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Home » Algae/Other Aquatic Organisms/Seaweed, California, Colorado, Energy, Farming/Growing, Federal Agency, Feedstock, Feedstocks, grants, Infrastructure, New Mexico, Opinions, Policy, R & D Focus, Sustainability, Washington

$8 Million for Algae Biofuel from U.S. Department of Energy

Submitted by on July 19, 2017 – 3:32 pmNo Comment

by Tina Casey (Triple Pundit) … DOE is pushing ahead with another round of $8 million in funding aimed squarely at developing next-generation biofuel from algae, leading to “a bioeconomy that can help create jobs, spur innovation, improve quality of life, and achieve national energy security.”

Algae represents the next step — a third generation energy crop that does not fit into a conventional farming model.

The $8 million represents the maximum funding available for three algae biofuel projectsthat made it through the rigorous selection process.

If all goes well, DOE expects this group of projects to deliver “high-impact tools and techniques” that will enable researchers to increase oil production in algae organisms, resulting in improved efficiency and lower costs.

By high-impact, DOE means processes that can be used across the biofuel industry, so that $8 million in funding could end up motivating millions more in private investment.

Part of the funding will go to Lumen Bioscience of Seattle, Washington. The company will partner with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado (NREL), to develop new strains of algae that can thrive in seawater.

If Lumen can prevail, the company intends to create new agricultural jobs in rural eastern Washington, where it intends to locate its production facilities.

Another part of the funds will go to Global Algae Innovations of El Cajon, California. Global Algae will take on the challenges of improving algae production in ponds: …

The company will pair up with Sandia National Laboratories, the University of California at San Diego – Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the J. Craig Venter Institute to create a low cost system that will enable researchers to analyze pond ecology. 

Rounding out the trio is Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Better known for its historic work on nuclear technology, under this grant the lab will also tackle pond-grown algae.

The project will take place at a Las Cruces, New Mexico site in partnership with the company  Sapphire Energy. The aim is to reach a better understanding of the way that multiple strains of algae and beneficial bacteria can interact to result in a highly productive environment.

Except for a lull last week while federal budget hearings were under way — during which time Energy Secretary Rick Perry insisted on positioning climate change denial as a legitimate form of skepticism — DOE has been pumping out good news about renewables at a furious pace.

This week Perry seems to be making up for lost time. The agency’s official @ENERGY Twitter account was even more active than usual on Monday, with a healthy dose of renewable energy news capped by a video salute from Perry to NREL in recognition of its 40th anniversary.

Most interesting of all was a tweet linking to a new Oak Ridge National Laboratory computer model aimed at advancing the study of climate change.   READ MORE and MORE (U.S. Department of Energy)

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