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US Department of Energy gives up to $15m for algae-based biofuels’ projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced funds worth up to $15 million (€13.5m) for the advancement of algae-based technologies for biofuels.

This funding will advance the research and development of advanced biofuel technologies to speed the commercialisation of renewable, domestically produced, and affordable fossil-fuel replacements, the DOE said in a statement.

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

  • California-based 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 pre-processing technologies with some of the world's leading strain development laboratories.
  • Florida-based Algenol Biotech, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Reliance Industries 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. 
  • California-based 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 co-products, and carbon-dioxide mitigation.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates the development and deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen US energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality.