Solar Energy and Renewable Fuels Lab: Mission Statement

Our research integrates transport phenomena, thermodynamics, and interfacial science with microbiology and systems analysis, for applications in energy systems, biotechnology, and manufacturing.

Current research activities include fundamental and applied projects in (1) solar radiation transport and utilization in photonic and solar-thermal technologies, (2) cultivation of algae for CO2 sequestration and sustainable biofuel/bioproduct manufacturing, (3) non-thermal plasmas and their applications in energy, water, environmental, and biomedical problems. Please refer to Projects for more detailed information.



1. Conducting multi-disciplinary research that will result in the (i) fundamental understanding of physical, chemical, and biological processes, (ii) creation of enabling technologies that will transform industry, and (iii) system level understanding of integrated processes for more efficient and sustainable design and operation. Through research we specifically aim for:

2. Educating the next generation of leaders and technology innovators through teaching and research in a wide range of technologies for achieving a sustainable advanced civilization.



Dr. Berberoglu joins the faculty of the Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology (ICMB).



Lab Members


& Openings


& Equipment


& Directions



& Sponsors


Publications & Patents





The Solar Energy and Renewable Fuels Lab and senior high school student Zachary Gil-Mata from David Crockett High School teach kids about Algae at Austin Children’s Museum. The Austin Children’s Museum and Eco-Kids Camp enjoyed Zachary’s great algae presentation, bioreactor demonstration and looking at algae under the microscope. Check out more info on the Outreach Page.

Dr. Berberoglu’s 2nd annual Graduate Student Field Trip to the Renewable Energy Roundup, Fredericksburg, TX is another great success! Below, Dr. B presenting on Algae and Energy Efficiency.

Surface attached bioreactor (SABR) developed at Solar Energy and Renewable Fuels Lab in collaboration with NASA Ames Exobiology group gets featured on NASA webpage, click here for the full story.

Dr. Berberoglu is giving an invited talk on “Solar Hydrogen Production Technologies” at American Chemical Society’s 243rd National Meeting in San Diego, CA on March 28, 2012.

Dr. Berberoglu wins the NSF BRIGE award to study formation and biotechnological applications of photosynthetic microbial biofilms (August 2, 2011).

Thomas Murphy is awarded the NASA Texas Space Grant Consortium Fellowship. Congratulations Tom!

Dr. Berberoglu and collaborators from NASA Ames Exobiology win the NASA Center Innovation Fund to a develop novel photobioreactor for space applications.  

Angel and Altan’s paper on “Rheological properties of algae slurries for minimizing harvesting energy requirements in biofuel production” gets featured on Renewable Energy Global Innovations as a key scientific paper, click here.

Dr. Berberoglu wins the NSF CAREER Award for developing energetically, economically, and environmentally sustainable algal biofuels.

Dr. Berberoglu participates the 2012 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering symposium at the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan (September 13-15, 2012). 

Altan Ozkan graduates with his Ph.D. degree. Dr. Ozkan will be an assistant professor at the Bahcesehir University in Istanbul, Turkey. Congratulations Altan!

Dr. Berberoglu gives a talk on “Natural versus Artificial Light Usage in Algal Cultivation” at the Algae Biomass Summit 2012, in Denver CO.

Dr. Berberoglu wins the Norman Hackerman Advanced Research Projects Award for studying the electric and magnetic stimulation of cells.

Tom’s research on designing synthetic trees for biofuel/bioproduct generation and life support in space gets featured on the Mechanical Engineering Department’s webpage (full story), on Scientific American., and on Algae Industry Magazine.

Dr. Berberoglu becomes the Faculty Advisor for the newly launched Sustainable Energy Systems (SES) Certificate program for undergraduate engineers. 

Tom Murphy graduates with his Ph.D. degree working on the development of a synthetic tree for biofuel/bioproduct production. Congratulations Tom!

Dr. Berberoglu is invited by the National Academy of Engineering to participate and present his Project Based Education Innovations at the 2013 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Education symposium at the National Academies Beckman Center at Irvine, California. (October 27-30, 2013).

Akhil Kulkarni graduates with his M.S. degree working emulsion flows in porous media. He will be working at Schlumberger, Houston Texas. Congratulations Akhil!

Onur Taylan obtains a tenure-track faculty position starting in Fall 2014 in mechanical engineering department at the Middle Eastern Technical University, North Cyprus Campus. Onur is currently finishing his Ph.D. in our group on use of non-thermal plasmas for generating synthesis gas from humidified CO2. Congratulations Onur!

Tom Murphy obtains a postdoctoral fellowship at NASA Ames Research Center (ARC). His appointment starts in April 2014. Congratulations Tom!

Dr. Berberoglu is presented with the Professor of the Month Award by the Senate of College Councils. Click here for the full story.

Tom Murphy receives the Young Researcher Award in Engineering at the 2013 7th Annual Algae Biomass Summit. Click here for the full          story. Congratulations Tom!

Algae Biomass Summit

Dr. Berberoglu organizes and co-chairs a session on “Reducing Our Dependence on Fossil Fuels” at the National Academy of Engineering’s 2013 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, at DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware. Click here for the full story.

Dr. Berberoglu is featured on the Excellent Professors in Mechanical Engineering video. Click here to watch the video.

Solar Energy and Renewable Fuels (SERF) Laboratory

The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Berberoglu is presented with the Professor of the Year Award by the Senate of College Councils. Click here for the full story.

Cody Bond wins the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Cody’s research focuses on using solar thermal energy for converting biomass/biowaste into biofuels.

Dr. Berberoglu wins a collaborative grant with the University of Almeria in Spain to study and prevent the biofouling of photobioreactors and surfaces.

Dr. Berberoglu is quoted in an article by the New York Times titled “Seeing Purpose and Profit in Algae”.

Dr. Berberoglu and his co-inventors receive the 2015 Ames Technology Brief Award from NASA Ames Research Center on the cell cultivation platform they developed for space applications.