LAKE CHARLES, La., May 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Following a rigorous 3-Phase review process, Louisiana-AgCenter (LSU-AgCenter) and Aquatic Energy LLC (AE) have been recommended 1st for state research funds by the Industrial Ties Research Subprogram (ITRS) component of the Board of Regents Support Fund (BORSF). These funds have been endorsed for their proposal to develop breakthrough technology for harvesting microalgae from liquid cultures with the goal of drastically reducing harvesting and dewatering costs. AE, as a leader in algaebio-technology, was requested to assist LSU-AgCenter to further develop this process by providing access to its R&D facility, the largest algal production site in Louisiana.
"It's exciting to see the Louisiana Board of Regents continuing to make investments in these essential technologies that will reduce the cost of renewable fuels produced in Louisiana. Algal production has the potential to transform the energy corridor by providing refineries with an enormous amount of renewable feedstock for fuel production," said David Johnston, Chief Executive Officer at Aquatic Energy LLC.
"We are pleased that the Louisiana Board of Regents gave the LSU AgCenter and Aquatic Energy an opportunity to address one of the biggest bottlenecks in microalgal biofuels, namely cost-effective cell harvesting," said Dr. Chandra Theegala, associate professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at the LSU AgCenter.
The LSU-AgCenter and AE research proposal was selected out of the 33 submissions; and one of the eight Institution/Industry Partners considered "Priority One: Highly Meritorious Proposals Recommended for Funding" by the 12 out-of-state expert reviewers. Proposals which applied for this grant were evaluated based on the following specifications:
- Scientific and technical merit
- Potential contribution to Louisiana's economic development and diversification
- Evidence of private sector involvement
- Evidence of innovation and ability to advance Louisiana's scientific, engineering, and/or technological basis
The 12 experts consisted of two reviewers in each of the following six subject areas: agriculture, aquaculture, and animal science; biotechnology and health care; chemical materials and petroleum engineering; computer and information sciences; mechanical and material engineering; and environmental science and technology and urban development. In Phase 1 of review process, the 12 experts individually ranked each proposal according to their subject of expertise. During Phase 2, the same 12 experts, as a group, arrived at a consensus ranking of each subject area. Proposals were placed in one of three categories:
- Priority 1: Highly Meritorious Proposals Recommended for Funding
- Priority 2: Meritorious Proposals of a Lower Priority
- Priority 3: Do Not Fund As Submitted
In the final panel review (Phase 3), three new out-of-state experts reviewed the recommendations of the first 2 phases. The panel convened in Baton Rouge on February 10-11, 2011, to discuss phase 1 and 2 subject area evaluations, prioritize awards, and develop funding recommendations.
The final rankings and selections for awards were based upon individual ratings of the external reviewers (Phase 1), the consensus rankings of the subject area review groups (Phase 2), and the final panel's consensus evaluation (Phase 3), taking into account the economic potential of each project.
About Aquatic Energy LLC (www.aquaticenergy.com):
Aquatic Energy LLC is a renewable bio-technology company using proprietary algal strains as feedstock for the production of low-cost, sustainable fuel and food. The company has developed technology for the growth, harvesting, dewatering, and oil extraction of algae in an open-pond environment. This technology allows Aquatic Energy to produce a variety of high-grade fuel and food products while maintaining low-cost and environmentally responsible operations.
Contact: David Johnston, CEO | Aquatic Energy LLC | Phone: (337)437-3757 | Fax: (866)823-8067 | David.Johnston@aquaticenergy.com
SOURCE Aquatic Energy LLC