Monday, July 6, 2009

Seambiotic and NASA to develop aviation biofuel feedstock from microalgae

Seambiotic, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based leader in the development and production of marine microalgae for the nutraceutical and biofuel industries, announced today that its US subsidiary, Seambiotic USA, has entered into an agreement with NASA Glenn Research Center to develop an on-going collaborative R&D program for optimization of open-pond microalgae growth processes.

"Under a Space Act Agreement, NASA is partnering with Seambiotic USA to model growth processes for microalgae for use as aviation biofuel feedstock," said Prof. Ami Ben-Amotz, Chief Scientific Adviser to Seambiotic. "The goal of the Agreement is to make use of NASA's expertise in large scale computational modeling and combine it with Seambiotic's biological process modeling to make advances in biomass process cost reduction."

Under the Agreement, NASA Glenn and Seambiotic USA will work together to improve production processes and to study and qualify algae oil from alternative species and production processes as candidate aviation fuel at NASA's test facilities.

The NASA John H. Glenn Research Center is one of NASA's 10 field centers, empowered with the resources for developing cutting-edge technologies and advancing scientific research that address NASA's mission to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research. Working in partnership with government, industry and academia, the center serves to maintain the US economy's global leadership while benefiting the lives of people around the world.

Seambiotic Ltd. was founded in 2003 to grow and process marine microalgae for the nutraceutical and biofuel industries. Seambiotic's research efforts include a pilot study at an Israeli Electric Corporation power station near the city Ashkelon, Israel, where various species of marine microalgae have been successfully cultivated using the power station's CO2 emissions released directly from their smokestacks; the microalgae are in turn used as feedstock for biofuel.

Seambiotic is currently in transition from the pilot plant stage to large scale industrial algae cultivation and production. In June 2008, Seambiotic announced plans to partner with Seattle-based Inventure Chemical on the construction of a algae-based biofuel plant in Israel.

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