Tuesday News Roundup: NMSU-Led Biofuel Research Gets Federal Funding

Aug 13, 2013

NMSU-Led Biofuel Research Gets Federal Funding - Associated Press

Research into the potential of algae-based fuel is getting a $5 million boost from the U.S. Department of Energy.

New Mexico State University recently announced the funding, saying it will go to a research effort aimed at improving fuel that's compatible with existing refineries.

NMSU is working on the project along with Los Alamos, Argonne and Pacific Northwest national laboratories, Washington State and Michigan State universities and four companies.

Key goals of the project are to improve the yields and stability of algal biomass and cultivation systems while also improving oil content at harvest.

NMSU officials say the award follows other federal funding announcements for the university's algal bioenergy team, including money for the algal cultivation test bed at the Fabian Garcia Science Center.

Air Force Space Surveillance System Nearing End - Associated Press

Air Force Space Command is telling the 21st Space Wing to prepare to end operations of the aging Air Force Space Surveillance System by Oct. 1 due to budget cuts.

Officials said Monday that equipment won't be removed until decisions on fiscal 2014 budget issues are final, but deactivating the system by Oct. 1 would lead to cost savings of about $14 million a year.

The system has transmitter sites at Jordan Lake, Ala.; Lake Kickapoo, Texas; and Gila River, Ariz., plus receivers at Hawkinsville, Ga.; Red River, Ark.; Elephant Butte, N.M.; and San Diego.

The Colorado Springs-based contractor operating the sites, Fiver Rivers Services, declined to comment.

The Air Force says it will track space objects using other systems. Development on a new space surveillance system is under way.

Santa Fe Identifies Officers Involved In Shooting - Associated Press

Authorities say two Santa Fe police officers who were involved in a shooting last week have completed three days of standard paid administrative leave.

The officers were identified Monday as John DeBaca and Stephen Fonte, who is an 18-year law enforcement veteran. DeBaca has been with Santa Fe police for two years.

Roberto Mendez was shot by police during a stolen vehicle investigation.

According to state police, Mendez hit a Santa Fe police cruiser with the SUV he was driving. He then drove toward officers and was hit by gunfire when officers shot at the vehicle.

The incident is still under investigation. It's unclear which officer wounded Mendez and how many shots were fired.

Authorities say it appears Mendez was armed.

The Santa Fe Police Department says it's working with prosecutors to determine what charges Mendez may face.