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US DOE announces up to US$8.8 million for innovations in algae technology

The US Department of Energy has announced the selection of another four projects from the Productivity Enhanced Algae and ToolKits funding opportunity to receive up to US$8.8 million.

Algae in tubes (photo courtesy Syracuse University).

Algae in tubes (photo courtesy Syracuse University).

According to a statement from the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), these projects 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 US$16 million and supports the development of a US bioeconomy that can help create jobs, spur innovation, improve quality of life, and achieve national energy security.

The selected projects include the following:

  • Colorado School of Mines (Golden, Colorado): 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 (San Diego, California): 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 (Toledo, Ohio): 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 (Livermore, California): 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.

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