ASU gets DOE funding for algae and cyanobacteria research

May 24, 2016 |

In Arizona, two Arizona State University biofuel projects are among six nationwide receiving $10 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to explore innovative solutions in bioenergy.

ASU’s research projects approach the question from two different angles:

  • Algae: This project will develop mixotrophic algae that can consume both CO2 and cellulosic sugars and significantly improve algal biomass growth. These heat-tolerant strains will be grown in photobioreactors, potentially reducing evaporation and eliminating the need for cooling. The potential could reach five times the current algal production rates — which would significantly reduce the cost of enclosed algal cultivation systems and will boost total fuel potential, especially in the Southwestern United States.
  • Cyanobacteria: This project will engineer cyanobacteria for the production of ethyl laurate, which is easily converted to “drop-in” ready (that is, compatible with existing infrastructure) biofuels or bioproducts. This uses carbon dioxide (CO2), water and light as the main inputs, and does not waste carbon and energy by limiting the amount of biomass produced. This is a “one-stop-shop” cyanobacterial platform that generates liquid transportation fuel from CO2 and water with sunlight as the energy input. The proposed project is expected to lead to an economically competitive yield of an immediate biofuel produced directly from CO2 under the influence of sunlight.

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Category: Research

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