Of all the alternate bio-diesel resources, Zhiyou Wen, professor of food science and human nutrition, picked on micro-algae. Wen and his colleagues harvested algae and converted its oil extracts into bio-fuel for alternative energy research.
Wen will grow the algae, design the bioreactor, dewater the algae and separate the lipid from the cells, using the lipid for bio-diesel, according to Tong Wang, professor of food science and human nutrition. Wen is looking to create an outlet to harvest micro-algae because it has several benefits including high productivity, because algae grow in just about seven to 10 days per crop, per harvest.
According to Zhihwu Zung, professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, some researchers are working to increase oil content. In comparison with terrestrial plants like soybeans or corn, where harvests happen once a season, algae can be grown throughout the year if controlled with good conditions. Unlike fossil fuels, algae absorb the pollutants that get rid of the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They convert that into oil that’s renewable. Although Wen’s research is in its infancy, the entire process will be optimized when a breakthrough is made and things fall into place.