Colorado State University researchers building on algae biofuel advances

September 1, 2021 |

In Colorado, Colorado State University scientists are partners in a three-year grant of up to $3.5 million from the Department of Energy, aimed at improving how algae-based biofuels and bioproducts are made.

The Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office has announced its support for the project, titled “Rewiring Algal Carbon Energetics for Renewables,” led by scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. The funding is part of the federal bioenergy office’s Advanced Algal Systems Program, which had previously awarded $15 million in grants to three other projects.

The overall project goal set by the Department of Energy is to double the yield of biofuel precursors from algae to about 3,700 gallons per acre per year.

Strategies to be used by the team to meet this goal include increasing algal cultivation productivity, optimizing biomass composition, and extracting and separating different types of algal lipids to reduce the cost of upgrading them to renewable diesel.

The researchers will use an algae species called Desmodesmus armatus, and will focus on fundamental processes of efficiently channeling carbon dioxide into useful fuel intermediates. A San Diego-based company called Sapphire Energy is a project partner and has pioneered the use of D. armatus for biofuels.

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Category: Research

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