Utah Patent of the Month – April 2021

As fossil fuels are used, the ease of access becomes more and more limited. This is just one factor contributing to rising prices for energy and fuels. Right now, around 67% of petroleum in the United States is used for transportation. The biofuel movement aims to replace the use of petroleum with more sustainable, biological sources. Genifuel Corp. had designed a two-stage process for producing oil from microalgae to contribute to the biofuel mission.

Microalgae are able to grow rapidly and almost anywhere, including water with limited or poor quality. Algae stores energy as either oil or starch which can be easily converted to biofuel. The algae are cultivated using sequential photoautotrophic and heterotrophic growth. The algae is first grown in a light stage, with photosynthetic growth. This stage grows a large mass of green algae quickly and cheaply. The first-stage algae can then be skimmed off and moved to the dark stage. The dark, autotrophic stage is done in a dark structure with limited light. This stage encourages the production of starches and oils rather than more algae mass. The oil can then be converted into biodiesel. The improved growth process helps to maximize the algal biomass and then the oil production.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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