The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the selection of 7 algal projects totaling $15 million to support early-stage bioenergy research and development. This R&D will go toward enabling cost-competitive, drop-in renewable hydrocarbon fuels, bio-based products, and power from non-food biomass. This work supports the DOE’s goal of reducing the cost of bio-based drop-in fuels to $3/gallon by 2022 to continue to provide consumers with affordable, reliable transportation energy choices.

“The selections announced today highlight some of the most innovative and advanced bioenergy technologies that have the potential to produce new sources of reliable and affordable energy for American families and businesses,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Perry. “Developing all of our domestic energy resources is critical to keeping our nation prosperous and secure.”

Under the title of Efficient Carbon Utilization in Algal Systems, the 7 projects have been granted up to $15 million to improve the efficiency of carbon utilization and productivity of algal systems either through improving uptake and conversion of waste CO2 emissions – such as from a power plant or industrial facilities – or through the development of new, affordable technologies to capture CO2 directly from ambient air to enhance algal growth.

The projects are:

Topic Area 1: Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Utilization Improvement

  • Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, to receive $2,145,600 for “Integrating an Industrial Source and Commercial Algae Farm with Innovative CO2 Transfer Membrane and Improved Strain Technologies”
  • Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, to receive $2,500,000 for “Multi-pronged Approach of Improved Biological and Physicochemical Systems to Improving Carbon Utilization by Cyanobacterial Cultures”
  • Global Algae Innovations, San Diego, CA, to receive $2,500,000 for “Algae Cultivation from Flue Gas with High CO2Utilization Efficiency”
  • Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, to receive $1,992,76 for “Membrane Carbonation for 100% Efficient Delivery of Industrial CO2 Gases”
  • Duke University, Durham, NC, to receive $1,511,515 for “Carbon Utilization Efficiency in Marine Algae Biofuel Production Systems Through Loss Minimization and Carbonate Chemistry Modification”

Topic Area 2: Direct Air Capture Systems

  • MicroBio Engineering Inc., San Luis Obispo, CA, to receive $2,260,880 for Air Carbon for Algae Production – AirCAP
  • Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, to receive $1,983,452 for “Direct Air Capture of CO2 and Delivery to Photobioreactors for Algal Biofuel Production”