Scripps and SoCalGas Green Business Collaboration Honored
Project to develop system employing algae to capture pollution recognized as 'Dealmaker of the Year'
Scripps Institution of Oceanography/University of California, San Diego
A science-meets-business collaboration between Scripps
Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and Southern California Gas Co.
(SoCalGas) has been recognized for its innovative approach to developing a
sustainable solution to capture pollution at the industrial source while
simultaneously yielding a sustainable byproduct.
Point Loma Nazarene University’s (PLNU) Fermanian Business and Economic Institute bestowed
a 2013 “Dealmaker of the Year” award to Scripps/UC San Diego and SoCalGas for entering
a collaboration to study currently available technologies and recommend designs
for novel systems in which algae consume carbon dioxide emissions from natural
gas combustion sources and power plants. Such systems would convert emissions
into valuable by-products such as biomethane, biodiesel, and animal feed.
The award, selected in the Collaborative Dealmaker category,
honors “collaborations that exemplify creativity, innovation, and ethical
practices that create long-term value for the business community in the San
“The PLNU business
school award recognizes that the business and education communities of the San
Diego region are valuing the importance of innovative partnerships between
science-based research institutions such as Scripps, and major local industries
such as SoCalGas, for exploring
solutions to socially relevant problems facing the region in particular, and
the environment at-large,” said Dominick Mendola, a senior development engineer
at Scripps and collaborator on the SoCalGas project.
Mendola works inside the laboratory of Greg Mitchell, a
Scripps research biologist and leader in the exploration of marine algae as a
potential renewable biofuel energy source that can one day replace fossil fuels
and become a source of animal feed that does not require fresh water. Mitchell
and Scripps have been early leaders in the San Diego Center for Algae
Biotechnology, a collaboration of UC San Diego, The Scripps Research Institute,
and collaborators in private industry.
was a surprise and an honor to receive the award,” said Ron Kent, technical
development manager of Emerging Technologies for SoCalGas, who works closely
with the Scripps team. “We are grateful to the university and the Fermanian
Business and Economic Institute for recognizing our collaboration."
are delighted and honored to be recognized for this project,” added Jeff Reed,
director of Emerging Technologies for SoCalGas. “The award honors our
colleagues at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and spotlights SoCalGas as an
innovator in creating solutions that enhance the benefits of natural gas in
providing clean, renewable energy for our customers and communities.”
addition to the SoCalGas collaboration, Scripps is pursuing
similar relationships across multiple industries, including
biotechnology/pharmaceuticals and new technologies for undersea oil and gas
exploration, said Wendy Hunter Barker, director of
institutional initiatives at Scripps (sio.ucsd.edu/business).
Mitchell and Mendola’s research extends a robust algae
research history at Scripps that goes back to the early beginnings of the
institution. From giant kelp forests to tiny algal organisms, Scripps
researchers study the ecological, biomedical, and environmental aspects of
algae that are vital for science and society.
“It is very
important to explore time and space efficiency in human industry to increase
our energy and food supply while also reducing our impact on biodiversity,
fresh water, natural ecosystems, and climate,” said Mitchell. “Algae are the
‘perfect storm’ that can create biomass for biofuel or feed at very high
efficiency in time and space while growing on sea water and remediating waste
nutrients from agriculture and municipalities, and CO2 from power generation.
The efforts of many in research and development for algae are defining ways to
bring the costs down to make algae industrial biotechnology an economically
viable part of the solution for sustainable energy and animal feed.”
-- Mario C. Aguilera
March 14, 2013