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Meet your conference speakers

Marc von Keitz, Ph.D.

Program Director, Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E), USA

"Critical considerations for the design of scalable macroalgal cultivation systems"

As a program director at ARPA-E, Marc is developing and managing a portfolio of high-risk, high-reward funding programs to advance the development of innovative biomass production as well as biochemical and thermo-chemical conversion processes for the production of fuels and chemicals. Prior, to joining ARPA-E, Marc was co-founder and CTO at BioCee, Inc. an industrial biotechnology startup company. As director of the Biotechnology Resource Center at the University of Minnesota he oversaw the univeristy’s central fermentation facility as well as Minnesota’s first biotech startup incubator. Marc studied biology and chemical engineering at University of Karlsruhe and INSA Toulouse. He also obtained a MS from Stanford University and a Ph.D. from the Univeristy of Minnesota, both in Environmental Engineering.


ARPA-E currently supports 19 projects developing new strategies and technologies to cultivate macroalgae in the open ocean under its MARINER program. The focus is on cost-effective approaches that can ultimately expand to energy-relevant scales of deployment. The projects cover a wide range of geographies across US waters, including New England, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, California, Pacific Northwest and Alaska, as well as Hawaii and multiple species of brown and red algae. Independent of location and species grown, mechanical resilience of the cultivation structures and sufficient nutrient supply are some of the most critical design criteria. To support the design efforts in these area four separate projects are developing new modelling approaches to better characterize and predict the interactions of hydrodynamic forces, cultivations structures, nutrient fluxes and the macroalgae.