Biofuels Research

This program develops the components of a commercially viable biofuel production systems. The team develops transgenic microalgae with increased photosynthetic efficiency and enhanced oil production. They explore novel oil extraction technologies that reduce biofuel production costs.

Microalgal biotechnology research at the NMC includes:

  • Development of photosynthetic carbon reduction pathways in green algae and plants.
  • Research on synthetic carbon fixation pathways to meet domestic energy demands and sustainable production.
  • Improving photosynthetic efficiency and carbon concentrating efficiency in biofuel feedstocks.
  • Investigating strategies for containment of organisms that affect the health/yield of the algae essential for biofuel production.

Current active biofuels research at the NMC:


Atmospheric Aerosols and Precursors form Algal Biofuel Production


DMS, produced by phytoplankton, is a major source of cloud condensation nuclei over the ocean. The main oblective of this study is to determine of DMS is a major byproduct of algal biofuel production and to examine the implications of moving a primarily marine cycle to the terrestrial biome. 


Enhancing Biofuels from Genetially Engineered Camelina

The Center for Enhanced Camelina Oil (CECO) proposes to incrase the harvestable energy yield of Camelina oil as well as improve the composition of the oil to be a more stable and energy dense biofuel feedstock. 

PACE: Producing Algae for Coproducts and Energy


This research seeks to make algal biofuels more marketable by focusing on methods to improve algal productivity, the cultivation process, and harvesting. 


More Realization of Algal Potential (REAP) Research

Will develop the ability to produce 2500 gal/acre/year of algal biofuel intermediates by 2018 by integrating and extending the most promising organisms and technologies developed with sequential extraction process that separates starches and amino acids prior to hydrothermal conversion of remaining lipid to a biofuel intermediate.


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