US DOE awards $15M to advance algae-based biofuels, bioproducts

By DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy | July 14, 2016

The U.S. DOE announced up to $15 million for three projects aimed at reducing the production costs of algae-based biofuels and bioproducts through improvements in algal biomass yields. These projects will develop highly productive algal cultivation systems and couple those systems with effective, energy-efficient, and low-cost harvest and processing technologies. This funding will advance the research and development of advanced biofuel technologies to speed the commercialization of renewable, domestically produced, and affordable fossil-fuel replacements.

The three projects selected, located in California and Florida, will include multidisciplinary partners to coordinate improvements from algal strain advancements through preprocessing technologies (harvesting, dewatering, and downstream processing) to biofuel intermediate in order to reduce the production costs of algal biofuels and bioproducts.

Global Algae Innovations Inc. (San Diego, California)—Global Algae Innovations, in collaboration with the University of California-San Diego, TSD Management Associates, Texas A&M University, General Electric, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, will accelerate the commercialization of algal biofuels through development of an integrated, photosynthetic, open raceway pond system to produce algal oil. Their approach is to combine best-in-class cultivation and preprocessing technologies with some of the world’s leading strain development laboratories.

Algenol Biotech LLC (Ft. Myers, Florida)—Algenol Biotech, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology and Reliance Industries Ltd. have formed a team to advance the state-of-the-art in algal production and biofuel processing with the end goal of a sustainable, economically viable biofuel intermediate through enhanced productivity of cyanobacteria, the conversion of the biomass to a biofuel intermediate, and the cost-sensitive operation of a photo-bioreactor system. 

MicroBio Engineering Inc. (San Luis Obispo, California)—MicroBio Engineering, in partnership with Cal Poly University, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and Heliae, will deliver integrated technologies that achieve high yields of biofuels, combined with treatment of wastewater, higher value coproducts, and carbon dioxide mitigation.


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