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MSU Researching Green Algae Biofuel (R&D, Ind. Report)
Missouri State University
Date: 2020-01-24
Missouri State University (MSU) reports professor Jianlin Cheng is working with the St. Louis-based Donald Danforth Plant Science Center to make green algae an efficient, cheap source of energy to replace fossil fuel.

According to the MSU report, if enough green algae could be produced to cover half the state of Maine, for example, it could supply enough "green oil" to replace all of the petroleum used in the United States right now. According to the US DOE, the U.S. has the capacity to produce 5 billion gallons of fuel from algae per year by the year 2030, at a cost of $2.50 per gasoline gallon equivalent. To that end, "algal biomass will need to be produced from large-scale farming operations, similar to agricultural crops," the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy said in a statement.

Cheng, a researcher with the Interdisciplinary Plant Group and director of Bioinformatic at MU, is adapting artificial intelligence to map the shapes and amino acids of proteins to help bioengineers change the structure of the algae and make it more less costly and more efficient for biofuel production.

Cheng's project Deep Learning Prediction of Protein Complex Structures was supported by $167,797 from the US DOE. (Source: University of Missouri, The Columbian, 23 Jan., 2020)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Algae,  Algae Biofuel,  


Loughborough Univ. Granted £200,000 for Green Travel R&D (Int'l)
Loughborough Univ
Date: 2019-05-08
Loughborough University has been awarded £200,000 in grant funding from the UK Department for Transport and Supergen Bioenergy Hub -- a group of experts focussed on developing sustainable bioenergy systems -- for two projects which aim to make the transport sector more environmentally friendly. The projects will explore biofuel production, bioenergy carbon capture, and storage and utilisation.

One project, led by Dr Jin Xuan, a Senior Lecturer in Low Carbon Processes, will examine the role of e-biofuel in reducing emissions and increasing the sustainability of the road transport sector while enhancing renewable energy security. The research will examine the feasibility of a novel electrochemical process to produce biofuels while reusing the captured CO2.

The project will develop a new concept of e-biofuel which combines the advantages of both e-fuel (produced from renewable electricity and CO2) and biofuel (produced from biomass) to intensively decarbonise the road transport sector. It also provides Loughborough researchers with a new link to the Supergen Bioenergy Hub and the Department of Transport.

A second project led by Dr Tanja Radu, a Lecturer in Water Engineering, will research algae-based biomethane fuel purification and carbon sequestration. The project aims to develop and assess an innovative process for the simultaneous production of high-purity biomethane as a potential natural gas vehicle fuel, together with the sequestration of remaining biomass and biogas carbon into algal co-product and biochar.

The Supergen Bioenergy Hub at Aston University aims to bring together industry, academia and other stakeholders to focus on the research and knowledge challenges associated with increasing the contribution of UK bioenergy to meet strategic environmental targets in a coherent, sustainable and cost-effective manner. (Source: DfT, Loughborough University, East Midlands Business Link, 8 May, 2019) Contact: Loughborough University, www.lboro.ac.uk; Supergen Bioenergy Hub, Professor Patricia Thornley, Dir., p.thornley@aston.ac.uk, www.supergen-bioenergy.net

More Low-Carbon Energy News Bioenergy news,  Biofuel news,  CCS news,  Biogas news,  


ICGEB Touts Novel Yeast Strain to Increase Ethanol Prod. (Int'l)
ICGEB,Ethanol
Date: 2019-04-15
In Delhi, researchers from the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) are touting Saccharomyces cerevisiae NGY10, a novel yeast strain that they say increases ethanol production by as much as 15.5 pct when glucose or lignocellulose biomass -- rice and wheat straw -- is fermented.

The research team led by Dr. Naseem A. Gaur from the Yeast Biofuel Group at ICGEB , found the NGY10 strain can be metabolically engineered to ferment both hexose and pentose sugars leading to increased production of ethanol using lignocellulose. This will increase the quantity of ethanol produced from lignocellulose and reduce the cost of ethanol production.

DBT-ICGEB is an integrated centre for performing cutting-edge basic research and its translation into reality. It thrives upon ICGEB mandate to perform research in the field of molecular biology and biotechnology and will serve as platform for the synthetic biologists to work in diverese bioenergy areas such as microbial engineering, biochemical engineering, algal engineering and systems biology.

India has targeted 10 pct ethanol-gasoline blend (E10) for moter vehicle fuels by 2022.

(Source: International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Centre for Advanced Bioenergy Research, Delhi, The Hindu, April, 2019) Contact: DBT-ICGEB, Ajay Kumar Pandey, +91-11-2674-2357 extn:462, barsebrajesh@icgeb.res.in, www. icgeb-bioenergy.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News Yeast,  Ethanol,  

More Low-Carbon Energy News Yeast,  Ethanol,  


PNNL Seeking Algae Bioenergy, Biofuel Collaborations (Ind Report)
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Date: 2019-02-20
The U.S. DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) reports it is seeking algae industry partners and academic researchers to help find the best algae strains for biofuels and bioproducts to reduce the cost of producing bioenergy from algae feedstocks.

PNNL leads the Development of Integrated Screening, Cultivar Optimization and Verification (DISCOVR) project that employs the unique complementary capabilities of the four participating national laboratories -- Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratorie -- sand the outdoor testbed at the Arizona Center for Algal Technology and Innovation to identify and test high productivity microalgae strains for year-round outdoor cultivation. The goal is to provide a framework to accelerate meeting DOE's advanced biofuel goals with microalgae.

"A key cost driver for algae biofuels is productivity, which is directly tied to which algae strain is chosen and how it's cultivated," said Taraka Dale, a scientist at LANL. "By collaborating with industry and academia, we aim to bring together the best of the best strains and cultivation strategies to rapidly boost productivity and reduce costs."

"So far, we have tested more than 40 new microalgae strains and identified strains with up to 34 percent greater biomass productivity than benchmark strains," said Huesemann. "The success of the DISCOVR strain down selection and testing pipeline was demonstrated in 2018 by achieving more than 13 pct improvement in outdoor pond productivity relative to 2017, reducing the biomass selling price by about 10 pct."

The goal of the call for collaboration is to solicit algae strains, tools and techniques from the algae community to further boost algae productivity. This call gives industry and academia an opportunity to partner with the four national laboratories in DISCOVR, as well as AzCATI. (Source: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, PR, Feb., 2019) Contact: PNNL, Michael Huesemann, DISCOVR Consortium leader, discovr.algae@lanl.gov, https://discovr.labworks.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News Algae,  Algae Biofuel,  Pacific Northwest National Laboratory ,  


India Expanding BioFuel, BioCommodities R&D Effort (Int'l)
India Energy and Research Institute
Date: 2018-11-05
In New Delhi, the Indian Department of Biotechnology (DBT) reports the inking of a 3-year deal with the India Energy and Research Institute for the establishment of an "advanced biofuels and bio-commodities R&D center."

The center, which will be in addition to the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi; the Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati; Transtech Green Power Limited, Jaipur; and the Oil and Natural Gas Energy Centre in the National Capital Region, will focus on developing and commercializing bioenergy-biofuel technologies. Approximately 100 scientists in India are presently working on algal biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol, bio butanol and bio hydrogen R&D projects according to the DBT. Other than fuel, by-products envisaged at the TERI-DBT Centre include food, feed, nutrition supplements, bio-plastics and novelty speciality chemicals. (Source: Indian Department of Biotechnology, The Hindu, 31 Oct., 2018) Contact: Indian Department of Biotechnology, Renu Swarup, Secretary, www.dbtindia.nic.in; India Energy and Research Institute, +91 11 2468 2100, www.teriin.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News India Energy and Research Institute,  


DOE Announces Bioenergy Research and Development Funding (R&D)
DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office
Date: 2018-09-07
In Washington. the U.S. Department of Energy has announced the selection of 36 projects totaling $80 million to support early-stage bioenergy R&D aimed at enabling cost-competitive, drop-in renewable hydrocarbon fuels, bio-based products, and power from non-food biomass and waste feedstocks. This work supports the DOE's goal of reducing the cost of bio-based drop-in fuels to $3/gallon by 2022 to continue to provide consumers with affordable, reliable transportation energy choices. The four funding opportunitie include:
  • BioEnergy Engineering for Products Synthesis (up to $28 million) -- 16 selectees will create highly efficient conversion processes to increase the affordability of fuels from biomass and waste feedstocks by improving catalysts and new biological systems, identifying ways to better utilize waste streams like carbon dioxide (CO2) and biosolids, and creating high-value co-products that can improve the economic viability of biofuels production.

  • Efficient Carbon Utilization in Algal Systems (up to $15 million) -- 7 selections will improve the efficiency of carbon utilization and productivity of algal systems either through improving uptake and conversion of waste CO2 emissions or through the development of new, technologies to capture CO2 directly from ambient air to enhance algal growth.

  • Process Development for Advanced Biofuels and Biopower (up to $22 million) -- 10 selections will research integrated processes for the production of biopower from biosolids and cost-competitive, renewable drop-in biofuels and bioproducts from domestic biomass feedstocks and waste resources.

  • Affordable and Sustainable Energy Crops (up to $15 million)-- 3 selections will conduct early-stage R&D related to the production of affordable and sustainable non-food dedicated energy crops that can be used as feedstocks for the production of biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower. (Source: US DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office, PR, 4 Sept., 2018) Contact: US DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office , (702) 356-1623 – Communications Office, www.energy.gov/eere/bioenergy

    More Low-Carbon Energy News DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office,  Biomass,  Biofuel,  Algal,  Drop-ion Biofuel,  


  • Biodiversity Key to Stable Algal Biofuel, says Study (R&D Report)
    University of Michigan
    Date: 2018-07-03
    Researchers from the University of Michigan have confirmed that the key to improving the performance of algal biofuel systems is through biodiversity. In the first large-scale experiment to study the connection between biodiversity and algal biofuel stability, the researchers grew varying combinations of freshwater algal species in 80 artificial ponds and found that a diverse mix of algal species performed better than any single species. They also found that diversity does not necessarily result in more biomass or algal mass, and that monoculture produced larger biomass results in most cases.

    After a 10-week study, the researchers compared the ability of the algae and the algal combinations to multitask and found that monoculture algae were able to perform very well in one or two tasks. However, the combined algae species were better at a range of tasks.

    "Our findings suggest there is a fundamental trade-off when growing algal biofuel. You can grow single-species crops that produce large amounts of biomass but are unstable and produce less biocrude. Or, if you are willing to give up some yield, you can use mixtures of species to produce a biofuel system that is more stable through time, more resistant to pest species, and which yields more biocrude oil," according to the report. (Source: Univ. of Michigan, GinnersNow, 28 June, 2018) Contact: University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability, Casey Godwin, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, (734) 764-6453, seas-info@umich.edu, seas.umich.edu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News University of Michigan,  Algae,  Algae Biofuel,  


    Study Improves Stability of Algal Biofuel Systems (R&D)
    University of Michigan
    Date: 2018-06-18
    A diverse mix of species improves the stability and fuel-oil yield of algal biofuel systems, as well as their resistance to invasion by outsiders, according to the findings of a National Science Foundation funded outdoor study by University of Michigan researchers.

    For the study, scientists grew various combinations of freshwater algal species in 80 artificial ponds in the first large-scale, controlled experiment to test the widely held idea that biodiversity can improve the performance of algal biofuel systems in the field. Overall, the researchers found that diverse mixes of algal species (polycultures) performed more key functions at higher levels than any single species -- they were better at multitasking. The researchers also found that polycultures did not produce more algal mass (biomass) than the most productive single species, or monoculture.

    "The results are key for the design of sustainable biofuel systems because they show that while a monoculture may be the optimal choice for maximizing short-term algae production, polycultures offer a more stable crop over longer periods of time," said study lead author Casey Godwin, a postdoctoral research fellow at U-M's School for Environment and Sustainability.

    Algae-derived biocrude oil is being studied as a potential renewable-energy alternative to fossil fuels. Because they grow quickly and can be converted to bio-oil, algae have the potential to generate more fuel from less surface area than crops like corn. But the technical challenges involved in growing vast amounts of these microscopic aquatic plants in large outdoor culture ponds have slowed progress toward commercial-scale cultivation.

    In the study, research team found that while monocultures tended to be good at one or two jobs at a time, polycultures performed more of the jobs at higher levels than any of the monocultures. But at the same time, polycultures produced less biomass than the best-performing monoculture.

    "Our findings suggest there is a fundamental tradeoff when growing algal biofuel. You can grow single-species crops that produce large amounts of biomass but are unstable and produce less biocrude. Or, if you are willing to give up some yield, you can use mixtures of species to produce a biofuel system that is more stable through time, more resistant to pest species, and which yields more biocrude oil," according to the researchers. The team's findings are scheduled for publication June 18 in the journal Global Change Biology-Bioenergy. (Source: University of Michigan, Public Release, 18 June, 2018) Contact: University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability, Casey Godwin, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, (734) 764-6453, seas-info@umich.edu, seas.umich.edu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News University of Michigan,  Algae,  Algal Biofuel,  


    United States Algae Oil Market Report 2017 -- Report Available (Ind. Report)

    Date: 2018-04-30

    The just released United States Algae Oil Market Report 2017 from HTF Market Reports provides a complete assessment of the market and contains future trend, current growth factors, historical data, and statistically supported and industry validated market data.

    The study is segmented by products type, application/end-users and provides estimates for United States Algae Oil Forecast till 2023, as well as a forward looking perspective on the various factors driving or restraining market growth. The study also provides a 5-year market forecast and a pin point analysis of changing competition dynamics.

    The research covers the current and future market size of the United States Algae Oil market and its growth rates based on 5 year history data. It also identifies industry leaders, recent developments, strategies adopted by the market leaders to ensure growth, sustainability, financial overview and recent developments. Key companies include: Cellana, Algae Floating Systems, TerraVia Holdings, Henry Lamotte OILS, Algaecytes, Goerlich Pharma, Polaris, Archer Daniels Midland Company & Renewable Algal Energy (RAE).

    Request Sample of United States Algae Oil Market Report 2017 and other details HERE (Source: HTF Market Intelligence Consulting Private Limited, April, 2018) Contact: HTF Market Intelligence, Craig Francis, PR, Marketing, (206) 317 1218, sales@htfmarketreport.com, info@htfmarketreport.com, www.htfmarketreport.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Algae Oil,  Biofuel,  


    ExxonMobil, Synthetic Genomics Tout Algae Biofuels R&D (R&D)
    Synthetic Genomics ,ExxonMobil
    Date: 2018-03-09
    Following up on our June 21, 2017 coverage, Houston-headquartered oil giant ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics Inc. are reporting an outdoor field study that will grow naturally occurring algae in several contained ponds in California. The research will enable the partners to better to understand fundamental engineering parameters including viscosity and flow, which cannot easily be replicated in a lab. The joint research program could lead to the technical ability to produce 10,000 bpd of algae biofuel by 2025.

    In 2017, ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics announced breakthrough research published in Nature Biotechnology that resulted in a modified algae strain that more than doubled oil content without significantly inhibiting growth, a key challenge along the path to commercial scalability. (Source: ExxonMobil, PR, 6 Mar., 2018) Contact: Synthetic Genomics, Oliver Fetzer, CEO, www.syntheticgenomics.com; ExxonMobil, Vijay Swarup, VP, R&D, (972) 444-1107, www.exxonmobil.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Algae,  Algal Fuels,  Biofuel,  ExxonMobil,  Synthetic Genomics ,  


    ExxonMobil, Synthetic Genomics Bullish on Algae Biofuel (Ind. Report)
    ExxonMobil, Synthetic Genomics
    Date: 2018-03-07
    ExxonMobil and La Jolla,California-based Synthetic Genomics report they are collaborating to produce up to 10,000 bpd of algae biofuel every day by 2025. The pair have been collaborating to create oil from algae since 2009.

    "The progress we are making in the lab toward engineering highly efficient algae strains that convert sunlight and CO2 into renewable high energy density biofuel is exciting and warrants continued research about how our technology will scale. Our (California) outdoor algal facility creates a perfect stepping stone from our labs to the greenhouse and to the outdoors to lay the foundation for a large scale commercial deployment of our technology in the future," Synthetic Genomics CEO Oliver Fetzer notes. (Source: ExxonMobil, Synthetic Genomics, innovators, 6 Mar., 2018) Contact: ExxonMobil, http://corporate.exxonmobil.com; Synthetic Genomica, Oliver Fetzer, CEO, (858) 754-2900, www.syntheticgenomics.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News ExxonMobil,  Synthetic Genomics ,  Algae,  Algae Biofuel,  


    LLNL Funded Biofuel-Producing Algae R&D (Funding, R&D)
    General Automation Lab Technologies,Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
    Date: 2018-02-02
    The US DOE reports it has awarded Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) a three-year, $1.5 million grant to improve the growth and efficiency of biofuel-producing algae through the alteration of their microbiomes. LLNL will collaborate with San Francisco-based startup General Automation Lab Technologies (GALT) whose novel technology will help the researchers to better understand how algae grow and function in different microbial conditions. This is essential to being able to increase algal production for alternative fuels.

    The project is being funded by Funded by the DOE Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). BETO works with industry, academia and national laboratory partners on a balanced portfolio of research in algal biofuels technologies. (Source: US DOE, LLNL. Feb., 2018) Contact: LLNL, Xavier Mayali, (925) 423-3892, mayali1@llnl.gov; Ty Samo, (925) 423-5837, samo1@llnl.gov, www.llnl.gov; BETO, www.energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/bioenergy-technologies-office; US DOE EERE, http://energy.gov/eere; General Automation Lab Technologies, (917) 332-7230, www.galt-inc.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News DOE EERE,  DOE BETO,  General Automation Lab Technologies,  Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory,  Algae,  Algae Biofuel,  Biofuel ,  


    Colorado School of Mines Funded for Algal Biofuel R&D (R&D, Funding)
    Colorado School of Mines
    Date: 2018-01-05
    The Colorado School of Mines in Golden reports assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering Nanette Boyle will receive $616,000 from the US DOE over the next five years for her part in a project to create a genome-scale metabolic model of the algae -- Chromochloris zofingiensis which will be used to produce renewable biofuel.

    In addition to Boyle's work, the team will collect data on a large scale to gain insight into genetic elements that control metabolic shifts responsible for lipid accumulation. This information will then be used to develop synthetic biology tools to enable fast and efficient engineering of the algae's cells. Boyle notes there are two main challenges in developing high-yielding algae strains. "First, our understanding of genetic regulation and cellular physiology lags behind other model organisms like E. coli and yeast." "Second, we don't have sophisticated genetic tools to introduce the desired changes."

    The project, Systems analysis and engineering of biofuel production in Chromochloris zofingiensis, an emerging model green alga, is led the University of California, Berkeley,in cooperation with Brookhaven National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, UCLA, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The grant is administered by the Genomic Science Program in the Energy Department's Office of Biological and Environmental Research. (Source: Colorado School of Mines, PR, 3 Jan., 2018) Contact: Colorado School of Mines, Mark Ramirez, Communications and Marketing, (303) 273-3088, ramirez@mines.edu, Prof. Nanette Boyle, (303) 273-3720, (303) 273-3730 - fax, nboyle@mines.edu, www.mines.edu

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Algae,  Algal,  Alae Biofuel,  


    Algoma Algal Biotech, MKU Ink Micro-Algae Biofuel MoU (Int'l)
    Madurai Kamaraj University,Algoma Algal Biotechnology
    Date: 2017-10-30
    India's Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU) reports the signing of a MoA with University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh research spin-out Algoma Algal Biotechnology LLC (Algoma) for a mutual transfer of knowledge and technology in the field of producing bio-fuel from micro-algae.

    According to MKU, Toivo Kallas, a Distinguished Professor of Microbial Genetics and Biotechnology at UWO and the CEO of Agoma, whose research include photosynthetic energy conversion reactions and environmental responses of cyanobacteria and micro-algae, took interest in the research work led by P. Varalakshmi, an Assistant Professor with Department of Molecular Biology in MKU. Varalakshmi and her research team identified various micro-algae strains which have shown potential as feedstock for the production of biofuel.

    Algoma is seeking a collaboration on the possibility of using genetic engineering and other techniques to improve the efficiency of energy conversion by the strains of micro-algae identified by MKU researchers and to advance commercialized production of bio-fuel from micro-algae. (Source: Madurai Kamaraj University, PR, 29 Oct., 2017) Contact: MKU, +91 452 245 8471, www.mkuniversity.org; Algoma Algal Biotechnology, www.algomaalgal.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Algoma Algal Biotechnology,  Micro-Algae,  Algal Biofuel,  


    N.Korea Exploring Algae Biofuel to Skirt Int'l Sanctions (Int'l)
    North Korea, 38 North
    Date: 2017-10-25
    According Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies' North Korea-focused 38north,org website, Pyongyang is developing algae biomass as "a strategic resource" for both food and fuel production, as well as a way around increasingly tight economic sanctions. The country's researchers have reportedly been exploring aquaculture systems since the early 2000s.

    Using available data from nine North Korean facilities, 38 North estimates the country presently could produce 2,851 tpy of algae biomass containing approximately 1,425.5 tons of nutritional mass convertible to the equivalent of 4,075.6 barrels of oil. (Source: CNBC Asia-Pacific, 38 North 20 Oct., 2017) Contact: 38 North, www.38north.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Algae,   Algal,   Algae Biofuel,  


    J. Craig Venter-led Team Granted $10.7 Mn to Optimize Metabolic Networks Enabling Next-Gen. Biofuels (Funding, R&D)
    J. Craig Venter Institute
    Date: 2017-10-06
    In La Jolla, California, the not-for-profit J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) is reporting receipt of a 5-year, $10.7 million grant from the US DOE Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research (BER) Genomic Science Program to optimize metabolic networks in model photosynthetic microalgae, called diatoms. The aim is to substantially increase oil, or lipid production, enabling next-generation biofuels and other bioproducts.

    Building on prior synthetic biology and diatom research, methodologies will be developed and optimized for introducing and transplanting new biological functions into diatoms, which are a globally abundant class of algae. Initial modeling exercises will guide targeted genetic manipulations, associated systems biology experiments, and result in iterative network and genome-scale cellular modeling.

    Based on the photosynthetic efficiency and growth potential of microalgae, it is estimated that annual oil production of greater than 30,000 liters, or about 200 barrels of microalgal oil per hectare of land may be achievable in mass culture of oil-rich algae. This is 100-fold greater than that of soybeans, a major feedstock currently used for biodiesel. (Source: J. Craig Venter Institute, PR, 3 Oct., 2017) Contact: J. Craig Venter Institute, Andrew Allen, Ph.D. , (858) 200-1800, www.JCVI.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News AlgaeVenter Institute,  Biofuel,  Bioplastic,  


    CSU Funded for Better Algae Biofuels R&D (Funding, R&D)
    Colorado State University
    Date: 2017-10-04
    Colorado State University scientists are reporting receipt of as much as $3.5 million over three years in US DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) funding for Rewiring Algal Carbon Energetics for Renewables aimed at improving how algae-based biofuels and bioproducts are made. 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 study will be led by scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado.

    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. The project will work to ferment carbohydrates in the algal cells into chemicals of interest, including ethanol, as well as a fuel precursor called 2,3 butanediol.

    Other partners on the project will work on the algae-to-bioproduct life cycle, including modification of growing pond conditions, and separating algal solids from water to remove lipids.

    The multidisciplinary team includes CSU's Ken Reardon, professor of chemical and biological engineering; Graham Peers, associate professor of biology; and Jason Quinn, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; along with partners at National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Colorado School of Mines, Arizona State University, Utah State University, and representatives from industry. San Diego-based Sapphire Energy is a project partner and has pioneered the use of D. armatus for biofuels. (Source: Colorado State University, PR, 2 Oct., 2017) Contact: Colorado State University, Prof. Ken Reardon, kenneth.reardon@colostate.edu, www.colostate.edu; US DOE BETO, energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/bioenergy-technologies-office

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Colorado State University,  Sapphire Energy,  Algae,  Algal Biofuel,  BETO,  


    Cornell Reports Bioreactor Algal Biofuel Breakthrough (Ind. Report)
    Boyce Thompson Institute
    Date: 2017-10-02
    Cornell University's Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) and Texas A&M University researchers are reporting "algal droplet bioreactors on a chip", a new technology that may revolutionize the search for the perfect algal strain.

    In the new technology, a single algal cell is captured in a droplet of water encapsulated by oil then millions of algal droplets squeeze onto a chip about the size of a quarter. Each droplet is a "micro-bioreactor", a highly controlled environment in which algal cells can grow and replicate for several days, forming a genetically homogenous colony that goes through its typical biological reactions, including the production of lipids.

    The researchers first validated the chip system with algae known to grow faster or slower, or produce more or less lipid. They then screened 200,000 chemically mutated cells, identifying six mutants with both faster growth and higher lipid content. The screening, done on-chip, uses fluorescence detection of chlorophyll, representing total cell mass, and BODIPY, a fluorescent molecule that binds to lipids. All mutants with potential for improved growth or lipid production were recovered and verified off-chip.

    The tools for improving throughput are already in development, including larger chips that can screen millions of droplets in one experiment.

    With the discovery and development of much more efficient algal strains, commercial-scale production of biofuel from algae may finally be a realistic promise. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation. (Source: Cornell University, PR, Plant Direct, 28 Sept., 2017) Contact: Cornell Univ., George Lowery, (607) 255-2171, gpl5@cornell.edu, www.cornell.edu; Texas A&M, Arum Han , (979) 845-9686; Boyce Thompson Institute, (607) 254-1234, https://btiscience.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Algal,  Algae,  Algae Biofuel,  


    DOE Reports Additional $8.8Mn for Algae Tech. Innovations (R&D)
    DOE ,BETO
    Date: 2017-09-11
    The U.S. Department of Energy is reporting the selection of four additional projects from the Productivity Enhanced Algae and ToolKits funding opportunity to receive up to $8.8 million for projects that will 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. The funding for this initiative now totals over $16 million.

    The organizations selected include:

  • The Colorado School of Mines, in partnership with Global Algae Innovations, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Colorado State University, will improve the productivity of wild algal strains using advanced directed evolution approaches in combination with high-performance, custom-built, solar simulation bioreactors;

  • 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 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;

  • 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. (Source: US DOE BETO, www.energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/bioenergy-technologies-office

    More Low-Carbon Energy News DOE BETO,  Algae,  Algal Biofuel,  Algae Biofuel,  


  • NIU Scores $911,000 NSF Bioinformatics Funding (R&D, Funding)
    National Science Foundation,Northern Illinois University
    Date: 2017-09-08
    In Dekalb, Northern Illinois University (NIU) reports it has received $911,000 in National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) grant funding over five years in support of biological sciences professor Yanbin Yin bioinformatics research. The research could contribute to the making of lower-cost biofuels, help prevent crop loss due to microbial pathogens and illuminate how algae evolved to land plants.

    Yin specializes in bioinformatics, a blending of biology and computer science for analysis of highly complex biological data. He specifically seeks to shed light on enzymes known as carbohydrate active enzymes, or CAZymes, which are responsible for the synthesis, degradation, modification and recognition of all carbohydrates. Microbes use CAZymes to break down plant carbohydrates into simple sugars, which can be further converted into biofuels and other biomaterials.

    Yin's research team will develop computer tools to better identify CAZymes from newly sequenced microbial genomes, sequence the genome of a green alga (Zygnma circumcarinatum) and peer into the evolutionary processes within early plants. Yin will collaborate with Scott Grayburn, director of biology's Molecular Core Lab, on the algal genome sequencing work. (Source: NIU News, 5 Sept., 2017) Contact: NIU, Professor Yanbin Yin, Prof. Scott Grayburn, (815) 753-0638, sgrayburn@niu.edu, www.niu.edu; National Science Foundation, www.nsf.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News National Science Foundation,  Algae,  Biofuel,  


    DOE Awards $8Mn for Algal Biofuel, Products R&D (Funding, R&D)
    Sapphire Energy,Lumen Bioscience
    Date: 2017-07-14
    The U.S. DOE recently announced the selection of three projects to receive up to $8 million to support research aimed at reducing the costs of producing algal biofuels and bioproducts. The following projects will deliver high-impact tools and techniques for increasing the productivity of algae organisms and cultures:
  • Seattle, Washington-based Lumen Bioscience will work with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to engineer strains that grow in seawater, resist contamination and predation, and accumulate substantial amounts of energy-rich components. Lumen Bioscience is focusing on agricultural production of algae on otherwise non-productive land in rural eastern Washington State, with the ultimate goal of creating new agricultural jobs in that region.

  • El Cajon, California-headquartered Global Algae Innovations in partnership with Sandia National Laboratories, University of California at San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the J. Craig Venter Institute will deliver a tool for low cost, rapid analysis of algae pond microbiota, gather data on the impacts of pond ecology, and develop new cultivation methods that utilize this information to achieve greater algal productivity.

  • Los Alamos National Laboratory, working with San Diego-based Sapphire Energy Inc. at its Las Cruces, New Mexico, field site, will evaluate designed pond cultures containing multiple species of algae, as well as beneficial bacteria, to achieve consistent biomass composition and high productivity. This project will help the algal R&D community better understand these metrics at commercial scales.

    The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates research and development of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and innovative solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security and economic vitality, while preserving our natural resources. The Bioenergy Technologies Office contributes to EERE's mission by working with industry, academia, and national laboratory partners on a balanced portfolio of research in algal biofuels technologies. (Source: US DOE, 11 July, 2017) Contact: DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, https://energy.gov/eere/office-energy-efficiency-renewable-energy; Bioenergy Technologies Office , https://energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/bioenergy-technologies-office; Lumen Bioscience Inc., www.lumenbioscience.com; Sapphire Energy Inc., www.sapphireenergy.com; Global Algae Innovations, www.globalgae.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Algal Biofuels,  Algae,  Biofuel,  Sapphire Energy,  Lumen Bioscience ,  

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