Algae Program

The University of Texas at Austin (UT) conducts a multidisciplinary research program to extract bio-oils from algae to produce fuel and other high-value algae products. Success will permit Texas to grow some of its fuel and other chemical feedstocks to reduce dependence on imported oil. Cost-efficient bio-oil extraction is widely recognized as a key impediment to commercialization. With coordination by the Center for Electromechanics, the University has assembled a world-class team of researchers from multiple engineering and science disciplines to pursue and exploit fundamental science to produce the innovation needed to achieve cost-effective bio-oil processing solutions.

UT Science and Technology Facility (UT-STF), and all of its capabilities, are now available to both public and private research partners who want to use the facilities for analyzing, growing and harvesting algae.

PDF UT-STF Brochure Download

This facility, located adjacent to the UT Center for Electromechanics (UT- CEM), can grow from test tube size algae samples to almost 15,000 gallons. Researchers at the UT-STF have consulted with more than 35 major, international companies looking to develop and produce algae at large-scale.  This facility utilizes a full suite of analytical technologies to generate detailed algae profiles outlining the potential for an algae sample to produce oil throughout its growth and processing.

Algal Oil Extraction Process developed by UT in partnership with OpenA

ASTF flowchart

This research team includes not only UT faculty, but also UT students. In addition to contributing significantly to the success of the program, some of these students are now UT alumni making their mark in academia and industry. The team has also helped local high school students learn about this potentially important source of fuel through summer internships and science fair project support.

In addition, team members have assisted AlgEternal Technologies and Sunrise Ridge Algae, two other Texas start-up companies in the algae field, and collaborated with 3M, a multinational corporation with a presence in Texas, to help them identify new markets in this field.

Companies that prosper in the current U.S. economic environment tend to exploit technology effectively and quickly convert technical advances to profits. More and more in the U.S., the source of this technology is from research universities like the University of Texas at Austin.

open algae

UT-CEM is well positioned to collaborate with industry to develop needed technologies, as it is the largest and most comprehensive university-based electromechanics research and development facility in the U.S. In fact, Technology Transfer and Commercialization is a core competency – UT-CEM has been commercializing technology from its inception – and it spun out its first company in the mid-1980s. UT-CEM has had success in commercialization across a spectrum of Texas and US industry and has several efforts in progress. Past projects include transportation, energy, and manufacturing sectors. Current efforts include renewable power, smart grids, and biofuel production.

Partner Organizations

algae team


Dr. Connelly

Dr. Rhykka Connelly


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