Two ASU Scientists Nominated for Coveted World Technology Award For Coming Up With "Green" Jet-Fuel Alternative

Two scientists at Arizona State University's polytechnic campus may have found a slimy green alternative to the world's oil crisis: Algae.

No joke. Scientists Qiang Hu and Milton Sommerfeld can convert algae into jet fuel -- a discovery that may just land them a World Technology Award tomorrow.

By selectively breeding algae using light, carbon dioxide gas, and nutrients, then removing the nutrients from the algae's cell, the two scientists have created a strain of super-algae that produces oil at an extremely rapid rate.

Their project has already drawn the attention of Boeing, which has committed $225,000 to support the project. They also ranked 11 on Time magazine's top 100 inventions list in 2008.

World Technology Awards are given annually by he World Technology Network in 20 categories to honor innovative work of the greatest likely long-term significance. Here's how WTM describes itself on its Web page:

The World Technology Network (WTN) is a global meeting ground, a virtual think tank, and an elite club whose members are all focused on the business and science of bringing important emerging technologies of all types (from biotech to new materials, from IT to new energy sources) into reality. The WTN's membership is comprised of approximately 1000 members from more than 60 countries, judged by their peers to be the most innovative in the technology world.

"We never thought or dreamed that work in this area would engender this level of visibility, but we are excited and motivated by the interest in the use of alternative fuels to meet some of the world's energy needs," said Sommerfeld in an ASU press release.

Check back in with us tomorrow to see how they do in the awards competition.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Malia Politzer
Contact: Malia Politzer