao Huang2, Xiaowei Mao2,4,5, Simona Augyte1,6, Schery Umanzor1, Michael Marty-Rivera1, David Bailey3, Jean-Luc Jannink2,7, Scott Lindell3, Charles Yarish1   1University of Connecticut, Stamford, CT, USA;  2Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA;  3Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, USA;  4Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China;  5CAS Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Beijing, China;  6Symbrosia Inc., Kailua-Kona, HI, USA;  7United States Department of Agriculture - Agriculture Research Service, Ithaca, NY, USA.

Abstract: Seaweed has been harvested to serve as food and animal feeds for centuries worldwide. In North America, seaweed farming is a fast-expanding industry to meet the increasing demands of the global market. Sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima), a brown marine macroalga, is widely considered as a lead candidate for biofuel source if production cost can be realized at 80 USD per dry metric tonne of kelp or less. To meet this potential, offshore seaweed farming of superior sugar kelp strains needs to be developed. One of the promising ways to accelerate this is to develop enhanced breeding and selection methodologies, as has been done in terrestrial agriculture. By using sequencing technologies and constructing a reference genome, we have been able to associate phenotypic traits with gene markers that would help us target selective breeding more effectively. In this study, a total of 4,840 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers were used for the population genetics analysis and genome-wide association study. The utility of these markers for genetic predictions in estimating breeding values of the individuals will also be discussed. The biomass related traits evaluated include total family wet and dry weight, individual blade length, blade width at 10cm, blade width at the widest portion of the blade, blade thickness, stipe length, and stipe diameter.

Berndt, Anthony
University of California, San Diego

Production of a Recombinant Proteins in Different Subcellular Compartments in Green Algae can Alter Post-translational Modifications and Hence Protein Biological Activity
Anthony Berndt1, Tressa Smalley1, Francis Fields1, Vanessa Heredia1, Miller Tran2, Stephen Mayfield1,2 Affiliation:  1 University of California, San Diego 2 Triton Algae Innovations

Abstract: We have used the production of a high value recombinant protein, bovine Osteopontin (OPN), as a model for offsetting the cost of making biofuels from algal biomass. OPN is a bone regenerative protein and growth factor present in a range of mammalian cells and secretions, including milk, with both potential pharmaceutical and nutraceutical applications.  The post-translational modification of therapeutic proteins is often vital for their stability and bioactivity. OPN requires extensive phosphorylation across its more than two dozen potential phospho-sites to exert its bioactivity in vivo.  Here we present on a new and improved suite of genetic tools and selection strategies using the model green algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to produce recombinant OPN encoded by a nuclear transgene. When the OPN protein is directed to the chloroplast it is appropriately phosphorylated by an endogenous kinase while directing OPN to the canonical ER-Gogli secretion pathway results in an un-phosphorylated isoform.  Next, we demonstrate a strain improvement strategy employing forward mutagenesis and gene-shuffling through mating to diverse geographic isolates followed by high throughput selection. We simultaneously increased recombinant OPN protein expression levels by several fold and shifted the genetic background from a comparatively feeble model laboratory organism to a substantially more robust outdoor production-ready strain.

Sproles, Ashley

Improved High-throughput Screening Technique to Rapidly Isolate Chlamydomonas Transformants with Recombinant Protein Expression
Ashley E. Sproles, UCSD Anthony Berndt, UCSD Francis J. Fields, UCSD Stephen P. Mayfield, UCSD

Abstract: The green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has become a model system for developing genetic tools to produce high-value recombinant proteins in microalgae. However, the largest bottleneck in the production process is screening for clones with high expression of the desired product, which can be relatively lengthy and time-inefficient due to the random integration of transgenes leading to low yields of high expressors. Here, we describe the design of a double antibiotic selection vector for the expression of recombinant proteins in Chlamydomonas, that when transformed and screened with antibiotics and a jet-in air sorter FACS is able to quickly identify and isolate large populations of Chlamydomonas transformants with high expression of a fluorescent reporter protein. This process is able to produce large populations of successful algae transformants with between 60-100% of cells positive for the protein of interest in as little as 3 weeks, depending on promoter strength. The use of this new vector and high-throughput screening process is highly improved over older methods, which were regularly obtaining < 1% of algae transformants expressing the protein of interest, and can be applied to other algal strains and proteins to enhance screening efficiency, thereby speeding up the discovery and development of algal-derived products.

Hanschen, Erik
Los Alamos National Lab

Analysis of Algal Genomics Demonstrates Declining Quality and Gaps in Species Distribution
Erik R. Hanschen (Los Alamos National Lab) Shawn R. Starkenburg (Los Alamos National Lab)

Abstract: The genomic era of biology has created unprecedented opportunity to study how life works, including understanding evolutionary principles, bioprospecting for novel antibiotics, and genetic manipulation of bioeconomically-relevant species. While genome sequencing and genomic analysis was previously restricted to large-scale projects and consortia, sequencing has become democratized. However, as genomics became commonplace, the cataloging of sequenced organisms has become challenging, and standardized practices for sequencing, assembly, and annotation have not been adopted. This is equally true in research fields such as algal biology, despite the growing importance of algae in a bio-based economy. Here we provide a comprehensive review of the state of eukaryotic algal genomics, highlighting biases and gaps in the current species distribution and exploring the quality of algal genome assemblies. We find a trend of declining quality of genomic resources, including declining assembly quality, gene annotation quality, and genome completeness. Despite increases in accessibility and advances in technology, the quality of algal genomics is declining, not improving. We will discuss potential solutions to address the democratization of algal genomics to fully utilize current and future algal genomic resources.



Finance, Policy and Education

1-Oct-20          10:00 a.m. CT

Gomez, Stephen
Santa Fe Community College

Never Let a Good Crisis go to Waste, or How to Create an Online Degree Program in Two Weeks
Stephen Gomez, Santa Fe Community College Ondine Frauenglass, Santa Fe Community College Frank Currie, Santa Fe Community College Luke Spangenburg, Santa Fe Community College Brendan Scott, Algae Foundation Cindy Gerk, National Renewable Energy Laboratory Gene Mederos, New Mexico Film Resources

Abstract: The US DOE and the Algae Foundation are funding the design and implementation of a certificate in Algae Cultivation at Santa Fe Community College thru the Algae Technology Educational Consortium (ATEC). The first Certificates were awarded in 2018. The intent of ATEC is to make the curriculum available nationwide. The program was slowly moving towards online curriculum until the recent Covid-19 public health emergency. The State of New Mexico closed all colleges and universities for the rest of the 2020 Spring semester and mandated that all classes move to online instruction. The algae program was rapidly converted to online and the structure changed so that the “lectures” were on-line and the “hand’s-on labs” are condensed to short 1-2 week classes that can be taken when it is appropriate with a small enough student population to minimize the risks associated with large groups. The use of online meeting applications, liberal use of online videos, group chats, research projects and newly enthusiastic administrators are all useful tools for moving rapidly to on-line instruction.

Flimlin, Gef
Algae Foundation

Algal Aquaculture Extension, Online Continuing Education in a Post Covid-19 World
Gef Flimlin1, Ira Levine2  1 Professor Emeritus, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, 52 Perkins Road, Belfast Maine 04915.  2 President, Algae Foundation, 111 Tripp Lake Camp Road, Poland, ME 04274

Abstract: The Algae Foundation's Algae Technology Educational Consortium (ATEC) formed the Algae Cultivation Extension Short-course (ACES) to serve as a workforce preparedness program for those interested in growing both micro- and macro-algae.  The seaweed course is a free online compendium of videos chosen and newly created to give a thorough initiation into the culture of various commercial seaweeds, including kelps, for those interested in getting started in algal-based aquaculture. The course includes:  a large number of videos produced by several New England Sea Grant programs; international content; guided PowerPoint presentations.  Additionally, newly created videos include industry pioneers; history of wild harvesting and culturing macro-algae; seaweed products; longline setting; harvesting methods; drying techniques; conversations about peoples' experiences in seaweed culture; and the permitting process.   The microalgae for aquaculture course is an online compendium of videos and online lectures chosen to give a thorough introduction into the culturing of various commercial microalgae. The course includes: a large number of videos produced by national and international programs, and guided PowerPoint presentations; including selections from the Santa Fe Community College, Introduction to Algae Cultivation online course.  Offerings include cultivation and harvesting technologies, microscopy, algae species collections, nutrient media recipes, algae to fuel, carbon sequestration, food products and interviews with industry experts. There are additional chapters for the online algae culture collections, interviews and Ted Talks. There are several longer webinars and documents about microalgae culture that can be downloaded. There is now an additional section on algal culture for shellfish hatcheries.  These free courses require a simple registration and analytics about the student's experience with the course recorded for program evaluation.   The short-courses can be found on the web at 

DeKloe, James
Solano Community College

Algae in the Dark – Shining a Light on Heterotrophic Growth
James DeKloe, Solano Community College Philip Pienkos, Polaris Renewables/NREL

Abstract: Dark, heterotrophic growth of algae in bioreactors with organic carbon sources is a growing commercial approach for the production of food supplements, protein, and specialty chemicals.  This presentation outlines efforts by ATEC, the Algae Technology Education Consortium, to develop a curriculum to train students in the understanding and applications of this technology and to encourage colleges to implement programs that give students experience with growing algae using heterotrophic methods.  This effort, initiated by Solano College, includes input by industry professionals, representatives of the national laboratories, and college faculty to develop lecture outlines and laboratory experiments appropriate for adoption by any college.  Results from the pilot project and outreach to other colleges give preliminary indication of the value of the new curriculum. 

Nalley, Jake

Algae Academy and K-12 STEM Education


Manning, Schonna
University of Texas at Austin

Beyond the Pond: Navigating the Waters of Remote STEM Learning
Schonna R. Manning, The University of Texas at Austin

Abstract: Research scientists in algal biotechnology require a broad range of laboratory skills, including microscopy, molecular biology, analytical chemistry, and bioinformatics. These techniques are traditionally instructed via in-person college courses or specialty workshops wherein students gain access to experts and practice new skills in a laboratory environment. The advent of remote learning, e.g., massive open online courses, has increased the availability of educational opportunities and content across the globe, although it is often difficult to translate “virtual” laboratory techniques to actual bench proficiency. As part of a continuing series to develop curriculum in algal biotechnology, the University of Texas at Austin, through the Department of Energy-funded Algae Technology Educational Consortium (ATEC), has developed sets of online instructional modules to walk viewers through detailed molecular and biochemical procedures guided by images in an effort to prepare students to identify reagents, equipment, and instrumentation prior to working in the laboratory. The first set of training modules will align with the 2019 ATEC Microalgae in Biotechnology: A Laboratory Primer, which includes comprehensive methods for the DNA Barcoding of Algal Strains and the Extraction and Analysis of Microalgal Lipids. The barcoding laboratory covers the extraction and quantitation of nucleic acids, PCR-based amplification of targeted barcode sequences, product verification by gel electrophoresis, and the preparation of PCR samples for DNA sequencing. The laboratory on microalgal lipids includes training modules on the solvent-based extraction of total lipids, conversion of glycerolipids to fatty-acid methyl esters, and separation of lipids by thin-layer chromatography to characterize lipid class and abundance. While online instruction cannot supplant the hands-on experience necessary to demonstrate proficiency, it is expected the development of these training modules will serve to prepare laboratory instructors and students alike. Ultimately, it is anticipated these online modules will be paired with intensive hands-on training workshops or designed for a traditional 16-week semester at ATEC member institutions that can be taken for course credit and/or towards a certification in algal biotechnology.



Products & Markets

Algae Production and Use in the Indo-Pacific
1-Oct-20          11:45 a.m. CT

Paul, Nick
University of Sunshine Coast



Reddy, CRK
Indian Centre for Climate and Societal Impact Research

Seaweeds: A Promising Option for a Sustainable Blue Economy in India
CRK Reddy; Indian Centre for Climate and Societal Impact Research Sri Vivekanand Research and Training Institute, Mandvi Katchchh 370 465, India  

Abstract: Seaweeds are an integral part of the coastal marine biodiversity and render invaluable ecosystem services sustainably preserving the health of the coastal ecosystem and the planet. Ever since the economic benefits of seaweeds established, there has been a constant and sustained global effort to further increase their production and utilisation through innovative practices. There is a worldwide attempt to mainstream the seaweed resources and leverage their economic potentials for developing sustainable circular bioeconomy along the lines of UN sustainable development goals (UNSDGs). Seaweeds are indeed farmed commercially in several Asian countries where their utilisation for food and phycocolloids (agar, carrageenan and alginate) is intense, and their farming has indeed evolved into a social enterprise particularly in many developing economies in Asia and other tropical countries across the world.   In India, seaweed resources have been exclusively utilized for the production of typical phycocolloids such as agar and alginates by local processing units (about 30 MSMEs) from the wild harvest, particularly from the coast of Tamil Nadu in south India. Nevertheless, the pioneering efforts of Indian researchers resulted in the development of cultivation technology for red seaweed Kappaphycus setting a stage for commercial farming of seaweeds for the first time in India. The subsequent breakthrough in the downstream process of Kappaphycus helped the simultaneous recovery of sap rich in plant growth biostimulants as well as the residue rich in polysaccharide (κ-carrageenan) from fresh seaweed. The sap efficacy trials as a foliar spray on various crops in the farmer field showed improved yields over control ranging from 15-40%. This has further given to consideration of developing sustainable farming and downstream process technologies for various economically important seaweeds boosting the prospects for establishing modern seaweed industries in the country. The present talk deals with developments in seaweed technologies, their status, challenges and a roadmap for building a sustainable seaweed industry contributing to inclusive economic growth in rural coastal India.   

Brittain, Zoe
Deakin University

Algae Production and Use in the Pacific
Zoe Brittain and Ken Jones, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

Abstract: As interest in macro-algae grows globally, attention is turning to Australia as the potential home for a sustainable and innovative seaweed industry. Not only is Australia home to a diverse and abundant array of macro-algae, it also has a rich history of diverse Aboriginal cultures whose peoples have been living on and caring for sea country for tens of thousands of years. Zoё Brittain will be joined by Uncle Ken Jones, a Boandik Elder from southeastern Australia, as they explore the rich and ongoing history of seaweed use of the Boandik peoples, the diversity of species used, and how developing partnerships with Aboriginal communities can inform product and market development in Australia.

Jones, Ben
Deakin University

Algae Production and Use in the Pacific
Zoe Brittain and Ken Jones, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

Abstract: As interest in macro-algae grows globally, attention is turning to Australia as the potential home for a sustainable and innovative seaweed industry. Not only is Australia home to a diverse and abundant array of macro-algae, it also has a rich history of diverse Aboriginal cultures whose peoples have been living on and caring for sea country for tens of thousands of years. Zoё Brittain will be joined by Uncle Ken Jones, a Boandik Elder from southeastern Australia, as they explore the rich and ongoing history of seaweed use of the Boandik peoples, the diversity of species used, and how developing partnerships with Aboriginal communities can inform product and market development in Australia.

Harmon, Valerie
Harmon Consulting



Kumar, Manoj
University of Technology, Sydney




Algae Biomass Summit

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