Summary: CCSF lunch summary: July 16, 2008
To start of the discussion organizer Beth Ahner (BEE) presented some of the advantages
of growing algae for biofuel production and some of the technological challenges. She
also presented a list of several venture capital-funded companies in the field along with
some potential connections to Cornell.
The group discussed:
1. Which species of algae should be cultivated and what is the best way to grow them?
(including diatoms vs greens; GMO vs natural; pure closed systems vs mixed open pond
Ahner presented a few species currently under consideration. A lipid-rich but slow
growing type of algae, Botryococus, was specifically discussed. Chlamydomonas was
mentioned as an organism that is genetically tractable.
The use of genetically modified organism was discussed versus the merits of finding an
organism through selection or in nature.
2. What type of biofuel is it possible to produce with algae and how does that choice
influence downstream processing and optimization of growth conditions?
There was discussion about the various ways that energy could be derived from algae:
direct burning of dry biomass, extraction and generation of biodiesel, or conversion of
cellulose to sugar for fermentation to an alcohol.
Manuel Villa-Garcia (MBG) asked about similarities to yeast and noted that they are