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As a follow-up to the FIT talk from today I wanted to post some notes. The key points I picked up:
Dr. Weissman, who worked on the DOE Aquatic Species Program (ASP), covered a lot of ground, from some work in 1953, up through the current work FIT is performing (under a $415K grant from the State of Florida Farm to Fuel program). He showed a picture of PBR's on the MIT roof from 1953! Much of the information being patented today seems to be covered in that decades old work such as In Algal Culture: From Laboratory to Pilot Plant.
With genetic engineering, today's algae can be improved in several ways. Dr. Weissman mentioned modifying the reaction area such that "longer antennae" are used for photosynthesis. These cyclotella mutants use 20 chlorophyll instead of 200 as their light processing engine.
In the current FIT project, smaller tanks have been running with cultures in Vero Beach for almost a year - 1/20th acre raceways are about to come online.
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