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DOE awards $3.5M to Cellana to develop cost-competitive algal biofuels; hybrid production system

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding $3.5 million to Cellana for an algae project aimed at accelerating the development of sustainable, affordable algal biofuels. This research project supports the goal of producing 2,500 gallons of algal biofuel feedstock per acre per year by 2018, an important milestone toward reducing the cost of algal biofuels to cost-competitive levels of 5,000 gallons per acre per year by 2022.

Cellana, LLC, in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, will develop a fully integrated, high-yield algae feedstock production system by integrating the most advanced strain improvement, cultivation, and processing technologies into their operations at their Kona Demonstration Facility.

Cellana’s core technology is a photosynthetic production system that economically grows proprietary algae strains at commercial scale. The patented production system, called ALDUO technology, couples closed-culture photobioreactors with open ponds in a two-stage process.

Previous attempts at scaling up algae production have used a photobioreactor or open pond individually, not coupled. Open pond production, which is needed for rapid algae growth, has historically been hampered by the contamination by undesirable algae strains. Photobioreactors by themselves are unable to produce algae at an acceptable rate and would take up too much room to become commercially viable.

Cellana says that its hybrid production system has achieved significant breakthroughs for the large-scale production of algae-based biofuels and bioproducts.

Cellana’s process. Click to enlarge.


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