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Sandia Purposefully Crashing Algae Ponds
(Algae Industry Magazine) For algal biofuels to compete with petroleum, farming algae has to become less expensive. Toward that goal, Sandia National Laboratories is testing strains of algae for resistance to a host of predators and diseases, and learning to detect when an algae pond is about to crash. An estimated 30 percent of current production on algae farms is lost each year due to pond crashes.
These experiments are part of the new, $6 million Development of Integrated Screening, Cultivar Optimization and Validation Research (DISCOVR) project, whose goal is to determine which algae strains are the toughest and most commercially viable.
Sandia is using its 1,000-liter indoor algae raceway facility, also called a “crash lab,” to perform experiments that industrial groups will not do because they can’t afford to contaminate their ponds.
“We use organisms and agents that many of my industrial partners do not allow on their sites,” said biologist Todd Lane, Sandia’s project lead. “They cannot culture these creatures in their own facilities. It’s too much of a risk.” READ MORE