(San Diego, Calif., January 19, 2009) -- San Diego-based General Atomics (GA) was awarded a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop scalable processes for the cost-effective large-scale production of algae triglyceride oil and an algae-derived JP-8 jet fuel surrogate. The contract has a total value of up to $43M if all phases of the development program are completed.
GA will lead a team of university and industrial partners that will examine all aspects of the algae to JP-8 production process. From a technical perspective, algae oil can be produced and converted to JP-8. The goal of this 36 month program is to reduce the cost of doing so to a level that will offer DOD an affordable, reliable long term supply of JP-8. This will involve identifying key cost drivers and investigating multiple approaches to increasing productivity and reducing operating and/or capital costs. The program will address algae selection and growth; water, carbon dioxide and nutrient supply; algae harvesting; oil extraction; and conversion to JP-8 - all in the context of an overall JP-8 life-cycle cost model. The contract will conclude with a pre-pilot scale demonstration.
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