delware environmental institute

Delmarva Now: In Delaware, pollution goes green with research

Jennifer Stewart, a researcher at the University of Delaware, has been perfecting a way to feed algae greenhouse gases, boosting the plant's growth while preventing pollution. It is all thanks to an enzyme Stewart discovered while researching harmful algal blooms a few years ago. The enzyme was found in Heterosigma akashiwo, a type of algae.

The entrepreneurial-minded Stewart, a PhD in Marine Bioscience who is currently pursuing her masters in business, then sought to find a way to use that enzyme in the commercial field.

For the past month, Stewart has set up a lab to mimic real-world scenarios on the Lewes campus to find out if her work is viable. If it is, algae farms could set up shop a few miles away from coal or gas-powered electricity plants and oil refineries and have emissions piped straight to the algae, instead of into the atmosphere.