Researchers have discovered a method to accelerate the growth of algae, for the production of biofuels, by manipulating light particles using nanobiotechnology.
Radhakrishna Sureshkumar, professor and chair of biomedical and chemical engineering in the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science, and SU chemical engineering Ph.D. student Satvik Wani have revealed a process that aims at producing microalgae in an efficient, safe and economic way.
Sureshkumar and Wani have figured a method to make algae grow faster by creating accelerated photosynthesis. This is done with an optimal combination of light that promotes the algal metabolism.
“Algae produce triglycerides, which consist of fatty acids and glycerin. The fatty acids can be turned into biodiesel while the glycerin is a valuable byproduct,” says Sureshkumar. “Molecular biologists are actively seeking ways to engineer optimal algae strains for biofuel production. Enhancing the phototropic growth rate of such optimal organisms translates to increased productivity in harvesting the feedstock.”
The team discovered that a varied concentration and size of the nanoparticle solution could determine the intensity of the light which could result in an optimal atmosphere for the growth of the algae. This discovery can also be of help in creating environmental sensors for ecological warning systems, according to the team.