Algae testbed leaders look to solve national energy needs

April 22, 2013

Algae Testbed Public-Private Partnership (ATP3) members from across the nation descended upon the ASU Polytechnic campus April 15-18 to discuss strategies for advancing research and development of algae-based technologies for biofuels and other valuable co-products. 

Led by the Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (AzCATI) at ASU, representatives from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Cellana, Touchstone Research Laboratory, Valicor Renewables, California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Texas at Austin, and Commercial Algae Management have partnered to form ATP3. ATP3 aims to facilitate innovation, empower knowledge creation and accelerate growth of the emergent algal energy industry. Download Full Image

During the kickoff meeting, members of ATP3 strategized how to effectively meet the needs of testbed users across the world and collaboratively produce relevant data and standard analytical and production methods to inform algae-based solutions for the energy, carbon capture and scale-up needs of public and private markets.

“The ATP3 kickoff meeting gave all of the partners of ATP3 a chance to discuss how we will support public and private institutions in finding solutions to the nation's energy challenges,” said Gary Dirks, director of ATP3, and ASU LightWorks, the university initiative that pulls light-inspired research at ASU under one strategic framework. “Working together, we will push the envelope on algae-based sciences and produce usable, sustainable solutions to carbon capture and fuel needs – to name a few.”

The ATP3 project is made possible by a $15 million U.S. Department of Energy competitive grant from its Bioenergy Technologies Office. This funding allows ATP3 to support the operation of existing outdoor algae cultivation systems and produce algae that can be used for real-world solutions such as biofuel.

Partner testbed facilities are located in Arizona, Hawaii, California, Ohio and Georgia.

The ATP3 framework allows partners to work individually within their own institutions or collaboratively, to coordinate analytical and technical support from the larger ATP3 network.

“The framework we are creating at ATP3 is unprecedented,” said John McGowen, Portfolio Manager in ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development’s Project Management Office and Director of Operations and Program Management for ATP3. “By providing closely coordinated, harmonized and objective standards for algal production and biomass compositional analysis protocols across our network of testbed facilities, we will have the ability to reduce the uncertainties around biomass productivity, oil compositional quality and yields.  ATP3 will make these standardized and validated methods, as well as the high impact data from our long term cultivation feedstock trials accessible to the algal biofuels modeling and R&D community.”

The collaborative effort of ATP3 not only serves the group mission to accelerate algae-based research and development, but also helps partner agencies advance their own goals.

"Partnering with industry leaders through the ATP3 framework enables collaboration to more quickly solve underlying challenges in support of commercial algae technology solutions," said Lee Tonkovich, vice president of Research & Development at Heliae LLC, an algae technology company in Gilbert, Ariz.

The ATP3 meeting took place at AzCATI, a hub for research, testing, and commercialization of algae-based products at the Polytechnic Campus. AzCATI provides open test and evaluation facilities for the algae industry and research community. AzCATI is embedded within ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation and is part of the LightWorks initiative, supported by ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development.

For more information about ATP3 visit

Scholarship supports ASU students, honors husband

April 22, 2013

It has been just over two years since Judy Lynn said goodbye to the man she describes as one of the most remarkable individuals she has ever known. Ed Lynn died in March of 2011, shortly after being diagnosed with cancer. Judy, who earned her bachelor’s degree in communication and her Master of Arts in Communication Studies (MACS) degree from ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, chose to honor her husband’s memory by establishing the Ed and Judy Lynn Scholarship.

The first two scholarships will be awarded this fall to two students in the MACS program. This scholarship award is renewable one time, so a qualified student may receive two years of funding. Judy and Ed Lynn Download Full Image

Judy Lynn spoke last fall at New College’s scholarship reception, which brings donors and scholarship recipients together to meet in person. She provided a heartwarming and entertaining look at Ed’s life and her motivations for establishing a scholarship through New College, the core college on ASU’s West campus.

“It was obvious to everyone at the reception that Judy and Ed had a wonderful marriage and cared deeply for each other,” said Herschel Fink, New College’s development officer. “Establishing the Ed and Judy Lynn Scholarship serves to help students in New College while also creating a living legacy for Ed Lynn and his principles of a strong work ethic, generosity and commitment.”

Along with those principles came a healthy sense of humor. Among the anecdotes Judy Lynn shared with reception attendees was what Ed did on his last “good day” after his cancer diagnosis, which happened to be Judy’s birthday. “He made his way into our guest rooms to hide plastic snakes in his sister’s and sister-in-law’s beds,” she said.

Judy Lynn credits Fink and communication studies professors Jeff Kassing and Vince Waldron for assisting her in establishing the scholarship fund. She will serve as a member of the scholarship selection committee, along with two faculty members. “We work with our donors to enable them to be involved in the selection process if that is something they are interested in doing,” Fink said.

“The first priority of the scholarship is to support students who have established a promising academic record as undergraduates in the New College communication program and have been admitted to the MACS program,” Lynn said.

“While this scholarship will be available to students who demonstrate financial need, we will also be looking at those applicants who show that they are personally covering a portion of the costs of attendance – as Ed might say, that they have some ‘skin in the game.’ We see Lynn Scholars as engaged academic leaders. They will be expected to work closely with a MACS faculty mentor on projects related to teaching, research, or community service,” she said.

Lynn said her husband was extremely supportive, both of her and of the communication program, as she pursued her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the West campus. “We opened our home to communication and Osher Lifelong Learning planning and social events. Ed got to know many of my colleagues and faculty in the communication program, and loved being involved.”

Lynn describes her husband as a born entrepreneur who was generous and had a strong work ethic. “He got his first job at the age of 12 delivering groceries to customers from the local market in one of the store’s vehicles,” she told attendees at the scholarship reception. “Now, Ed did not have a driver’s license, but that didn’t stop him from getting his job done. How times have changed!”

After a successful four-decade career in the meat industry, Ed Lynn became involved with additional business ventures including banking and real estate development. “In Ed’s world, colleagues and customers became friends, friends became family, and family was everything to him,” Judy said.

Establishing a scholarship fund not only honors her husband’s legacy but also ensures that Judy Lynn will continue to maintain the bonds she established while working toward two degrees through New College. “I hold many fond memories of colleagues and faculty at a most wonderful campus that really worked for me as a returning student,” she said.

Students interested in applying to receive the Lynn Scholarship or other scholarships offered through New College may contact