Researchers have discovered a new type of yellow-green algae — heterococcus sp. DN1 — that could potentially be a good source for biodiesel production and allow biodiesels to be produced much further north than they are now.
The new strain was discovered living in the snow fields of the Rocky Mountains. H. sp. DN1 is apparently able to grow at very-low temperatures — near freezing — all the while accumulating large stores of lipids. It actually produces lipids at its highest rate when grown undisturbed in low temperatures and bright light — much like the conditions present in a snow field during the summer.
The press release notes:
Algae that can grow in extreme conditions and accumulate lipids are of great interest to industry. The team found that as H. sp. DN1 produces the highest quantity of lipids when grown undisturbed with high light in low temperatures, it is a potential source of lipids for human nutrition when grown undisturbed, and it has an ideal lipid profile for biofuel production when stressed.
“We have isolated and characterized a new cold-tolerant lipid-producing strain of algae from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, US,” said Dr David Nelson. “This may have implications for the commercial production of algal lipids at northern latitudes where the culture of other algal species is limited or impossible.”
The findings were recently published in the journal Biotechnology Progress.
For information on other recent developments in biofuels, I recommend: Diesel On Demand — E.Coli Bacteria Engineered To Produce Pure Diesel Fuel and Navy Biofuel Program Goes Full Steam Ahead With Four New Pilot Projects.