Scholar: Mark Lemos
Faculty Mentor: Dr. John Cushman
"Survey of Halophytic Microalgae as Potential Feedstocks for Biofuel Production"
Alternative, nonfood oil feedstocks are needed to supply the exponential growth of the U.S. biodiesel industry, which has grown more than 900% in the last decade to produce an estimated 450 million gallons in 2007. Current biodiesel facility production is at 0.2% of estimated production capacity. Halophytic microalgae hold potential to break the link between traditional biodiesel produced from terrestrial crops like soybeans, for various reasons. Halophytic microalgae are theoretically more productive than terrestrial oil seed crop feedstock, can be grown on marginal lands with brackish or saline water unsuitable for traditional agriculture, can leverage geothermal and solar resources, and can provide widespread potential for sequestration of CO2 from biomass, coal, and gas-fired power plants. The goal of this research is to survey strains of halophytic microalgae as possible feedstocks for biofuel.
Earned Baccalaureate Degree: Spring 2009
Doctoral Program Update: Enrolled in the Plant Biology Ph.D. Program at the University of California, Davis, fall 2010.