UC Riverside researcher looking to produce algae indoors with solar panels

September 16, 2020 |

In California, algae could compete with petroleum as the fuel of the future if only the process of growing it was more efficient. Thanks to a fellowship from the Link Foundation, it soon could be.

a doctoral student in plant biology at UC Riverside, is using the two-year, $60,000 fellowship to test whether she can grow algae for biofuels completely in the dark using solar-generated electricity.

With photosynthesis, most of the energy in sunlight gets converted into heat and doesn’t contribute to growth of the algae. With solar panels, much more energy is captured but it is not in a form that algae can use directly.

Though the initial setup of solar panels may be more expensive than just setting up ponds, this startup cost may eventually pay for itself due to the boost in productivity.

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Category: Research

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