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DOE Announces $15 Million for Algae-based Biofuels

The Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) today announced that it has awarded $15 million for three algae-based biofuels projects. The grants are intended to advance research and development within the industry, ultimately speeding along the production of renewable, economic alternatives to fossil fuels. Significantly, a number of participants in all three projects are Algae Biomass Organization members, including our newest member: General Electric!

Funding for these projects was made available through Congressional appropriations, and was due in no small part to the efforts of ABO members in the research and business communities to keep elected officials apprised of the potential for algae to make an enormous impact in our energy, economic and environmental security.

The three projects include:

  • Further development of Global Algae Innovations’ open raceway pond system 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. The project will combine ‘best-in-class’ cultivation and pre-processing technologies with innovative strain development.
  • Creation of a viable biofuel intermediate by Algenol Biotech LLC in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology and Reliance Industries Ltd. The team will be collaborating on enhancing the productivity of cyanobacteria and successfully converting the resultant biomass into a biofuel intermediate using a photo-bioreactor system.
  • Development of a wide range of integrated technologies by MicroBio Engineering, Inc. in partnership with Cal Poly University, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and Heliae. The focus of the collaboration includes increasing yields of algal biofuel production, improving treatment of wastewater, producing higher value co-products and mitigating carbon dioxide.

These dynamic projects will do much to advance the algae biofuel industry and represent a maturing of innovation in the space. The efforts will directly address the purpose of the body providing the grant: the EERE is intended to accelerate the development and deployment of renewable energy technologies with the intent to strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality and economic vitality. Algae’s promise in all three categories prove these awards will ultimately be a boon to the country.

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