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|Pond Scum to Power: Algae Fuel|
|Date||Monday January 25|
|Time||7:00 PM - 9:00 PM|
|Import this event into your personal calendar.|
3049 20th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
|info [at] sciencecafesf.com|
With environmental, economic, and political concerns about petroleum-based fuels at an all time high, biofuels is experiencing a huge boom, with the Bay Area at the center of that boom. With buzz falling on corn-based ethanol, the shift has been towards biodiesels. One of the hottest trends is toward algael based biofuels, even from big oil companies that are now putting tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars into algal biofuel research.
Like most plants, algae have mastered a process called photosynthesis. Basically, algae act like little factories. They use the energy in sunlight to pull damaging carbon dioxide out of the air. Then they break down water to manufacture that CO2 into sugars and fats, and spew oxygen into the air as a waste product. But for the algae, those sugars and fats are what it's all about. They use most of these raw materials to assemble more algae, lots more. However, they can overeat sun energy and store the extra energy as oily fat - one that we could be used as fuel.
The Department of Energy sponsored an Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap workshop last year to discuss the basic research that is needed to demonstrate whether or not algal biofuels can be commercially viable. In the search for alternatives to gasoline, are algae the answer? Biologist Kris Niyogi of UC Berkeley will offer some answers.
About Kris Niyogi:
Kris Niyogi is a professor of algal biology in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and a faculty scientist in the Physical Biosciences Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His areas of expertise are algal molecular genetics, genomics, and photosynthesis. Since joining the faculty at UC-Berkeley in 1997, he has received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the Melvin Calvin Award from the International Society of Photosynthesis Research, and the Charles Albert Shull Award from the American Society of Plant Biologists.