STTR Phase I: Passive, Low-Energy Technology for Extracting High-Value Products from Algae

Period of Performance: 01/15/2016 - 12/31/2016


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

5205 Teakwood Ct.
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Institution POC


The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Technology Transfer Phase I project is to commercialize technology to extract high-value components (e.g., omegea3 fatty acids) from algae. Omega3 fatty acids are an essential part of the human diet and are sourced primarily from fish oil; the fish actually get Omega3 from eating algae. Algae present a direct source. However, the high cost of extracting the Omega3 fatty acids from the algae, which represents about 50% of the production cost, is a significant cost hurdle that needs to be overcome. This project seeks to develop and commercialize a novel algae oil extraction technology to reduce the production cost of high-value products such as Omega 3 fatty acids from algae. The technical objectives in this Phase I research project are to build an algal oil extraction system and demonstrate low-energy extraction configurations suitable for extracting high-value components from algae for nutraceuticals. The project will employ its proprietary computer models, based on Carnegie Mellon University research to develop a system to economically extract the oil from algae. This work will be accomplished through the following research objectives. First, specific strain(s) of algae will have their material response evaluated to assess their release thresholds. Secondly, models will inform and/or guide the extraction technology development so that the extraction process is optimized for a particular algae strain. Third, a low-energy extraction system will be built and tested with the goal of providing a system that can lead to a low cost economical way of extracting high value products such as Omega3 fatty acids from algae.