Marine Microalgae for Sustainable Production of Food and Fuel (2018-2019)

Climate, energy and food security are three of the greatest challenges we face in this century. Large-scale industrial cultivation of marine microalgae has been shown to be a promising, environmentally-favorable approach for society to meet its climate goals by sustainably coproducing liquid hydrocarbon fuels and protein. Current models, based on the limited available empirical data, have shown that this sustainable coproduction of food and fuel is approaching economic feasibility. Emerging data from Duke, which leads the Marine Algae Industrialization Consortium (MAGIC), will dramatically help to advance these predictions when combined with a forward-looking economic and life cycle analysis.

This Bass Connections project team produced an integrated assessment of the algal productivity performed by the MAGIC team at the Duke Marine Lab to better understand the factors that regulate production, and incorporated refined algae productivity measurements into existing life cycle analyses and technoeconomic analyses models. 

The team applied these refined models at potential algae biofuel production sites to better estimate economic and environmental costs for different geographic locations and to gauge critical needs for future studies. The team compiled data and a production assessment report, and produced working models that will inform a report on model outputs.


Summer 2018 – Spring 2019  

Team Outcomes

Zackary L. Johnson. Carbon Utilization Efficiency in Marine Algae Biofuel Production Systems Through Loss Minimization and Carbonate Chemistry Modification ($1,511,515 grant awarded from the Department of Energy, 2019)

This Team in the News

These Ph.D. Graduates Incorporated Bass Connections into Their Doctoral Education


Team Leaders

  • Zackary Johnson, Nicholas School of the Environment-Marine Science and Conservation

/graduate Team Members

  • Edmond Kong, Master of Environmental Management, Energy and Environment
  • Sarah Loftus, Ecology-PHD

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Serene Cheng, Biology (BS)
  • Ashley Meuser, Electrical & Computer Egr(BSE), Computer Science (BSE2)
  • Annie Roberts, Environmental Sciences (BS)
  • Sabrina Tran, Biomedical Engineering (BSE), Mechanical Engineering (BSE2)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Mark Huntley, Duke Marine Lab

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Susan Brown, University of Hawaii
  • Brian Goodall, Valicor
  • Jordan D. Kern, UNC
  • Xingen Lie, Cornell
  • Schonna Manning, University of Texas
  • Donald Redalje, University of Southern Mississippi
  • Deborah Sills, Bucknell University
  • Nigel Tait, Shell
  • Leda Van Doren, UNC
  • Kiron Viswanath, Nord University, Norway
  • Michael Walsh, Boston University