SAIC receives $25 million DARPA contract for algae

By | January 15, 2009
Web exclusive posted Feb. 2, 2009, at 3:37 p.m. CST

San Diego-based Science Applications International Corp. announced Jan. 26 that its multi-phase algae development program has received a $25 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a U.S. Department of Defense program.

SAIC will lead a team of industrial and academic organizations from Georgia, Florida, Hawaii and Texas to develop an integrated process for producing JP-8 jet fuel from algae at a targeted cost of $3 per gallon. SAIC and its team will develop technologies and processes including algae strain selection, water and nutrient sourcing, farming, harvesting, separation, triglyceride purification, algal oil processing, and economic modeling and analysis.

SAIC's work on the contract will happen in two phases. Phase one will concentrate on technology selection and development, pilot-scale plant site analyses, system integration, economic modeling and analysis, culminating in a lab-scale production capability, preliminary production facility design, and the delivery of samples for testing. SAIC will also develop detailed commercialization and qualification plans showing a path to commercial and military systems viability. Phase two will focus on the final design, integration and operation of a pre-pilot-scale production facility.

"The Defense Department has been directed to explore a wide range of energy alternatives and fuel efficiency efforts to reduce the military's reliance on foreign oil to power its aircraft, ground vehicles and non-nuclear ships," said John Gully, SAIC senior vice president and business unit general manager. "We are pleased to work with DARPA and our teammates on this exciting program to develop an alternative to meet the military's need for a reliable domestic source of JP-8."
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