Can We Cultivate Energy?
To provide practical answers to critical questions regarding sustainable energy, Jonathan Trent initiated a project called “Global Research into Energy and the Environment at NASA (GREEN).” This project, supported by Google, led him to investigate biofuels that do not compete with agriculture. With a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Jonathan turned his attention to the oceans as the energy frontier for biofuels and he developed a system called “OMEGA” (Offshore Membrane Enclosures for Growing Algae). OMEGA emerged from his knowledge of the ocean, his years of training in microbiology in prestigious labs in Germany, Denmark, and France, and his knowledge of engineering from his research at Argonne National Lab in Chicago and, for the last 12 years, at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View. The OMEGA project is supported by the California Energy Commission and NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate.