Federal Support for Algae in 2015
ABO advocacy helped secure more than $27 million in funding for algae from federal research and development programs in 2015.
Next year funding could reach $75 million or more if we can keep reminding Members of Congress and government agencies about the potential for algae to help solve so many of our economic and environmental challenges.
$2 Million for Carbon Utilization
Federal confidence in carbon capture and utilization (CCU) may be on the rise thanks to the efforts of the Algae Biomass Organization and many of its members to make sure CCU was part of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.
Earlier in the year the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) also added language about “biological CO2 use or conversion” to a carbon capture funding opportunity announcement.
This opened the door for algae-related research to qualify and eventually two projects, totaling almost $2 million in DOE funds, were selected. One will focus on using Scenedesmus acutus algae to make CO2 into fuels and bioplastics.
Congratulations to the University of Kentucky Research Foundation, University of Delaware, College of Earth, and ALGIX, LLC for their fantastic work on their collaboration.
MicroBio Engineering also deserves kudos for winning support for its project that will integrate microalgal production systems into the Orlando (Florida) Utilities Commission Stanton Energy Center coal-fired power plant and study their ability to use and mitigate CO2 emissions from flue gas. Other partners in this work include Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ), Scripps Institution of Oceanography (La Jolla, CA), Life Cycle Associates LLC (Portola Valley, CA), and SFA Pacific, Inc. (Palo Alto, CA).
$18 Million for Biofuels
Even with oil hovering around $40 per barrel, the DOE continues to back algae-based fuel projects. Six research projects tasked with bringing the cost of petroleum-equivalent algal fuel to $5 per gallon received $18 million in total. Through this funding, the DOE aims to spark innovations, create green jobs, and increase energy security.
Congratulations to the selected projects: Producing Algae and Co-Products for Energy (PACE), Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO; Marine Algae Industrialization Consortium (MAGIC), Duke University, Durham, NC; Global Algae Innovations, Inc., El Cajon, CA; Arizona State University, Mesa, AZ; University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA.
$2.1 Million from ARPA-E
In addition, the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), awarded Marine BioEnergy $2.1 million to turn kelp — macro algae — into biofuel. Instead of harvesting from kelp forests near the shore, Marine BioEnergy has developed a system for controlled open-ocean farming. At scale, this is an enormous project and an enormous step for algae.
$75 Million or More in 2016?
We have been working with our House and Senate supporters on appropriations language that could support up to $30 million for algae in the DOE Biomass Energy Technologies Office (BETO) budget and an additional $10 million for carbon capture and utilization in the DOE Fossil Energy Office.
On top of federal funding opportunities, XPRIZE has announced a $20 million competition to develop technology that converts CO2 emissions into valuable materials(register your team by March 3rd, 2016) and the Canadian province of Alberta is offering $15 million in new funding for Innovative Carbon Uses through the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation. CCEMC applications are due January 18.
In total, there is a potential $75 million on the table for algae in the coming months.
Help us keep the visibility of algae in the minds of the federal research programs tasked with solving our nation’s most intractable problems.
Your ABO membership allows us to keep you apprised of these opportunities, help you apply, and introduce you to the Congressional and agency staff who need to hear about the latest scientific and commercial breakthroughs they aim to accelerate.
As the largest group of algae professionals, an ABO membership can also provide your project or products with maximum visibility to customers, researchers and other important audiences. Check out membership details here.
Thanks to all of you who are reaching for better ways to use algae! ABO will keep pushing to ensure that you will have the support you need to make it happen.