Interdisciplinary Research Development in Algae Biomass, Biofuels, and Bioproducts
Continued use of fossil fuels is now widely recognized as unsustainable because of diminishing supplies and the associated climate change impacts from related CO2 emissions. Algae represent a promising renewable source of biofuel feedstocks with decisive advantages over corn ethanol, soy biodiesel, and cellulosic feedstocks.
Although biofuels and other bioproducts from algae show great potential, significant economic and technical challenges remain to be solved to scale-up the mass production and refining of algae biomass. To meet these and other related challenges, graduate students need to be equipped with interdisciplinary knowledge and approaches for research, innovation, and application. However, right now there is not a well-established body of knowledge or curriculum that can provide the diverse skills needed to support paradigm changing progress in this field.
This project seeks to stimulate and inspire the development of more cross-cutting algal research activities and promote new educational capabilities in this area, including graduate education resources in the area of algal biofuels and bioproducts.
We plan to build on the momentum of the Illini Algae Group to build a broader network of faculty and graduate students and elevate the activities to the next level by including initiation of a campus seminar series, development of international graduate research collaborations, and new graduate education course materials.