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Covington, Kentucky, United States

Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 180.00K | Year: 2014

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project, if successful, will demonstrate the application of filtered light to increase the productivity of large scale microalgal cultivation. Traditionally, algae growth has depended on natural solar radiation to be economically viable. However, natural sunlight is not optimized to promote growth and contains spectra (such as UV, or IR) that are detrimental to algal cells. Special lighting sources such as laser and LED to boost beneficial wavelengths to increase algal growth is possible but cost prohibitive. This project utilizes cost effective thin-film material to selectively transmit optimal light spectra from the sunlight to algal cultures. The plan is to apply multiple customized filters to algae cultivation and measure the impact on cell growth and morphology, chemical production, bioreactor performance. The goal of the project is to show decreased energy costs and increased system productivity.

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be improving productivity and economics of photosynthetic systems, such as algae and terrestrial horticulture. This project will lead to better understanding of the influence of targeted light on algae and could lead to novel processes for producing fuel and chemicals. Furthermore, increased efficiency of algae growth systems for producing commercially useful products, such as fuel and other chemicals, can lead to economic and environmental benefits. Increased light utilization efficiency introduces cost savings. These improvements lower barriers to entry in the algae sector, which could increase activity in this field. In addition to being beneficial for algal growth, the light filtering technology pioneered in this project could be applied to other plant growth industries, further fueling the worldwide boom in protective agriculture. These wide applications also will promote the advanced manufacturing of similar specialty materials for use in other fields.


A production system includes a structure configured to house a light-activated biological pathway. The production system further includes an optical filter attached to the structure. The optical filter is configured to receive light, to reflect a first portion of the received light, and to transmit a second portion of the received light, wherein the first portion has a different wavelength from the second portion. The production system is further configured to position the light-activated biological pathway to receive the second portion of the receive light.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2014

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project, if successful, will demonstrate the application of filtered light to increase the productivity of large scale microalgal cultivation. Traditionally, algae growth has depended on natural solar radiation to be economically viable. However, natural sunlight is not optimized to promote growth and contains spectra (such as UV, or IR) that are detrimental to algal cells. Special lighting sources such as laser and LED to boost beneficial wavelengths to increase algal growth is possible but cost prohibitive. This project utilizes cost effective thin-film material to selectively transmit optimal light spectra from the sunlight to algal cultures. The plan is to apply multiple customized filters to algae cultivation and measure the impact on cell growth and morphology, chemical production, bioreactor performance. The goal of the project is to show decreased energy costs and increased system productivity. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be improving productivity and economics of photosynthetic systems, such as algae and terrestrial horticulture. This project will lead to better understanding of the influence of targeted light on algae and could lead to novel processes for producing fuel and chemicals. Furthermore, increased efficiency of algae growth systems for producing commercially useful products, such as fuel and other chemicals, can lead to economic and environmental benefits. Increased light utilization efficiency introduces cost savings. These improvements lower barriers to entry in the algae sector, which could increase activity in this field. In addition to being beneficial for algal growth, the light filtering technology pioneered in this project could be applied to other plant growth industries, further fueling the worldwide boom in protective agriculture. These wide applications also will promote the advanced manufacturing of similar specialty materials for use in other fields.

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