Monitoring, Diagnostics Tackle Algae Biofuel Pond Crash Problem
(Sandia National Laboratories/Biodiesel Magazine) Sandia National Laboratories is developing a suite of complementary technologies to help the emerging algae industry detect and quickly recover from algal pond crashes, an obstacle to large-scale algae cultivation for future biofuels.
The research, which focuses on monitoring and diagnosing algal pond health, draws upon Sandia’s longstanding expertise in microfluidics technology, its strong bioscience research program and significant internal investments.
Because of the way algae is grown and produced in most algal ponds, they are prone to attack by fungi, rotifers, viruses or other predators. Consequently, algal pond collapse is a critical issue that companies must solve to produce algal biofuels cost-effectively. The issue was identified as a key component in the U.S. DOE’s National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap.
Sandia is addressing the algal pond crash issue in three complementary ways:
-Developing a real-time monitoring tool for algal ponds that can detect indications of a problem days in advance of a crash
-Successfully applying pathogen detection and characterization technologies honed through the lab’s Rapid Threat Organism Recognition (RapTOR) work
-Employing its innovative SpinDx diagnostic device to dig deeper into problems after they’ve occurred and help to identify specific biological agents responsible for crashes READ MORE and MORE (Renewable Energy World)