This past Monday, we met with Dr. Schonna Manning, a former researcher at UT whose studies focus on the variety of applications for algae. She began by introducing the vast types of algae that exist in comparison to the rest of all living things. Dr. Manning then claimed that algae are “the original NET” as they have been capturing carbon for millions of years to utilize in their photosynthetic process. Moreover, she stated that algae are more effective at capturing carbon than land photosynthetic eukaryotes, as they tend to reproduce at a much faster rate. Dr. Manning also covered a broad range of applications for regular and genetically modified algae, claiming that a single barrel of it can produce biofuel, pharmaceutical products, and a variety of nutritional proteins and carbohydrates for human and animal consumption. She then explained that algae is easy to control in a laboratory setting, but is difficult to scale in a controlled fashion. She described successfully administered algae farms in California, Nevada, and Florida, and the variety of farms that exist, from simple ponds, to highly sophisticated vertical farms. Dr. Manning then introduced her research, describing niche applications to her modified algae.
Aside from this wonderful speaker, Ben and Micky went over a recent meeting with Ryan Thompson, Gary Rochelle, and Jim Walker, where they discussed potential carbon emission solutions for the university power plant. They also briefly discussed the importance of COP27 and mentioned the upcoming CDRLA Day, an interactive policy activity where students will learn about a proposed law that attempts to procure carbon dioxide removal services to achieve statewide net zero greenhouse gas emissions under legally enforceable limits.