The U.S. Department of Energy has made it’s latest investment in the development of algae as a feedstock to produce advanced biofuels and bioproducts. The focus of the money is for companies who are working to overcome the barrier of high production costs through improvements in algal biomass yields. The DOE says the three companies who received funding will develop highly productive algal cultivation systems and couple those systems with effective, energy-efficient, and low-cost harvest and processing technologies. It is hoped that the funding will help to speed the commercialization of fossil-fuel replacements.
The companies are located in California and Florida, and their projects 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.
And the winners are:
- Global Algae Innovations (San Diego, California)—Global Algae Innovations Inc., 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. The company also received DOE funding for it’s algal research in 2015.
- Algenol Biotech LLC (Ft. Myers, Florida)—Algenol Biotech LLC, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Reliance Industries Limited 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, Inc., 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.