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MRI Expands Energy Role: Launches Center for Integrated Algal Research and Creates Director of Energy Programs Position
Date:10/13/2008

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Midwest Research Institute (MRI) today announced the formation of a new Center for Integrated Algal Research and the appointment to a newly created position, the Director of Energy Programs.

"Reducing America's dependence on foreign oil is one of our country's foremost challenges -- one in which MRI has been involved through our own research and technology development and as the Management and Operating contractor of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory for over 30 years," said MRI Senior Vice President and Director of Research Operations Michael F. Helmstetter, Ph.D. "An area that shows great promise regarding energy and the environment is the use of algae as both a mechanism for sequestering carbon dioxide emissions and as a viable source of biofuel."

MRI's new Center for Integrated Algal Research, located in Kansas City, Mo., will leverage the Institute's expertise in biotechnology, chemistry, systems engineering, and bioinformatics to provide government and industry with a broad range of basic and applied R&D, process engineering, consulting, and lifecycle cost analysis services related to the use of algae in solving many global energy and environmental challenges.

Current research identifies several characteristics that make algae a good candidate to reduce carbon emission and produce biofuel:

-- Microalgae can grow using municipal wastewater.

-- Algae have greater photosynthetic efficiency than higher terrestrial

plants and can grow in a range of temperatures, pH, and nutrient load.

-- Algae have a higher growth rate and oil content -- and needs less energy

output to produce oil -- than many other plants.

-- Algal biocrude is suitable as a feedstock in existing U.S. refineries.

According to Helmstetter, MRI's new Center will focus on research and technology development associated with ide
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SOURCE Midwest Research Institute
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