Submitted by: Energy Research Group, CES, Indian Institute of Science
Implemented country: India
Title: Milking Diatoms for Sustainable Energy
In the face of increasing CO2 emissions from conventional energy and the anticipated scarcity of crude oil, a worldwide effort is underway for cost-effective renewable alternative energy sources. Diatoms could make 10-200 times as much oil per hectare as oil seeds and they can be synthetically produced. This project proposes ways of harvesting oil from diatoms using biochemical engineering and also a new solar panel approach that utilizes genomically modifiable aspects of diatom biology, offering the prospect of “milking” diatoms for sustainable energy by altering them to actively secrete oil products. Secretion by and milking of diatoms may provide a way around the puzzle of how to make algae that both grow quickly and have a very high oil content. The project by the Energy Research Group of India is presently being implemented.