DOE to award up to $8M to develop algae-based biofuels

The US Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE's) Bioenergy Technologies Office announced a funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001628) of up to $8 million, subject to appropriations, for innovative technologies and approaches to help advance bioenergy and bioproducts from algae. This FOA, entitled “Productivity Enhanced Algae and Tool-Kits,”... Read more →


Members of the Marine Algae Industrialization Consortium (MAGIC), led by Duke University in North Carolina, have published an open-access paper in the journal Oceanography presenting the large-scale industrial cultivation of marine microalgae (ICMM) as an answer to pressing global energy, food and climate security issues. Underpinned by numerous prior research... Read more →


DOE BETO to issue $8M funding opportunity for algae-based biofuels

The US Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) plans (DE-FOA-0001708) to issue a funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0001628) for up to $8 million, subject to appropriations, for the development of algae-based biofuels. The FOA, entitled Productivity Enhanced Algae and Tool-Kits (PEAK), will support innovative technologies and approaches to help advance... Read more →


A new analysis from Argonne National Laboratory, funded by the US Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), shows the potential of an algae fractionation process to produce renewable diesel fuel with 63%–68% lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than conventional diesel. The study is published in the journal Algal Research.... Read more →


ARPA-E to issue funding opportunity for advanced technologies for seaweed cultivation for fuels and chemicals

The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA–E) intends to issue a new Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA ) in November, 2016, for the development of advanced cultivation technologies that enable profitable and energy efficient production of macroalgal-biomass (seaweeds) in the ocean. ARPA–E held a workshop on this topic in February... Read more →


DOE to award up to $6.7M to projects to convert captured CO2 to useful products, including fuels

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award approximately $6.7 million in federal funding for cost-shared projects that will develop technologies that utilize CO2 from coal-fired power plants to produce useful products. DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy is seeking these projects as part of the Department’s Carbon Storage program, which... Read more →


DOE awarding $15M to 3 algae-based biofuel and bioproducts projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding up to $15 million for three projects aimed at reducing the production costs of algae-based biofuels and bioproducts through improvements in algal biomass yields. These projects will develop highly productive algal cultivation systems and couple those systems with effective, energy-efficient, and low-cost... Read more →


RIT and Synergy Biogas partner on algae for wastewater cleanup and biofuel production

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and Synergy Biogas are exploring the environmental benefits of microalgae to clean agricultural wastewater and make biofuels. Jeff Lodge, associate professor in RIT’s Thomas Gosnell School of Life Sciences, is running a three-month pilot program at Synergy Biogas, a high-tech anaerobic digester located on Synergy... Read more →


DOE awards up to $10M to 6 projects for non-food biomass and algal biofuels and biochemicals

The US Department of Energy is awarding up to $10 million in funding for six projects that will support the Bioenergy Technologies Office’s (BETO) work to develop renewable and cost-competitive biofuels and biochemicals from non-food biomass feedstocks by reducing the technical risk associated with potentially breakthrough approaches and technologies for... Read more →


Consortium for Algal Biofuel Commercialization releases final report on 6-year project

The Consortium for Algal Biofuel Commercialization (CAB-Comm), led by the University of California, San Diego, has released its final report, detailing the accomplishments and contributions achieved in its six years of operation. CAB-Comm was established in 2010 through a competitive award from the Energy Department’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) to... Read more →


Texas A&M-led team identifies synthetic hydrocarbon pathway in green alga B. braunii

The green microalga Botryococcus braunii is considered a promising biofuel feedstock producer due to its prodigious accumulation of hydrocarbon oils that can be converted into fuels. Now, a team led by researchers from Texas A&M AgriLife Research has identified the first committed step in the biosynthesis of hydrocarbon oil in... Read more →


China team identifies new thermophilic bacterium for direct production of ethanol from brown algae

Researchers from the Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Synthetic Biology, Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences have identified and characterized the first thermophilic bacterium capable (Defluviitalea phaphyphila) of direct conversion of brown algae to ethanol. D. phaphyphila Alg1 can simultaneously utilize mannitol, glucose, and alginate... Read more →


A new biorefinery process developed by scientists at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has proven to be significantly more effective at producing ethanol from algae than previous research. The process, dubbed Combined Algal Processing (CAP), is detailed in an open-access paper in the journal Algal Research. The... Read more →


DOE to award up to $15M for Advancements In Algal Biomass Yield, Phase 2

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award (DE-FOA-0001471) up to $15 million in funding to develop technologies that are likely to succeed in producing 3,700 gallons of algal biofuel intermediate (or equivalent dry weight basis) per acre per year (gal/acre/yr) on an annualized average basis (not peak or projected)... Read more →


Sandia, ASU collaborate on algae computational modeling, look for algae pond predators

Sandia National Laboratories and Arizona State University (ASU) have teamed up to improve computational models of algae growth in raceway ponds that can predict performance, improve pond design and operation and discover ways to improve algae yield outdoors. In addition, Sandia and ASU will further develop spectro-radiometric techniques to monitor... Read more →


NREL team identifies major metabolic pathway in cyanobacteria for efficient conversion of CO2; better biofuels and bioproducts

Scientists from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have discovered that a metabolic pathway previously only suggested to be functional in photosynthetic organisms is actually a major pathway and can enable efficient conversion of carbon dioxide to organic compounds. The discovery provides new insight into the complex metabolic network for... Read more →


euglena planning commercial production of biojet and renewable diesel from algae in Japan

Japan-based euglena Co. plans to produce and supply biojet and renewable diesel in Japan at commercial scale in the 2020s with support from the City of Yokohama, Chiyoda Corporation, Itochu Enex Co., Isuzu Motors and All Nippon Airways (ANA). The company will build Japan’s first demonstration plant for the production... Read more →


PNNL team presents new insight into H2 production by cyanobacterium Cyanothece

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have presented a new and more complete view on the way a cyanobacterium—Cyanothece 51142—produces hydrogen. Using genome-scale transcript and protein profiling, the team study presented and tested a new hypothesis on the metabolic relationship between oxygenic photosynthesis... Read more →


Study: marine cyanobacteria produce 100s of millions of tonnes of hydrocarbons annually

An international team of researchers, led by the University of Cambridge, has estimated that photosynthetic marine cyanobacteria annually produce hundreds of millions of tonnes of hydrocarbons in the oceans. These organisms in turn support another population of bacteria that feed on these compounds. In the study, conducted in collaboration with... Read more →


Michigan State partners with ExxonMobil to advance algae biofuels

A new $1-million relationship between Michigan State University and ExxonMobil will expand research designed to progress the fundamental science required to advance algae-based fuels. David Kramer, MSU’s John Hannah Distinguished Professor in Photosynthesis and Bioenergetics at the MSU-DOE Plant and Research Laboratory (PRL), says that the overall goal of the... Read more →


Algenol signs MOU with ZYNE to produce renewable fuels in China using industrial CO2 emissions

US-based algal fuels company based Algenol will partner with South China’s Fujian Zhongyuan New Energy Company, Ltd. (ZYNE) to develop projects throughout Southern China, utilizing carbon emissions to create renewable fuels. The goal is to provide solutions for China’s three biggest challenges: access to clean air, clean water and sustainable... Read more →


MSU researchers fabricate synthetic protein that streamlines carbon fixing machinery of cyanobacteria; potential boost for biofuels

Researchers at the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory, Michigan State University, have fabricated a synthetic protein that not only improves the assembly of the carbon-fixing factory of cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae), but also provides a proof of concept for a device that could potentially improve plant photosynthesis or be... Read more →


Researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and colleagues have engineered the Nannochloropsis algal strain NIES-2145 to enhance the production of fat-based molecules called triacylglycerols (TAGs), thereby increasing oil synthesis from the microalgae. The study’s results suggest that the specific gene promoter used in this work could also be applied... Read more →


Japan-based global automotive supplier DENSO Corporation will build a large 20,000 square meter test facility for the culture of Pseudochoricystis ellipsoidea, an oil-producing microalga patented by DENSO. The new facility located in Amakusa, Kumamoto, Japan will be used to perform verification tests needed to establish large-scale microalga cultivation technologies required... Read more →


The EMS (Earth and Mineral Science) Energy Institute at Penn State has developed a conceptual novel process configuration for producing clean middle-distillate fuels from coal with some algal input with minimal emissions. The Institute was involved for about 20 years in a project intended to develop a coal-derived jet fuel;... Read more →


Algae naturally produce oils that can be converted into transportation fuels, making this a potentially attractive pathway for large-scale biofuel production. However, high-yield lipid production in algae is a stress response—induced, for example, through conditions such as nutrient deprivation. One of the challenges of optimizing this oil production pathway has... Read more →


EPA opens door to consider Carbon Capture and Utilization as part of new Clean Power Plan; algae industry locks on

EPA’s newly released voluminous final Clean Power Plan rule (earlier post) has established the first national standards to limit CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel-fired power plants (Electric Generating Units, EGUs), with a target of a 32% reduction against a 2005 baseline by 2030. The plan calls for each US state to... Read more →


DOE awards $18M to six projects for algae-based biofuels; targeting <$5/gge

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $18 million in funding to six projects to reduce the modeled price of algae-based biofuels to less than $5 per gasoline gallon equivalent (gge) by 2019. Algal biomass can be converted to advanced biofuels that offer promising alternatives to petroleum-based... Read more →


DOE to issue incubator funding opportunity to help advance bioenergy development; algal biofuels a main focus

The US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (DOE EERE) intends (DE-FOA-0001343) to issue, on behalf of the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), a funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0001320) targeting innovative technologies and solutions to help advance bioenergy development. DOE anticipates posting the FOA in or around July... Read more →


Audi partner Joule announces its “CO2-recycled” ethanol meets US and Euro specs; $40M financing

Joule, the developer of a direct, single-step, continuous process for the production of solar hydrocarbon fuels using engineered cyanobacteria (earlier post), announced the successful results from third-party testing of its ethanol fuel (Sunflow-E), setting the stage to obtain certification for commercial use. Initiated by Audi, Joule’s strategic partner in the... Read more →


Rice study shows algae monocultures for biofuel stably grown in open reactors fed by municipal wastewater

Results of a 14-week study by Rice University researchers suggest that algae monocultures for biofuel feedstock can be grown in open tank bioreactors using municipal wastewater as a nutrient source. The stable productivity of monocultures suggests that this may be a viable production method to procure algal biomass for biofuel... Read more →


DOE BETO awards $10M to 7 advanced biofuels projects

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) has selected seven projects to receive up to $10 million to support innovative technologies and solutions to help advance the development of advanced biofuels, including bugaboo and drop-in hydrocarbons. The Bioenergy Technologies Office is working to produce cost-competitive ($3/gallon of... Read more →


Isochrysis extraction and fractionation scheme with yields given in parentheses for the different products obtained from each step. Credit: ACS, O’Neil et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers from Western Washington University and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have developed a method to produce jet-fuel range hydrocarbons as a co-product of the... Read more →


EPA approves Algenol ethanol as RFS advanced biofuel with D5 code; 69% reduction in GHG compared to gasoline

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved ethanol made from Algenol’s process as an advanced biofuel, meeting the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction requirements under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). Algenol’s ethanol, produced by photosynthetic cyanobacteria, is now eligible for a Renewable Identification Number (RIN) under the D5 classification. (Earlier... Read more →


DOE will award up to $25M to reduce costs of algal biofuels to less than $5/gge by 2019

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $25 million in funding to reduce the cost of algal biofuels to less than $5 per gasoline gallon equivalent (gge) by 2019. (Earlier post.) The release of the new funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0001162) occurred on the first full program day for... Read more →


DOE to award up to $25M in funding for work on cost-effective algal biofuels

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $25 million in funding to support the development of cost-effective algal biofuels. (Earlier post.) The Targeted Algal Biofuels and Bioproducts (TABB) FOA (DE-FOA-0001162) seeks the development of alternative pathways to overcome two of the key barriers to commercializing algal biofuels:... Read more →


DOE to issue funding solicitation for algal biofuels and bioproducts; targeting <$5 gge by 2019

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) intends to issue, on behalf of the DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) (DE-FOA-0001162) entitled “Targeted Algal Biofuels and Bioproducts (TABB)”. The TABB FOA seeks to reduce the cost of algal biofuels.... Read more →


Joule first to gain US EPA clearance for commercial use of modified cyanobacteria for fuel production

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has favorably reviewed Joule’s Microbial Commercial Activity Notice (MCAN) for the company’s first commercial ethanol-producing catalyst (a modified Synechococcus cyanobacterium). This clears the catalyst for commercial use at the company’s demonstration plant in Hobbs, New Mexico. This also marks the first time that EPA... Read more →


Process flow for liquid fuels from algae by hydrothermal processing. Elliott et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have created a continuous-flow process that produces useful crude oil less than one hour after receiving harvested algae. The research was reported... Read more →


Venter: algae biofuels require “real scientific breakthroughs”; biofuels need a carbon tax to be viable

During his keynote and subsequent question-and-answer session at the BIO Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy in San Diego this week, Dr. Craig Venter, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, J. Craig Venter Institute and Founder and CEO, Synthetic Genomics, Inc. (SGI) tangentially provided a brief update on the status... Read more →


Sapphire Energy and Phillips 66 parter on co-processing of algae crude oil with conventional crude

San Diego-based Sapphire Energy, Inc., one of the world leaders in algae-based “Green Crude” oil production, and Phillips 66, an integrated energy manufacturing and logistics company, have entered a strategic joint development agreement aimed at taking production of algae crude oil a significant step toward commercialization. The companies will work... Read more →


BAL scientists engineer yeast to produce ethanol from brown seaweed; brown seaweed biorefinery

An international team of researchers from Bio Architecture Labs, a synthetic biology and enzyme design company focused on the production of biofuels and biochemicals from macroalgae (seaweed) (earlier post), reports the development of a synthetic yeast platform based on Saccharomyces cerevisiae that can efficiently produce ethanol from brown seaweed; the... Read more →


Scripps Oceanography researchers increase lipids yields in microalgae without compromising growth; potential boon for economical algal biofuels

Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego report in an open access paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that disrupting lipid catabolism is a practical approach to increase lipid yields in microalgae without affecting growth or biomass. This is turn, could greatly improve... Read more →


The EROI ratio and GHG emissions/MJ of (a) algae-derived diesel and (b) algae-derived gasoline produced using HTL. The results are benchmarked against commercialized biodiesel or bioethanol as well as petroleum-derived versions of the drop-in fuels. Credit: Liu et al. Click to enlarge. A new life cycle analysis by a team... Read more →


DEMA consortium targeting direct production ethanol from algae at less than $2/gallon

The EU-funded project DEMA (Direct Ethanol from MicroAlgae) is working to produce bioethanol directly from cyanobacteria—a microalgae found in almost every terrestrial and aquatic habitat, including in oceans, lakes and damp soil, and on rocks—for less than €0.40/liter (US$2.00/gallon). The conversion of solar energy, H2O and CO2 into ethanol will... Read more →


CO2 to acetic acid fermentation. Source: LanzaTech. Click to enlarge. LanzaTech, a producer of low-carbon fuels and chemicals from waste gases, has partnered with the Centre for Advanced Bio-Energy, a joint venture between Indian Oil Corporation, Ltd. (IOC) and the Indian government’s Department for Biotechnology (DBT), to create a novel... Read more →


DOE awarding $22 million for algal fuel and biomass feedstock supply chain projects

US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced more than $22 million in new investments to help develop cost-competitive algae fuels and streamline the biomass feedstock supply chain for advanced biofuels. Moniz was speaking at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Biomass 2013 conference. Nearly $16.5 million goes to four projects intended... Read more →


NSF awards $2M to U-Mich for algal biofuel work; looking to algal communities to enhance yield

A team of University of Michigan researchers has been awarded a $2-million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to identify and to test naturally diverse groups of green algae that can be grown together to create a high-yield, environmentally sustainable and cost-effective system to produce next-generation biofuels. National Science... Read more →


Australian techno-economic analysis of renewable aviation fuels identifies research priorities to lower the high costs

A techno-economic analysis of renewable aviation fuels by Australian researchers has found that, based on currently available long-term reputable technological data, biorefineries producing biofuels from microalgae, oil seeds of the Pongamia tree, and sugarcane feedstocks would be competitive with crude oil prices at $1,343, $374, and $301/bbl, respectively. Sensitivity analyses... Read more →


Trade-off analysis map showing the available and least expensive water option for each site. Sites where water supply costs are <20% of biofuel value are colored according to the least expensive available source. Where freshwater was not available and alternative water cost was greater than 20% of biofuel value, the... Read more →