DOE News
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    The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
    • 2010-12-14 06:30:00
    • Article ID: 571781

    Cornell Joins Team Taking Head-first Plunge Into Algae Biofuels

    John Carberry

    Phone: (607) 255-5353

    Cell: (607) 227-0727

    jjc338@cornell.edu

    ITHACA, N.Y. – Cornell University researchers have joined other scientists and a biofuel research company on a mission to develop a commercial-scale algae-to-fuel facility by 2015.

    The effort is backed by a $9 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy.

    Cellana, an algal biofuel research company based in Kailua Kona, Hawaii, is leading the consortium. Cornell, along with Duke University, San Francisco State University, the University of Hawaii and the University of Southern Mississippi, will work out plans for developing a 100-acre commercial-scale facility to produce fuels and animal feeds from microalgae.

    “Relative to other fuels, algae produce at least 10 times more biomass per hectare than terrestrial land plants,” says Charles Greene, a Cornell professor of earth and atmospheric sciences, who is a principal investigator on the project.

    Algae use nutrients more efficiently than land plants, so there is no runoff of nutrients into the water. They are also grown in seawater, so there is no demand for fresh water, and they don’t require soil, “so you don’t have to compete with food plants for good agricultural land,” the way terrestrial biofuels do, Greene says.

    Greene is working with Jeff Tester, a professor of sustainable energy systems in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and associate director of the Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, to analyze the economics, energy costs and carbon footprint of the project.

    “In the ideal sense, all biofuels should approach carbon neutrality,” says Greene.

    To help improve the economic viability of the project, Cellana is looking into extracting proteins for nutritional supplements for animal feeds from the byproducts of algal biofuel production. Such supplements could provide revenue to subsidize some of the biofuel production costs, especially in the early stages. Cornell’s Xingen Lei, professor of molecular nutrition in the Department of Animal Sciences, is now conducting feeding trials of such algal-based nutritional supplements in chickens and pigs.

    “We’re hopeful that we can create a product that will be competitive with fossil fuels even at today’s prices,” said Greene.

    The grant is funded through the DOE’s Office of Biomass Programs as part of the implementation of the agency’s National Algal Biofuels Roadmap. Cellana also receives substantial support from Royal Dutch Shell.

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    Knocking Out Drug Side Effects with Supercomputing

    Knocking Out Drug Side Effects with Supercomputing

    A team at Stanford University used the OLCF's Summit supercomputer to compare simulations of a G protein-coupled receptor with different molecules attached to gain an understanding of how to minimize or eliminate side effects in drugs that target these receptors.

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    Argonne researchers create active material out of microscopic spinning particles

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    Argonne's Mitch Farmer honored for addressing challenges to U.S. nuclear energy industry

    Argonne's Mitch Farmer honored for addressing challenges to U.S. nuclear energy industry

    Nuclear engineer Mitch Farmer has been selected as a fellow by the American Nuclear Society for his work to improve light water reactor development, design and safety.

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    Argonne physicist Giulia Galli earns two top honors for outstanding research and leadership

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    Galli elected to both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.

    Brookhaven Biochemist Receives Prestigious Award for Plant Lipid Research

    Brookhaven Biochemist Receives Prestigious Award for Plant Lipid Research

    Jantana Keereetaweep, a biochemistry research associate in the biology department at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, has been awarded the Paul K. Stumpf Award for her research on plant lipids (fats and oils). The award, given every two years, recognizes the contributions of a promising early-career scientist in honor of Stumpf, who was a world leader and pioneer in the study of plant lipid biochemistry.

    ORNL's Brian Post named SME Young Engineer of the Year

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    Fourth cohort of 6 innovators selected for Chain Reaction Innovations program

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    Six new innovators will be joining Chain Reaction Innovations (CRI), the entrepreneurship program at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, as part of the elite program's fourth cohort.

    Graduate student at PPPL Ian Ochs wins top Princeton University fellowship

    Graduate student at PPPL Ian Ochs wins top Princeton University fellowship

    Graduate student in plasma physics at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory has won a highly selective honorific fellowship from Princeton University.

    U.S. Department of Energy's INCITE program seeks proposals for 2021

    U.S. Department of Energy's INCITE program seeks proposals for 2021

    The INCITE program is now seeking proposals for high-impact, computationally intensive research projects that require the power and scale of DOE's leadership-class supercomputers.


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    Harvesting Energy from Light using Bio-inspired Artificial Cells

    Harvesting Energy from Light using Bio-inspired Artificial Cells

    Scientists designed and connected two different artificial cells to each other to produce molecules called ATP (adenosine triphosphate).

    Engineering Living Scaffolds for Building Materials

    Engineering Living Scaffolds for Building Materials

    Bone and mollusk shells are composite systems that combine living cells and inorganic components. This allows them to regenerate and change structure while also being very strong and durable. Borrowing from this amazing complexity, researchers have been exploring a new class of materials called engineered living materials (ELMs).

    Excavating Quantum Information Buried in Noise

    Excavating Quantum Information Buried in Noise

    Researchers developed two new methods to assess and remove error in how scientists measure quantum systems. By reducing quantum "noise" - uncertainty inherent to quantum processes - these new methods improve accuracy and precision.

    How Electrons Move in a Catastrophe

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    When Ions and Molecules Cluster

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    How an ion behaves when isolated within an analytical instrument can differ from how it behaves in the environment. Now, Xue-Bin Wang at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory devised a way to bring ions and molecules together in clusters to better discover their properties and predict their behavior.

    Tune in to Tetrahedral Superstructures

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    Tracing Interstellar Dust Back to the Solar System's Formation

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    This study is the first to confirm dust particles pre-dating the formation of our solar system. Further study of these materials will enable a deeper understanding of the processes that formed and have since altered them.

    Investigating Materials that Can Go the Distance in Fusion Reactors

    Investigating Materials that Can Go the Distance in Fusion Reactors

    Future fusion reactors will require materials that can withstand extreme operating conditions, including being bombarded by high-energy neutrons at high temperatures. Scientists recently irradiated titanium diboride (TiB2) in the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) to better understand the effects of fusion neutrons on performance.

    Better 3-D Imaging of Tumors in the Breast with Less Radiation

    Better 3-D Imaging of Tumors in the Breast with Less Radiation

    In breast cancer screening, an imaging technique based on nuclear medicine is currently being used as a successful secondary screening tool alongside mammography to improve the accuracy of the diagnosis. Now, a team is hoping to improve this imaging technique.

    Microbes are Metabolic Specialists

    Microbes are Metabolic Specialists

    Scientists can use genetic information to measure if microbes in the environment can perform specific ecological roles. Researchers recently analyzed the genomes of over 6,000 microbial species.


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