DOE funds 2 carbon utilization projects focused on algae

By Erin Voegele | June 17, 2020

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy on June 16 announced it will award $17 million to 11 advanced carbon utilization projects. Approximately $6 million of that funding will support algae projects.

The funding is being awarded under the DOE’s Carbon Utilization Program, which aims to reduce emissions and transform waste carbon streams into value-added products. The selected projects will develop and test technologies that can utilize carbon dioxide from power systems or other industrial sources as the primary feedstock.

Two algae projects were selected for funding.

The University of Kentucky Research Foundation is being awarded nearly $3 million for its project, titled “NH4OH Looping with Membrane Absorber and Distributed Stripper for Enhanced Algae Growth.” The project seeks to develop an integrated CO2 capture and utilization technology for algae production. The technology will boost algae production by up to 50 percent by continuously supplying CO2 and ammonium in the appropriate growth ratio. The membrane absorber will be coupled with distributed, solar-energy powered strippers located near bioreactor modules for solvent regeneration.

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science is also being awarded $3 million for its project, titled “A Highly Efficient Microalgae-Based Carbon Sequestration System to Reduce CO2 Emissions from Power Plant Flue Gases.” The project plans to harness photosynthetic microalgae to maintain a high-pH and high–alkalinity culture to create a carbon-negative system for CO2 sequestration from power plant flue gases. The outcome of the project will be a scalable and deployable carbon-negative bioreactor system for CO2 capture from flue gases.

Additional information, including a full list of the 11 selected projects, is available on the DOE website.