The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected four additional projects from the Productivity Enhanced Algae and ToolKits funding opportunity (earlier post) to receive up to $8.8 million. These projects are intended to deliver high-impact tools and techniques for increasing the productivity of algae organisms in order to reduce the costs of producing algal biofuels and bioproducts.
Technical targets for the FOA include both demonstrable improvements in cultivation performance as well as in toolkit availability. Therefore, technical targets at project conclusion (anticipated in 2020) include achievement of an annual average algal biomass productivity of at least 18 g/m2/day, extrapolated from the combination of relevant seasonal data from the project and literature values for seasonal regimes not targeted by a given project, while achieving a minimum of 80 GGE per ton of biomass potential.The funding for this initiative now totals more than $16 million.
The selected projects include the following:
Colorado School of Mines. The Colorado School of Mines, in partnership with Global Algae Innovations, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Colorado State University, will improve the productivity of robust wild algal strains using advanced directed evolution approaches in combination with high-performance, custom-built, solar simulation bioreactors.
University of California, San Diego. The University of California, San Diego, will develop genetic tools, high-throughput screening methods, and breeding strategies for green algae and cyanobacteria, targeting robust production strains. The team will work with three key industrial partners: Triton Health and Nutrition, Algenesis Materials, and Global Algae Innovations.
University of Toledo. The University of Toledo, in partnership with Montana State University and the University of North Carolina, will cultivate microalgae in high-salinity and high-alkalinity media to achieve productivities without needing to add concentrated carbon dioxide. The team will also deliver molecular toolkits, including metabolic modeling combined with targeted genome editing.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory will ecologically engineer algae to encourage growth of bacteria that efficiently remineralize dissolved organic matter to improve carbon dioxide uptake and simultaneously remove excess oxygen.
DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) supports early-stage research and development of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies that make energy more affordable and strengthen the reliability, resilience, and security of the US electric grid. The Bioenergy Technologies Office (BTO) contributes to EERE’s mission by working with industry, academia, and national laboratory partners on a balanced portfolio of research in algal biofuels technologies.